Fish habitat impairment resulting from natural and anthropogenic watershed and in-lake processes has in many cases reduced the ability of reservoirs to sustain native fish assemblages and fisheries quality. Rehabilitation of impaired reservoirs is hindered by the lack of a method suitable for scoring impairment status. To address this limitation, an index of reservoir habitat impairment (IRHI) was developed by merging 14 metrics descriptive of common impairment sources, with each metric scored from 0 (no impairment) to 5 (high impairment) by fisheries scientists with local knowledge. With a plausible range of 5 to 25, distribution of the IRHI scores ranged from 5 to 23 over 482 randomly selected reservoirs dispersed throughout the USA. The IRHI reflected five impairment factors including siltation, structural habitat, eutrophication, water regime, and aquatic plants. The factors were weakly related to key reservoir characteristics including reservoir area, depth, age, and usetype, suggesting that common reservoir descriptors are poor predictors of fish habitat impairment. The IRHI is rapid and inexpensive to calculate, provides an easily understood measure of the overall habitat impairment, allows comparison of reservoirs and therefore prioritization of restoration activities, and may be used to track restoration progress. The major limitation of the IRHI is its reliance on unstandardized professional judgment rather than standardized empirical measurements. ?? 2010 US Government.