Habitat suitability index models: A low effort system for planned coolwater and coldwater reservoirs

FWS/OBS 82/10.3A
By: , and 



A novel approach to reservoir habitat evaluation is described and habitat ratings are proposed for five fish species in coolwater and coldwater reservoirs. This approach has the advantages of procedural simplicity and ready availability of input data; consequently, it has potential utility as a screening tool in the early stages of the reservoir planning process.

Habitat suitability is determined on the basis of a composite score for five "primary" reservoir attributes (temperature, turbidity, nonliving cover, drawdown, and shallow cove frequency). The va 1ue of each primary reservoi r attribute is determined from one or more "secondary" attributes, which are easily measured variables. Secondary attributes (for example, length of growing season or mean July air temperature) can be directly obtained, prior to construction, from published documents, maps, reservoir plans, and on-site inspections of the proposed reservoir basin.

Evaluation criteria and ratings are presented for rainbow trout (Salmo gairdneri), white sucker (Catostomus commersonii), yellow perch (Perca flavescens), common carp (Cyprinus carpio), and black crappie (PomoxTS nigromaculatus). These ratings were derived from literature reviews and from persona 1 experi ence and knowl edge of the authors; however, the system is easily adaptable to change upon further review, differences of opinion by experts, or evaluation of test results under diverse conditions.

This technique can be used to evaluate the suitability of a proposed reservoir for different species and to compare the outcomes of alternative construction plans. It could also be expanded to include additional species, which will improve its utility. The system should be useful in determining losses relative to benefits, trade-offs, and potential mitigation measures in reservoir projects.

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype Federal Government Series
Title Habitat suitability index models: A low effort system for planned coolwater and coldwater reservoirs
Series title FWS/OBS
Series number 82/10.3A
Subseries Habitat Suitability Index
Edition Revised Nov 1984
Year Published 1982
Language English
Publisher U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Contributing office(s) U.S. Geological Survey
Description vii, 62 p.
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