Identify and assess habitat
|Map of Hog Island.
work with conservation partners to
and assess habitat values for:
- Atlantic salmon and other diadromous (searun) fish,
- migratory birds (particularly waterbirds), and
- federally threatened and endangered species.
Biologists/GIS specialists on our staff use computer
mapping and database
management skills to:
- compile existing biological
- create databases and GIS
identify high priority conservation sites,
- and help fill information gaps
by seeking available
information from others, conducting habitat
and developing restoration inventories.
Once habitat information has been compiled, our staff works
interested in habitat protection and restoration
- interpret and share GIS databases and maps,
- examine the landscape context of potential projects,
- recommend habitat protection
and restoration priorities with greatest value, based
on habitat value,
economic feasibility, community support and other factors, and
- explore the value of the maps and data in supporting fundraising
initiatives and community outreach.
Gulf of Maine Coastal Program has played a lead role in completing
habitat assessment and mapping
projects that continue to support
habitat conservation initiatives.
Gulf of Maine watershed habitat analysis
|Gulf of Maine.
This GIS analysis identifies high value habitat throughout the U.S.
portion of the Gulf of Maine watershed for 91 species that regularly
inhabit the Gulf of Maine watershed and meet one or more of the following
- Federally endangered or threatened species,
- Migratory birds, diadromous (searun) and
estuarine fish that are declining nationwide,
- Migratory birds, diadromous and estuarine fish that
have been identified as threatened or
endangered by two
or more of the three states in the Gulf
of Maine watershed.
The analysis identifies, ranks and maps high value forested, freshwater
wetland and estuarine habitat throughout the watershed. The results
of the analysis have been incorporated in the statewide Beginning
with Habitat initiative for pro-active community-based planning
and habitat protection. Beginning
with Habitat also incorporates habitat information from Maine
Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Maine Natural Areas Program,
and it includes other useful information on wetlands, riparian buffers
and unfragmented blocks of habitat.
Perhaps the most powerful on-the-ground application of our Gulf of
Maine GIS watershed habitat analysis is its utility in predicting which
of the 91 species are expected to be on a selected parcel of land. Land
trusts interested in protecting a piece of land that has significant
habitat values for some of the 91 species can contact us, provide us
with a map or shapefile that clearly delineates the parcel boundaries,
and request a “habitat package." The "habitat package" includes:
- a landcover map, based on interpretation of satellite imagery,
- a habitat map that ranks biological values of the property
for forest, freshwater, estuarine and
- a table that identifies and quantifies the value of the parcel
for each of the 91 species,
- a habitat analysis fact sheet that briefly describes the analysis,
- a letter and information that helps you understand and use the
Our "habitat package" can provide you with helpful information
in evaluating habitat values on the land, determining which funding
sources might be most appropriate, supporting grant proposals and building
local support for your project. For projects that appear to have high
habitat value, we can also access additional biological data compiled
by our office or state conservation agencies. All of the biological
data can be invaluable in supporting grant applications for state and
For more information:
- For a “habitat package” and other information
protection initiatives, contact Bob
Houston (207) 781-8364 x11.
- Habitat analysis fact
sheet (PDF 222 KB): for those interested in a
one-page project overview and a list
of the 91 species included in the analysis.
- View a slide show to
learn about the step-by-step process we used to complete the habitat
- For GIS users who want a CD with shapefiles and
description of software
requirements, GIS data and metadata,
contact Bob Houston (207)
- Internet Map Viewer: provides additional information
for users without
GIS software interested in viewing data
(not available as of 2008).
- Original technical
report: a detailed description of the methodology,
habitat models and metadata for species
included in the analysis.
Maine Atlantic Salmon
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Gulf of Maine Coastal Program
and the Maine Atlantic Salmon Commission have conducted several habitat
identification and assessment projects to help inform habitat protection
and restoration projects that benefit Atlantic salmon recovery.
Maine Atlantic Salmon Habitat Atlas
(Third Edition) provides detailed maps of Atlantic salmon
spawning and rearing habitat along 16 rivers in Maine.
Maine Fish Passage Barrier Inventory is a new and
evolving initiative designed to conduct a comprehensive inventory of
bridges and culverts at road-crossings, dams and natural obstructions
that may limit fish passage. Partners include Gulf of Maine Coastal
Program office, Maine Forest Service, Maine Atlantic Salmon Commission,
Project SHARE, Atlantic Salmon Federation.
For additional information on our activities related to Atlantic salmon
habitat identification, protection and restoration,
you can view a slideshow that highlights
several of our Atlantic salmon habitat protection and restoration activities,
or you can choose from several fact sheets
USFWS Gulf of Maine Coastal Program
207-781-8364 ext. 12
Statewide distribution of diadromous fish
|Baby (or glass) eels.
||© Doug Watts
Gulf of Maine Coastal Program played a lead role in this initiative
to develop a statewide map documenting the best available information
on the current and historic range of all twelve diadromous fish in Maine.
The project was completed in 2007 but should still be considered a work
in progress since so many more variables could be included in diadromous
fish distribution. For this project only existance of a species above
or below an obstruction was considered; the actual passage at an obstruction
was not considered in detail.
Contact Gulf of Maine Coastal Program staff for more information:
contact Bob Houston for
data availability and Sandra Lary for
guidance on appropriate use of the data for habitat protection and restoration
work. Primary partners include Maine Department of Marine Resources
and Maine Audubon Society.
Information on the distribution of diadromous fish was generously
provided by more than 40 individuals, including staff from federal and
state agencies, NGO’s, and knowledgeable private citizens. Partial
funding for the project was provided by Maine Coast Protection Initiative.
Maine coastal seabird, wading bird, and eagle nesting islands
|Outer Green Island with terns overhead.
Working with other partners, Gulf of Maine Coastal Program biologists
analyzed existing information on nesting seabirds, wading birds and
bald eagles on 4,617 coastal islands and ledges in Maine. 616 of those
islands have harbored nesting waterbirds -- today or in the past. Of
those, 377 provide nationally significant nesting habitat, and 151 currently
lack permanent protection. In addition, only 11 of the 377 islands enjoy
active management programs designed to restore and maintain the natural
diversity of island-nesting birds.
Over the past decade, this information has been instrumental in catalyzing
many successful initiatives to permanently protect and restore important
nesting islands by the National Wildlife Refuge, the State of Maine,
National Audubon Society, and statewide and local land trusts. The information
on nesting islands has also been incorporated in the Maine
Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuges Comprehensive Conservation
Plan to guide future protection and restoration projects.
Remember that seabird islands are closed to the public during
the nesting season, April 1 - August 31, to minimize disturbance to
Restoration of Scarborough Marsh
plan for Restoration and Enhancement of Important
Habitats in Scarborough Marsh and its Watershed (July 2002)
This 66-page report identified and ranked salt marsh restoration opportunities
in Maine’s largest (3,000 acre) salt marsh. This document has served
as a guide in prioritizing and implementing multiple salt marsh restoration
projects in Scarborough Marsh Wildlife Management Area.Gulf of Maine
Coastal Program staff provided significant support in developing this
report and in implementing salt marsh restoration projects in Scarborough