Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Pennsylvania
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Pennsylvania Project

Fish Community Assessment in the Eastern Rivers and Mountains Network and Integration with Existing Monitoring Data

January 2013 - May 2015


Participating Agencies

  • National Park Service

The National Park Service (NPS) has initiated a long-term ecological monitoring program, known as “Vital Signs Monitoring”, to provide the minimum infrastructure to allow more than 270 national park system units to identify and implement long-term monitoring of their highest-priority measurements of resource condition. The Eastern Rivers and Mountains Network (ERMN) includes nine parks in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia which together encompass nearly 91,000 ha of land area and more than 600 stream and river miles within the parks’ authorized boundaries. A primary objective of the ERMN monitoring program is to evaluate status and trends in the condition of tributary watersheds flowing into and through member parks. Currently, the monitoring of fish communities is not part of the monitoring program. Consequently, methodology is needed to estimate the current condition of fish communities in ERMN wadeable streams in a rigorous and repeatable manner. Estimates of the current fish community’s condition at ERMN stream sites will complement data collected on an annual basis (i.e., Vital Signs Monitoring) and enable an integrated measure of ecosystem condition that can be monitored over time. The specific objectives of this study are to: (1) characterize fish communities in selected ERMN stream reaches, and (2) combine fish community data with existing monitoring data (e.g., macroinvertebrates) to provide an integrated measure of stream ecological condition.