As the champagne corks popped to welcome in 2015, the SEACAP team had other reason to celebrate, as well: the completion of the Southeast Aquatic Connectivity Assessment Project.  Following a two year effort involving staff from The Nature Conservancy and SARP and an advisory workgroup of over 50 people, these products are now available online at http://maps.tnc.org/seacap. Centered on a web map, these products include a project report, two consensus-based scenarios which prioritize dams for removal/bypass based on their potential benefits to diadromous and resident fish, respectively, and a custom analysis tool which enables users to develop their own scenarios based on their objectives and geography of interest. The recent Southern Division of the American Fisheries Society meeting in Savannah provided an opportunity to share these products with interested partners and demonstrate and support the use of the custom analysis tool.

In addition to helping identify potential aquatic organism passage projects, these results will be incorporated as Waterscapes Indicators in the South Atlantic LCC Conservation Blueprint. Two metrics, and Index of Freshwater and Saltwater Connectivity and an Index of Resident Fish Connectivity are based on data provided by SEACAP.

Moving forward, we are hopeful that we’ll be able to keep the database “live”. Towards this end, Kat Hoenke (kat@southeastaquatics.net) will serve as the contact person for any edits to the dam data.  This could include the correction of errors found in the data or to reflect on the ground actions, such as dam removals.  Kat will also be moving the project forward by working with American Rivers and interested groups in the region to take the SEACAP results and add social, economic and feasibility factors to identify actionable projects.

We are excited to have reached this milestone and encourage people to visit the web map and make use of the results and analysis tool.  A recording of the project’s final team webinar is available here if you’d like to hear more about how to use the tool and get a tour of its use.

Watch a video update on the SEACAP team’s accomplishment here: