Indicator V 2.1: Freshwater Aquatic - Imperiled Aquatic Species

Nov 18, 2015 (Last modified Nov 6, 2017)
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Imperiled Aquatic Species
This layer is one of the South Atlantic LCC indicators in the freshwater aquatic ecosystem. It illustrates the total number of rare aquatic species within each watershed.

Reason for Selection
This indicator identifies areas with abundant rare and endemic aquatic species that would benefit from conservation actions.

Input Data
Input data for this indicator was provided by NatureServe and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) EnviroAtlas. This EnviroAtlas dataset includes analysis by NatureServe of species associated with aquatic habitat that are listed as G1 (globally critically imperiled), G2 (globally imperiled), or listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA). The analysis results are for use and publication by both the LandScope America website and by EnviroAtlas. Results are provided for the total number of Aquatic Associated G1-G2/ESA species, the total number of Wetland Associated G1-G2/ESA species, the total number of Terrestrial Associated G1-G2/ESA species, and the total number of Unknown Habitat Association G1-G2/ESA species in each 12-digit Hydrologic Unit (HUC12). NatureServe is a non-profit organization dedicated to developing and providing information about the world's plants, animals, and ecological communities. NatureServe works in partnership with 82 independent Natural Heritage programs and Conservation Data Centers that gather scientific information on rare species and ecosystems in the United States, Latin America, and Canada (the Natural Heritage Network). NatureServe is a leading source for biodiversity information that is essential for effective conservation action. This dataset was produced by NatureServe to support research and online mapping activities related to EnviroAtlas. EnviroAtlas allows the user to interact with an easy-to-use web-based mapping application to view and analyze multiple ecosystem services for the contiguous United States. The dataset is available as downloadable data or as an EnviroAtlas map service. Additional descriptive information about each attribute in this dataset can be found in its associated EnviroAtlas Facts Sheet.

This indicator includes data for the following species: Broad River Stream Crayfish, Greensboro Burrowing Crayfish, Piedmont Blue Burrower, Lean Crayfish, Oconee Burrowing Crayfish, Chauga Crayfish, Sandhills Spiny Crayfish, Piedmont Prairie Burrowing Crayfish, Mimic Crayfish, Saluda Burrowing Crayfish, Newberry Burrowing Crayfish, Ochlockonee Crayfish, Santa Fe Cave Crayfish, Big Blue Springs Cave Crayfish, Woodville Karst Cave Crayfish, Pallid Cave Crayfish, Black Creek Crayfish, Florida Longbeak Crayfish, Spider Cave Crayfish, Gulf Sturgeon, Alabama Shad, Bluestripe Shiner, Altamaha Shiner, Thinlip Chub, Cape Fear Shiner, Carolina Redhorse, Robust Redhorse, Carolina Madtom, Orangefin, Broadtail Madtom, Stippled Studfish, Waccamaw Killifish, Waccamaw Silverside, Carolina Pygmy Sunfish, Bluebarred Pygmy Sunfish, Waccamaw Darter, Halloween Darter, Roanoke Logperch, Altamaha Arcmussel, Dwarf Wedgemussel, Carolina Elktoe, Apalachicola Floater, Delicate Spike, Pod Lance, Brother Spike, Brown Elliptio, Yellow Lance, St. Johns Elephantear, Inflated Spike, Altamaha Spinymussel, Tar River Spinymussel, Waccamaw Spike, Purple Bankclimber, Atlantic Pigtoe, Finelined Pocketbook, Waccamaw Fatmucket, Carolina Fatmucket, Carolina Heelsplitter, Ochlockonee Moccasinshell, Suwannee Moccasinshell, James Spinymussel, Oval Pigtoe, Tallapoosa Orb, Florida Mapleleaf, Savannah Lilliput, Peninsular Floater, Carolina Creekshell, Magnificent Ramshorn, Squaremouth Amnicola, Cobble Sprite, Suwannee Hydrobe, Slough Hydrobe, Creek Siltsnail, Green Cove Siltsnail, Ichetucknee Siltsnail, Ocmulgee Siltsnail, Emily's Siltsnail, Halcyon Marstonia, Pumpkin Siltsnail, Reverse Pebblesnail, Flint Pebblesnail, Savannah Pebblesnail, Panhandle Pebblesnail, Flaxen Elimia, Pup Elimia, Slanted Elimia, Gem Elimia, Oak Elimia, and Timid Elimia.

