Beginning with Habitat


 
 

Supplementary Map 8:

USFWS Priority Trust Species Habitat Map

About Map | Data Components | Background Information | Strategies for Local Action


About Map:

Map 8: USFWS Priority Trust Species Habitat MapThis map identifies potentially valuable habitat for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Priority Trust Species based on the Gulf of Maine Watershed Habitat Analysis developed by the USFWS Gulf of Maine Coastal Program. This analysis was completed for the United States portion of the Gulf of Maine watershed that includes all of Maine, most of New Hampshire, and the eastern third of Massachusetts. This map is intended for planning purposes only and should not be considered a comprehensive inventory of plant and animal habitats and occurrences. For more information about U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Priority Trust Species and Gulf of Maine Watershed Habitat Analysis, contact Bob Houston at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Coastal Program (207-781-8364, robert_houston@fws.gov).


Data Components: (Data Sources)

Habitat Values-

  • Saltmarsh/saltwater- 1-49%, 50-74%, Top 25% (most important)
  • Freshwater Wetlands (excludes forested wetlands)- 1-49%, 50-74%, Top 25% (most important)
  • Grassland/Shrub/Bare Ground- 1-49%, 50-74%, Top 25% (most important)
  • Forested (includes forested wetland)- 1-49%, 50-74%, Top 25% (most important)

In order to protect fish and wildlife habitat for endangered, threatened or declining species in the region, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Gulf of Maine Coastal Program (USFWS) completed a project to predict, map and rank important fish and wildlife habitat for priority species throughout the Gulf of Maine watershed. USFWS biologists selected 91 species that regularly inhabit the Gulf of Maine watershed that meet the following criteria:

  • federally endangered, threatened and candidate species,
  • migratory birds, anadromous and estuarine fish that are significantly declining nationwide,
  • migratory birds, anadromous and estuarine fish that have been identified as threatened or endangered by two of the three states in the Gulf of Maine watershed.

Biologists have identified, ranked and mapped potential habitat for all species by developing habitat suitability models reflecting the environmental requirements for each species. Once habitat maps were completed for each species, biologists combined all the maps to create composite maps that included all 91 species. This USFWS Priority Trust Species Habitat Map displays likely important habitat in each of the four basic habitat types: forested habitat, grassland habitat, freshwater wetlands, and saltwater wetlands. The data within each habitat type is displayed in a three level gradient (the top 25%, the next 25%, and then the bottom 50%). The top 25% in each habitat type is considered the most important habitat.

The information displayed on Map 8 USFWS Priority Trust Species Habitat Map is based on habitat modeling and is intended to predict where habitat values may be higher and appropriate for follow-up on-the-ground surveys. This information can be useful in assessing high value habitat when other more specific habitat information is not available.

All of these data, along with the corresponding environmental themes, are available in GIS format from the USFWS Gulf of Maine Coastal Program.

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Background Information:

The Gulf of Maine watershed, situated in the northeast corner of the United States and the southeast corner of Canada, includes more than 43,000 square miles of land in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. The watershed includes the biologically productive Gulf of Maine as well as coastal habitats (salt marshes, mudflats, sandy beaches, intertidal zone, and islands) and inland streams, rivers, lakes, ponds, bogs, deciduous and coniferous woodlands, grasslands and alpine tundra. The Gulf of Maine watershed provides productive nurseries for many marine fish, riverine pathways for historically abundant populations of anadromous fish, important habitat for breeding, migratory and wintering waterbirds and neotropical migrants, and vital habitat for nationally threatened and endangered species. Many who live in the Gulf of Maine watershed appreciate its biological wealth. However, habitat loss and degradation from sprawling development, wetland and associated upland loss, overharvesting, oil spills, pollution, and other cumulative effects of development threaten the integrity of the Gulf of Maine watershed.

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Strategies for Local Action:

  • Incorporate this habitat information into your local planning strategies, including Comprehensive Plans and Open Space Plans. Try to minimize or eliminate growth in the important habitat areas.
  • If a development project is proposed in a highly ranked area, request that follow up field investigations take place to document potential impacts and refine design to minimize those impacts.
  • Use this data to catalyze, guide and support local land protection efforts. Try to protect areas with high value habitat and incorporate existing protected lands into your habitat protection projects. Contact the USFWS for more information on federal funding sources for land protection.

To learn more about specific strategies for local action, visit the Beginning with Habitat (BwH) Toolbox or contact BwH.

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