Decision-support for headwater stream habitats

Project Leader: 
Research Partners: 
Ben Letcher, Evan Grant (USGS)
Project Fellows: 
Science Themes: 

Coldwater stream habitats are at risk from climate change, but management actions, such as removing barriers to passage and restoring riparian forest canopies, can in some cases help to ameliorate negative impacts.  Our overall goal is to devise and implement decision-support tools to help managers make climate-appropriate management choices.  We are currently working on several different approaches to this problem.  First, we are working to improve stream temperature predictions and incorporate stream thermal resilience into models for prioritizing barrier removal.  Second, we are using remotely-sensed data on riparian forest cover in combination with temperature vulnerability models to help managers target appropriate areas for riparian restoration.  To make the results of both of these efforts readily available to the management community, we have developed a website which incorporates these and other decision-support tools.  Finally, we are asking basic questions about how, given the availability of these tools and information, will land managers work together across jurisdicational and geographical boundaries to effectively manage these resources at landscape scales.

We have contributed to implementation of decision-support tools for identifying and prioritizing coldwater habitats and associated management actions in two platforms: 1. The Appalachian LCC Conservation Design web portal along with a Final Project Report and 2. The USGS-Conte AFRC/UMASS-ECO SHEDS decision-support website. 

This work allows land managers to prioritize efforts and value them in the context of climate change adaptation amd facilitates management at landscape scales.

  • Thesis defense, April 2013.
  • Presentation at Fish Passage and Echohydrology Conference -- UMASS Amherst June 2012
  • Road-Stream Crossing Failure in an Extreme Flood Event: Mutual Benefits for Human Infrastructure and Stream Fish Populations. Accepted Presentation, American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting, Aug 17, 2014, Quebec City
  • Forests, landscapes, and fishes in a changing regional environment. Northern States Research Cooperative Webinar Series. April 30, 2015
  • RPCCR along with the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture Range-Wide Assessment now available on both UMASS ECOSHEDS and AppLCC servers
  • Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture annual meetings in 2014 and 2015
  • Stream temperature monitoring meetings and workshops in 2012 and 2016 at USFWS Regional Office, Hadley, MA

  • US Forest Service Northern Institute of Applied Ecology (NIACS) Forests and Water Workshop in 2017.