GSA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA - 2018

Paper No. 32-2
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM


DONOVAN, Grace C., Metropolitan State University of Denver, Denver, CO, HURTADO, Alexandrea M., Front Range Community College, Fort Collins, CO and WIEFERICH, Daniel J., United States Geological Survey, Core Science Analytics and Synthesis & Libraries, Lakewood, CO

The National Hydrography Dataset Plus (NHDPlus) is a digital geospatial model of the bodies of water within the United States. Using the NHDPlus as a geospatial framework improves the efficiency of interdisciplinary research by enabling the linkage of supplemental information into a common spatial context. The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (WSR) is a federal designation designed to protect rivers with outstanding wild, scenic, and recreational classifications. WSR protected rivers possess outstanding remarkable values (ORVs) (i.e. a fish ORV classifies a stream to have an exceptional fish habitat with direct correlation to the stream segment) which deem them worthy of designation. As UNAVCO Geo-Launchpad interns, we linked the WSR rivers to the NHDPlusV2 spatial framework to assist the U.S. Geological Survey in providing researchers, resource managers, and the public with additional information, promoting analyses to better understand and manage current and future protections of our nation’s streams. We used two applications to explore the utility of linking the WSR data to the NHDPlus framework. First, we used upstream catchment data from NHDPlus to classify all stream segments by size, to understand if the WSR stream sizes were representative of all streams in the conterminous United States. Second, we used the National Fish Habitat Partnership’s 2015 assessment of fish habitat, having a common spatial framework,, to understand how risk to fish habitat condition (based on anthropogenic impacts) relates to WSR streams designated as having fish ORVs. We found that the proportion of designated WSR streams within each stream segments size class were not representative of the stream size distribution of the national network as represented in the NHDPlus. Although the majority of designated WSR stream segments reflect very low to low risk of habitat degradation, around 19% of the designated WSR stream segments reflect moderate to very high risk of habitat degradation. Stream size and fish habitat condition information may be helpful to consider when reviewing effectiveness and planning of current and future designations of the WSR.