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Available data for the American Eel (Anguilla rostrata) indicate that, overall, there have been declines in recruitment, population, and escapement during three generations (36 years). A recent report indicated that barriers to migration (dams and weirs), passage through turbines at hydropower dams, habitat degradation or loss, and overharvest were likely the greatest threats by humans across the species’ range. Although eels are able to ascend many smaller barriers, recent studies have documented a tenfold reduction in eel density above each potentially passable barrier. For example, the number of juvenile eels migrating to Lake Ontario passing over hydropower dams fell from 935,000 in 1985 to approximately 8,000...
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The Northeastern States contain over 17,000 dams with most built before 1910 for agricultural and industrial water power uses. A few have been built more recently for flood control, recreation, water supply, and energy generation. In many cases, the dams have outlived their expected life expectancy and use, but continue to block the passage of migratory fish species, such as American Shad, river herring, American Eel, Rainbow Smelt, and Atlantic Salmon, to and from their historic upstream spawning grounds. Additionally, the fragmentation of stream systems by dams have reduced Brook Trout populations in some locations. Progress is being made on this impairment as over 67 dams were removed during 2010 to 2014 in...
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Partnerships - Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture, Great Lakes Basin Fish Habitat Partnership and Atlantic Coastal Fish Habitat Partnership Almost 32 miles of streams and 260 acres of riparian habitat were rehabilitated to improve Eastern Brook Trout habitat. Nearly 800 feet of riverine bottom in Maine was restored to improve spawning habitat for diadromous fish. Two acres of oysters were installed in the Great Bay Estuary (310,000 spat) to stabilize sediments, improve water quality, and provide habitat for species such as river herring, Atlantic Tomcod, Winter Founder, and Striped Bass. Partners removed or improved 46 barriers, which allowed inland and diadromous fish to access an additional 108 miles of riverine...
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Partnership - Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture Historically, Nash Stream, New Hampshire was known as a high quality wild Brook Trout stream that provided exceptional angling opportunities. Unfortunately in 1969, the dam used to release water from Nash Bog Pond for log drives failed sending a torrent of water akin to the 500-year flood event down Nash Stream. Immediately thereafter and in response to the dam failure, stretches of Nash Stream were straightened and its banks made higher by bulldozers. Consequently, much of the instream and riparian habitat was altered to the detriment of wild Brook Trout and other fish species. Additionally, undersized culverts were placed in many essential Brook Trout spawning...
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Partnerships - Atlantic Coastal Fish Habitat Partnership and Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture The Upper Patten Stream Watershed near Surry, Maine historically supported a thriving commercial Alewife fishery and was used by many other anadromous fish species including Blueback Herring, American Eel, sea-run Brook Trout, and Atlantic Salmon. The Route 172 road crossing caused a four-foot drop without a jumping pool, creating a significant fish movement barrier. The road was the only barrier between Patten Bay and the upper drainage, located just upstream of the estuary. Patten Stream's Alewives were nearly eliminated, surviving mainly due to volunteers who carried fish over the barrier in nets so they may reach...
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The Shortnose Sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum), the smallest of the three sturgeon species that occur in the eastern United States, requires clean rock or rubble above the head of tide for spawning. It has suffered from the construction of dams in the region. This species migrates upriver from lower reaches of river systems or from upper estuary areas to spawn, but has been blocked from reaching spawning areas by dams. Other spawning habitat has been impaired by water flow changes from water withdrawals and dam operations, particularly peaking power operations. Sturgeon species, in general, are very sensitive to changes from the natural water flow conditions.
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The northeast is one of the most urbanized areas in the country, with a high percentage of impervious surfaces in some of its watersheds. These impervious surfaces alter the water flow (hydrology) of streams and increase sedimentation, nutrient loading, and pollution in rivers, lakes, and bays. Urbanization also results in the direct loss of fish habitat as wetlands are filled, streams diverted, and channels dredged. The effects of urbanization are apparent in the greater New York City area, Boston, Westchester-Springfield, Providence, and Buffalo-Rochester. However, increasing suburban sprawl also has a significant negative affect on aquatic habitats. From 1982 to 2012, developed land increased by almost three...
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Map of the risk of current fish habitat degradation of inland streams of the Northeastern States region.
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Mining efforts in the Northeastern States contributed to the high risk scores of network catchments in the 2015 inland assessment. The very high risk region of southern Maine and central New Hampshire has a concentration of active and legacy mines. Sand, gravel and rock are dominant mining products in that area, along with heavy metals such as lead, zinc, and tungsten which also actively mined. The high risk area along both sides of the Connecticut River between Vermont and New Hampshire contains a large number of mines, which predominately excavate sulfur, copper, zinc, iron, molybdenum, and beryllium. Limestone is heavily mined along the western border of Vermont as well as along the I-90 corridor in New York,...
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Aquatic vegetation is the key to Bridle Shiner (Notropis bifrenatus) survival. The loss of aquatic vegetation makes this species vulnerable to predation, often by piscivorous fishes. Land use practices that increase turbidity also affect this visual predator.
