Part of the Southeast Aquatic Resources Conservation Science and Practice Webinar Series, sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region. To see other webinars in this series, visit http://www.fws.gov/southeast/webinars/.
Wednesday, January 25, 10:00 am ET
The Southeast Aquatic Conservation Strategy
The Southeastern Aquatic Biodiversity Conservation Strategy is a joint project of the UGA River Basin Center and the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute to prioritize watersheds within the region to support future conservation investments. We used museum records, state databases, and online repositories of field collection records to assemble a dataset of almost 1,050 species of fishes, mussels, and stream-associated crayfishes and the locations where they are found, the first entirely data-driven attempt to map these three taxa on a consistent footing across this broad geography. We aggregated these collection points into 290 watersheds (HUC-8 sub-basins), then calculated species richness, imperilment, and endemism scores for each. Working with an advisory team of fourteen respected federal, state, and university biologists, we combined these scores to derive a single overall prioritization for watersheds in the Southeast. While State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAPs) that incorporate detailed surveys of population status and trajectory must continue to guide conservation decisions within individual states, our regional analysis indicates that the highest priority areas are in the Alabama River basin, particularly the Coosa system, and the Tennessee River basin, particularly the Middle-Tennessee.
Duncan Elkins* (University of Georgia River Basin Center), Sarah Sweat (Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute), Katie Hill (UGA RBC), Bernie Kuhajda (TNACI), Anna George (TNACI), and Seth Wenger (UGA RBC)