From the cold, high gradient, spring feed headwater streams in northern New England to the large, meandering, warm rivers of the southeast coastal plain, freshwater ecosystems in our region contain important biodiversity and act as critical linear connections between habitats. Our region contains over 600,000 miles of streams and rivers, over 100,000 lakes and ponds, and a tremendous diversity of freshwater life, including over 500 species of rare freshwater fish, amphibians, turtles, mussels, snails, dragonflies, mayflies, and stoneflies (NatureServe 2015).
For centuries, people have depended on these freshwater ecosystems for drinking water, food, transportation, recreation, hydropower, and waste disposal. Intense competing uses for water can jeopardize their rich biodiversity and the wide range of services they provide to society.
To facilitate more integrated freshwater conservation and water resource management, our current projects focus on developing regional approaches to identifying types of stream and lake ecosystems, evaluating their condition - particularly fragmentation by dams and culverts, assessing critical river floodplain habitats, determining environmental flows, and identifying resilient connected stream networks that will maintain a high level of biological diversity and ecological integrity in spite of a changing climate into the future.