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A. Pervasive disturbances: The most common disturbances based on total stream length in a given region. Top five overall most pervasive disturbances to all stream reaches, regardless of stream size and across all spatial scales (ranked highest first): Population density Impervious surface cover Road length density Pasture and hay land use Low intensity urban land use Top three most pervasive disturbances to creeks (watersheds <100 km 2 in area) across all spatial scales: Population density Impervious surface cover Road length density Top three most pervasive disturbances to rivers (watersheds >100 km 2 in area) across all spatial scales : Pasture and hay land use Crop land use Impervious surface Top...
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In general, the northern portion of this region, such as Maine, upper Vermont and New Hampshire, and the Adirondack and Catskill Mountains in New York, are at lower risk of current degradation than the southern areas, where population pressures are more intense. Overall, 53 percent of the stream miles in the Northeastern States have a low or very low risk of habitat degradation. However, the Northeastern States have experienced extensive alteration and loss of aquatic habitats in many areas. As a result, 32 percent of the stream miles have high or very high risk of aquatic habitat degradation and the region is one of the most threatened in the conterminous United States. The most common disturbances in the region...
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The massive urban development of the northeast has resulted in discharged contaminants such as heavy metals, PCBs, and pesticides throughout the region’s waters. The number of industrial sites is much lower today, but their legacy continues as pollution leaks from abandoned industrial sites, landfills and disposal areas. Over time, these contaminants concentrate in sediments at the bottom of rivers, lakes, and bays. Some of the highest concentrations in the Northeast occur in Narragansett Bay, New York/New Jersey Harbor and Bight, and western Long Island Sound, where elevated levels of heavy metals (e.g., arsenic, chromium, mercury, nickel, silver, and zinc), PCBs, and pesticides occur. There are numerous impaired...
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Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar) is an internationally famous anadromous trout species that can reach weights of 80 lbs. and has been listed as endangered since 2000. In the United States, Atlantic Salmon historically existed as far south as Long Island Sound, although today they are now mostly limited to the Gulf of Maine. These salmon spend their early years in Maine rivers, before migrating into international seas. After one to three years off the coasts of Newfoundland, Labrador, and Greenland, they return to their natal rivers to spawn. The primary threats to Atlantic salmon are reduced migratory passage and increased mortality due to dams and other barriers, inadequate harvest regulations in international waters,...
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The Connecticut River is the largest river in New England. It flows 410 miles (660 kilometers) from its source to the Long Island Sound. New Hampshire and Vermont share about two-thirds of the river's length, or 275 miles (443 kilometers). The Connecticut River: is named after the Pequot word “quinetucket,” meaning “long tidal river.” The European corruption of that begat “Connecticut.” provides 70 percent of all the freshwater entering Long Island Sound. The Connecticut River has more than 1,000 dams on its tributaries and 16 dams on its main stem, 12 of which are hydropower projects. Many of these dams are more than 100 years old. The first dinosaur tracks in North America were discovered in Triassic rocks...


    map background search result map search result map Fish Habitat Partnerships Making a Difference in Patten Stream Fish Passageway, Maine Description of dams and other barriers as a human activity affecting fish habitat in Northeastern States Description of Mining as a Human Activity Affecting Fish Habitat in Northeastern States Habitat Trouble for Bridle Shiner in Northeastern States Habitat Trouble for Shortnose Sturgeon in Northeastern States Fish Habitat Partnerships Making a Difference in Nash Stream, New Hampshire Description of Urban Land Use as a Human Activity Affecting Fish Habitat in Northeastern States Facts About Northeastern States Description of Point Source Pollution as a Human Activity Affecting Fish Habitat in Northeastern States Habitat Trouble for American Eel in Northeastern States Partnership Activities for the Northeastern States Summary of Scientific Findings for Northeastern States from the 2015 National Fish Habitat Assessment Northeastern States- Risk of Current Fish Habitat Degradation Map Habitat Trouble for Atlantic Salmon in the Northeastern States Fish Habitat Partnerships Making a Difference in Patten Stream Fish Passageway, Maine Description of dams and other barriers as a human activity affecting fish habitat in Northeastern States Description of Mining as a Human Activity Affecting Fish Habitat in Northeastern States Habitat Trouble for Bridle Shiner in Northeastern States Habitat Trouble for Shortnose Sturgeon in Northeastern States Fish Habitat Partnerships Making a Difference in Nash Stream, New Hampshire Description of Urban Land Use as a Human Activity Affecting Fish Habitat in Northeastern States Facts About Northeastern States Description of Point Source Pollution as a Human Activity Affecting Fish Habitat in Northeastern States Habitat Trouble for American Eel in Northeastern States Partnership Activities for the Northeastern States Summary of Scientific Findings for Northeastern States from the 2015 National Fish Habitat Assessment Northeastern States- Risk of Current Fish Habitat Degradation Map Habitat Trouble for Atlantic Salmon in the Northeastern States