In 2002, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, began a 5-year study to develop a database that documents the physical and biological characteristics of nine stable reference reaches from seven streams in the New York City West of Hudson Water Supply Watershed in the Catskill Mountain region of New York State. Primary objectives of this study were to (1) develop a reference-reach database of morphology, aquatic biology, and fluvial processes, and (2) summarize the relations between fish communities, aquatic habitat, and stable stream morphology in streams in the Catskill Mountain region. Secondary objectives included documenting year-to-year variability in fish populations and stream habitat in geomorphically stable streams and demonstrating how reliably Habitat Suitability Index models can be used to characterize habitat conditions and predict the presence and abundance of populations of trout species.
Fish and habitat databases were developed, and several important relations were identified. Fish-community indices differed considerably among sites where trout were present and where they were either absent or present in very low numbers; these differences were reflected in higher Habitat Suitability Index scores at trout-dominated sites. Several fish- community and habitat variables were found to be strongly associated with indices of stability and, therefore, determined to be useful tools for evaluating stream condition. Lastly, preliminary results suggest Rosgen stream type data can help refine fish and habitat relations and assist in our ability to predict habitat potential and fish-community composition.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Fish Communities and Habitat of Geomorphically Stable Reference Reaches in Streams of the Catskill Mountain Region, New York