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Assessment of Existing Information on Atlantic Coastal Fish Habitats

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The primary objective of this project, “the Assessment of Existing Information on Atlantic Coastal Fish Habitat”, is to inform conservation planning for the Atlantic Coastal Fish Habitat Partnership (ACFHP). ACFHP is recognized as a Partnership by the National Fish Habitat Action Plan (NFHAP), whose overall mission is to protect, restore, and enhance the nation’s fish and aquatic communities through partnerships that foster fish habitat conservation.

Project Summary

This project is a cooperative effort of NOAA/NOS Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment (CCMA) Biogeography Branch and ACFHP. The Assessment includes three components:

  1. Representative web-enabled bibliographic and assessment database.
  2. Geographical Information System (GIS) spatial framework.
  3. Summary report with description of methods, analyses of habitat assessment information, and recommendations for further work.

The spatial bibliography was created by linking the bibliographic table developed in Microsoft Excel and exported to SQL Server, with the spatial framework developed in ArcGIS and exported to GoogleMaps. The bibliography is a comprehensive, searchable database of over 500 selected documents and data sources on Atlantic coastal fish species and habitats. Key information captured for each entry includes basic bibliographic data, spatial footprint (e.g. waterbody or watershed), species and habitats covered, and electronic availability. Information on habitat condition indicators, threats, and conservation recommendations are extracted from each entry and recorded in a separate linked table.

The spatial framework is a functional digital map based on polygon layers of watersheds, estuarine and marine waterbodies derived from NOAA’s Coastal Assessment Framework, MMS/NOAA’s Multipurpose Marine Cadastre, and other sources, providing spatial reference for all of the bibliographic and assessment information.

Together, the bibliography and assessment tables and their spatial framework provide a powerful tool to query and assess available information through a publicly available web interface. The general approach is being applied towards the coastal component of the National Fish Habitat Action Plan (NFHAP) 2010 Assessment, providing a means to move beyond an “assessment of existing information” towards an “assessment of fish habitat”. Beyond the scope of the current project, there may be application to broader initiatives such as Integrated Ecosystem Assessments (IEAs), Ecosystem Based Management (EBM), and Marine Spatial Planning (MSP).



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Time Frame

Ongoing: September 2008 - February 2010

For More Information

David Moe Nelson
1305 East West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910
301-713-3028 x154

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