Mapping Steps
1) We downloaded the watershed boundary dataset and the national metric tables in Esri FileGeodatabse format from the EPA’s EnviroAtlas and joined the tabular and spatial data.
2) We identified the field depicting total number of Aquatic Associated G1-G2 or ESA species in each HUC12.
3) We used the above field to convert the vector HUC12 layer to a raster with 200 m cell size using ArcGIS Polygon to Raster tool with a cell assignment type of "maximum combined area".
4) We clipped the resulting raster to the Active River Area layer from the Southeast Aquatic Connectivity Assessment Project (SEACAP).
5) We reclassified the values depicting the total number of Aquatic Associated G1-G2 or ESA species in each HUC12 as follows:

0 = No aquatic imperiled (G1/G2) or threatened/endangered species observed (low)
1 = 1 aquatic imperiled (G1/G2) or threatened/endangered species observed
2 = 2 aquatic imperiled (G1/G2) or threatened/endangered species observed
3 = 3 aquatic imperiled (G1/G2) or threatened/endangered species observed
4 = 4 or more aquatic imperiled (G1/G2) or threatened/endangered species observed (high)

Defining the Spatial Extent of Ecosystems
Freshwater aquatic indicators were applied to all parts of the South Atlantic LCC geography not classified as marine or estuarine, so no refined extent was needed.

Active River Area:
SEACAP developed an Active River Area layer ( final SEACAP report, page 21):

"The Active River Area (ARA) is a 'spatially explicit framework for modeling rivers and their dynamic interaction with the land through which they flow' (Smith et al. 2008). Key features of the ARA include the meander belt, riparian wetlands, floodplains, terraces, material contribution areas. The ARA is different from, but was calibrated to and compared against, the FEMA 100‐year floodplain. SEACAP used the ARA as a unit within which various landcover metrics, such as forest cover and impervious surface, were summarized. For the SEACAP area, we delineated the ARA for each of the seven size classes described in Section 2.1.3, using a seamless mosaic of 10m DEM data from the National Elevation Dataset (Gesch 2007; Gesch et al. 2002) as well as stream polylines, waterbody polygons, and stream area polygons from the NHDPlus v2 dataset. We selected and resampled wetflat landforms from a 30m landform model developed for the Southeastern United States (Anderson et al. 2014) to identify ARA components that occurred on wetflats and where longer-term storage of water is expected to occur. In addition, we obtained 100-yr floodplain polygons from the FEMA National Flood Hazard Layer (NFHL) in spring 2013 and used this data to inform cost distance threshold selection in the ARA delineation. Any FEMA 100-yr floodplain areas that were not captured by the ARA delineation were gridded at 10m resolution and merged underneath the ARA components in the final product. The final 10m ARA was resampled to 30m for use in the SEACAP metric calculations due to the resolution of other key input datasets (i.e., landcover). 22 The methods used to calculate all metrics was automated and documented via ArcGIS Model Builder models and custom Python scripts. Contact the authors for more information on the methods used to calculate metrics."

Known Issues

-- As this indicator is based on occurrence records, poorly surveyed areas may be scored too low. Therefore, this data does not imply absence of species.
-- The data in this indicator was last updated in 2011. Subwatersheds with fewer than four imperiled aquatic species in 2011 that subsequently had new imperiled species discovered after 2011 would be scored too low.

Indicator Overview
The South Atlantic ecosystem indicators serve as the South Atlantic LCC's metrics of success and drive the identification of priority areas for shared action in the Conservation Blueprint. To learn more about the indicators and how they are being used, please visit the indicator page. Check out the Blueprint page for more information on the development of the Blueprint, a living spatial plan to conserve our natural and cultural resources.

Literature Cited
Martin, E. H, Hoenke, K., Granstaff, E., Barnett, A., Kauffman, J., Robinson, S. and Apse, C.D. 2014. SEACAP: Southeast Aquatic Connectivity Assessment Project: Assessing the ecological impact of dams on Southeastern rivers. The Nature Conservancy, Eastern Division Conservation Science , Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership. <>.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Office of Research & Development (ORD) - National Exposure Research Laboratory (NERL) and NatureServe. 2013. EnviroAtlas - NatureServe Analysis of Imperiled or Federally Listed Species by HUC-12 for the Conterminous United States. <>.

Data Provided By:
South Atlantic LCC
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ScienceBase (USGS) View Record
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Content date:
2016-05-06 (Release Date)
Contact Organization:
South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The indicator data and maps provided are only intended for use as a reference tool for landscape-level conservation planning efforts.
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SouthAtlantic LCC
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The South Atlantic LCC encompasses and ecologically diverse 89 million acres across portions of six states, from southern Virginia to northern Florida. The geography also includes the marine environment within the federal Exclusive Economic Zone The South Atlantic region is a place where major...