GCPO Mainstem Big Rivers - Landscape Endpoints v. 20160609

Jun 9, 2016
Uploaded by Yvonne Allen
This item is included in Data Basin, but has not been added to the Gulf Coastal Plains and Ozarks LCC CPA.
Mainstem big rivers were selected by the Gulf Coastal Plains and Ozarks (GCPO) Adaptation Science Management Team (ASMT) as a priority habitat system within the Mississippi Alluvial Valley subgeography.  Mainstem big rivers are dominant feature on the GCPO landscape - eight of the largest ten rivers in the lower United States by discharge terminate in the GCPO.   The goal of this dataset is to determine the amount, configuration and condition of key habitat features of the mainstem big rivers of the GCPO.  

The desired ecological state for priority habitat systems should characterize the least impacted condition – systems in this condition should be targets for maintenance/protection and the goal of restoration activities in degraded systems. In the GCPO Integrated Science Agenda (ISA), a general description of the desired ecological state is: “large river systems and their associated floodplains have water quality and adequate seasonal high and low flows with a frequency and duration sufficient to ensure connectedness across the diversity of habitat types”.  Ward et al. (1999) describes floodplain rivers as “disturbance-dominated ecosystems characterized by high levels of habitat diversity and biota adapted to exploit the spatio-temporal heterogeneity.” 

The desired landscape endpoints listed in the GCPO Integrated Science Agenda for mainstem big rivers are only qualitatively described:
Amount: Maintain current river miles
Configuration: Maintain a diversity of habitat types and connectivity among them
·                     Main channel
·                     Secondary channels
·                     Off channel deep water refugia that is seasonally persistent
·                     Seasonally-inundated floodplains
Condition: Quality
·                     DO – seasonally appropriate
·                     Temperature – below critical threshold
·                     Adequate seasonal high and low flows with frequency and duration sufficient to ensure connectedness across habitat types and ability for priority species to meet life history requirements

Throughout this analysis, the medium resolution NHD plus v2 was used for direct and indirect estimates of selected landscape endpoints.  These data were relied upon because they provide complete publicly available coverage throughout the GCPO geography.  

Floodplain inundation frequency (IF, Allen 2016) was also used extensively for assessment of mainstem big river habitat quantity and quality.   This product is based on multiple observations of actual inundation extent including open water and flooded vegetation using Landsat imagery from 1983-2011 during leaf-off conditions (Dec-Mar).  IF has been demonstrated to accurately characterize floodplain inundation under a variety of typical seasonal flooding scenarios. 

The inundation frequency mosaic was also used in a subsequent analysis to determine the level of connectivity between mainstem big river systems and their adjacent floodplains.

Further details may be found in the Draft Mainstem Big Rivers Ecological Assessment.
Data Provided By:
Gulf Coastal Plains and Ozarks LCC Staff

National Hydrographic Dataset (NHDPlus v2)

EPA StreamCat Database
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About the Uploader

Yvonne Allen
with USFWS

Ecologist / Aquatic Resources Analyst