The National Fish Habitat Action Plan On Schedule

The National Fish Habitat Action Plan (NFHAP) (www.fishhabitat.org) has met its ambitious objectives for 2010. When the Action Plan was enacted in 2006 the following four objectives were set to be completed by 2010:
  • Conduct a condition analysis of all fish habitats within the United States by 2010.
  • Identify priority fish habitats and establish Fish Habitat Partnerships targeting these habitats by 2010.
  • Establish 12 or more Fish Habitat Partnerships throughout the United States by 2010.
  • Prepare a "Status of Fish Habitats in the United States" report in 2010 and every five years thereafter.
Through a cooperative arrangement with Michigan State University, the NFHAP Science and Data team has completed a full habitat condition analysis of all streams in the lower 48 states. The Michigan State University team also completed initial habitat risk assessments for rivers in Hawaii and Alaska. On the coastal side, scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have completed a complementary habitat risk assessment for coastal waters in the lower 48 states and southeastern AK. These assessments are the first of their kind, portraying the condition of habitat nation-wide and at the individual river level.Priority fish habitats have been identified through the work of the National Fish Habitat Board by approving Fish Habitat Partnerships and through the work of these Partnerships identifying areas of critical habitat importance throughout the country.In establishing Fish Habitat Partnerships, the Action Plan has exceeded the third objective with 17 Board-approved Fish Habitat Partnerships restoring fish habitat on the ground under the guidance of the National Fish Habitat Board (Partnerships are displayed in the map below).In addition to the 17 Board-recognized Fish Habitat Partnerships, there are four additional "candidate" Fish Habitat Partnerships that have stated their intent to apply for recognition by the Board.The National Fish Habitat Action Plan's, 2010 "Status of Fish Habitats in the United States" will be completed in December of 2010. The report summarizes the results of assessments that were completed to meet the first objective. This 2010 report focuses on the freshwater and estuarine aquatic habitats of the 50 states. Future reports (2015 and beyond) will include U.S. territories as well as further detail on inland and coastal waters.Future objectives in (2015 & 2020) set forth for the National Fish Habitat Action Plan, include:
  • Protect all healthy and intact fish habitats by 2015.
  • Improve the condition of 90 percent of priority habitats and species targeted by Fish Habitat Partnerships by 2020.
One example of NFHAP working towards these future objectives is, since 2006 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has provided $12 million to support 247 on-the-ground projects under the Action Plan, in 42 states, which has leveraged $30 million in partner match, to address the priorities of the Fish Habitat Partnerships. These projects have focused on priority habitats across the country.The National Fish Habitat Action Plan is delivering on its mission, goals, and objectives through its partnerships on a science-based landscape scale. Local actions that have yielded measureable social, economic, and ecological benefits have been the result of the Action Plan meeting these objectives for 2010.The plan is also helping to focus attention on new ways to assess fish habitat and how to protect, restore, and enhance it for the future. The plan's vision of healthy habitats, healthy fish, healthy people, and healthy economies will be achieved through cooperation, investment, and stewardship."When the National Fish Habitat Action Plan was established in 2006, there were certainly some lofty expectations set forth for what the plan would do. The conservation actions that our partners have accomplished have led the way in the Action Plan meeting its 2010 objectives. Reaching these objectives has really proved that this ground up approach driven by our Fish Habitat Partnerships has been effective." said National Fish Habitat Board Chairman Kelly Hepler (Alaska Department of Fish & Game). "Everyone involved with the Action Plan is looking forward to working together to meet our objectives for 2015 and 2020 the same way we met our 2010 objectives."

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