Habitat restoration efforts can be vital to the health of fish species. Even more important is knowing where those efforts will be most effective.
A team of fisheries researchers in Wisconsin spent six years analyzing statistical data related to waterways throughout the state to aid management efforts. For their work, the team received the 2014 Sport Fish Restoration outstanding research project award presented by the American Fisheries Society.
Ken Kurzawski, president-elect of the Fisheries Administration Section of the AFS presented the award at the January Natural Resources Board meeting in Madison. Kurzawski said;
The annual Sport Fish Restoration outstanding project award is intended to both highlight the importance and effectiveness of the Sport Fish Restoration program and recognize excellence in fisheries management, research and education. This annual award program helps identify and showcase outstanding fisheries projects from across the country.
The project, called "Development and Evaluation of Watershed Models for Predicting Stream Fishery Potential," was led by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources fisheries scientist John Lyons and included scientists Matthew Mitro and Matthew Diebel. Their research produced a framework for fisheries managers to locate areas where fish species are most likely to be and where certain types of fisheries and habitat management efforts could be most effective.
Lyons said that the project is a good example of how field knowledge can be applied for more effective management practices.
"We congratulate the team on their hard work and for the recognition they gained from this national organization," said Secretary Cathy Stepp. "This work emphasizes the importance and value of making management decisions informed by good science."
The research resulted in a practical benefit for anglers in Wisconsin. An online tool known as Fish Mapper, developed in partnership between the DNR and U.S. Geological Survey, allows the public to see what kinds of fish are located on every waterway in the state.