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Freshwater Blueprint

New York State Freshwater Conservation Blueprint Project, Phases I and II: Freshwater Systems, Species, and Viability Metrics

The project goal was to develop GIS datasets that identify the locations and status of critical freshwater targets (habitats and species) in New York. The focus of the effort was rivers, streams, and lakes, and specific targets included freshwater and migratory fish, mussels, and other aquatic Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCNs) which may serve as indicators of river and stream health.

The datasets developed were similar to those developed for other recent TNC freshwater assessments such as that underway for the Upper Delaware River basin
(Delaware Assessment) (Fanok et al. 2010). Portfolios developed during TNC ecoregional planning efforts such as the High Allegheny Plateau Ecoregional Plan (The Nature Conservancy 2004) and North Atlantic Coast Ecoregional Assessment (Anderson et al. 2006) provided an excellent framework for the New York State Freshwater Conservation Blueprint Project (Blueprint Project). We have built off of this framework and have used more recent datasets from the Northeast Aquatic Habitat Classification System Project (NEAHCS) (Olivero and Anderson 2008) and methodologies and tools from both the Delaware Assessment and a project on Incorporating Freshwater Biodiversity into State Transportation Planning (Aquatic Connectivity Project) (The Nature Conservancy 2011).

By compiling these methodologies and tools as well as covering new ground through the creation of GIS scripts to accomplish our goals, we have created GIS datasets that include the best examples of freshwater ecosystems assembled as connected networks for New York State. The work of the Blueprint Team will highlight the significant aquatic resources across the state and conservation practitioners will be able to use these data to prioritize sites for conservation action on the ground.

Citation: White, E.L., J.J. Schmid, T.G. Howard, M.D. Schlesinger, and A.L. Feldmann. 2011. New York State freshwater conservation blueprint project, phases I and II: Freshwater systems, species, and viability metrics. New York Natural Heritage Program, The Nature Conservancy. Albany, NY. 85 pp. plus appendix.