Newsroom
Midwest Region

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 17, 2011

Contacts:

Heidi Keuler, 608-783-8417
Ashley Spratt, 612-713-5314

"Through a Fish’s Eye" in the Midwest: The Status of Aquatic Habitat in Upper Mississippi River Basin 

In a report released this month under the National Fish Habitat Action Plan (NFHAP), large regions of the Upper Mississippi River Basin are shown to be at high-risk for loss of key fish habitat if current patterns of land use in the watershed continue unchanged in the coming years. 

The Fishers & Farmers Partnership for the Upper Mississippi River Basin works with rural landowners to voluntarily develop and implement science-based solutions to local water quality issues, with the support of conservationists, with the goal of measurably improving the health of land and streams in the altered landscape of the Basin.

"Under NFHAP, Fish Habitat Partnerships like Fishers and Farmers are working to address conservation concerns for high priority species and habitats in the Midwest," said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) Assistant Regional Director, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Program, Mike Weimer. "This report is an unprecedented tool that will help inform on-the-ground restoration work and strategically guide decision-making at the watershed scale.  It will be of tremendous value for natural resource managers among both the Service and our conservation partners."

According to the study, high-risk habitats nation-wide are in or near areas experiencing urban development, livestock grazing and other agriculture activities, or point source pollution.  In addition, many at-risk aquatic habitats are being impacted by active mines, or from hydroelectric dams and other impediments to fish migrations.

"Through a Fish’s Eye" highlights areas where fish habitat is most likely still intact and should be protected, as well as locations where conservation or restoration efforts are most needed to restore altered systems. It was developed to bring strategic focus to conservation actions and aid measurement of results using a science-based approach.

To further habitat protection and improvement in the Midwest, an online fish habitat assessment tool will become available in January 2012. The assessment, released by Fishers & Farmers Partnership for the Upper Mississippi River Basin and five other fish habitat partnerships, is part of a larger effort to advance aquatic habitat conservation in the Midwest. 

The content of the online assessment will add science and strategic direction to management decisions and focus fish habitat management by:

• Identifying rivers and lakes that support habitat for key fish species; 

• Identifying which habitats and locations need conservation actions; 

• Determining how land uses affect fish and other aquatic animals living in lakes and streams; 

• Developing support tools to examine potential scenarios, such as simulating impacts specific land use changes would have on fish and aquatic habitats (including water quality).

To read "Through a Fish’s Eye" in its entirety and learn more about the National Fish Habitat Action Plan, visit www.fishhabitat.org. Learn about Fishers & Farmers Partnership at FishersAndFarmers.org.

Fishers & Farmers Partnership for the Upper Mississippi River Basin is a partnership of the National Fish Habitat Action Plan. It works with regional and national partners to support landowner-led conservation projects that add value to farms while restoring fish habitat and native fish populations. 

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws.gov.

 

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

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Last updated: November 4, 2013