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Lincoln, NE, United States

Geographic information systems (GIS) are powerful tools for analysis and interpretation of spatial data commonly encountered in fisheries science. We presented details of GIS use in fisheries management in a prior study and found cost to be a factor limiting GIS use. This article introduces fisheries managers to free or open-source GIS. Free or open-source GIS are readily available, powerful tools capable of performing a variety of spatial analyses. We strongly encourage managers wishing to perform spatial analyses, but who are unable to purchase software, to consider free GIS. © 2015, American Fisheries Society. Source

Eder B.L.,Missouri River Program | Neely B.C.,Parks and Tourism

Use of geographic information systems (GIS) in fisheries science has increased in prevalence since its introduction in the late 1980s, but use among and within fisheries management agencies has not been quantified. We surveyed 89 administrators of fisheries management agencies in the United States and Canada to determine the current status of GIS in fisheries management and received 54 responses (61% return rate). Survey respondents indicated that GIS was used to help manage fish populations, and 63% of respondents believed that GIS was either "very useful" or "extremely useful" for meeting agency objectives. However, most GIS work conducted by fisheries management agencies was executed by few individuals within the agency or by contracted service. Barriers preventing more widespread use by managers within agencies included lack of knowledge or training and limited time to use GIS in job duties. Our results suggest that GIS is an important tool for fisheries management. Further, GIS use within an agency might be increased by focusing on increased biologist participation in training exercises, integration with existing job duties, and recognizing diversity among GIS software. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC. Source

Jacobson R.B.,U.S. Geological Survey | Janke T.P.,Missouri River Program | Skold J.J.,Missouri River Program
Wetlands Ecology and Management

Planning for restoration of river-floodplain systems requires understanding how often and how much of a floodplain may be inundated, and how likely the floodplain is to retain the water once flooded. These factors depend fundamentally on hydrology and geomorphology of the channel and floodplain. We discuss application of an index of river-floodplain connectivity, the Land Capability Potential Index (LCPI), to regional-scale restoration planning along 600 km of the Lower Missouri River. The LCPI integrates modeled water-surface elevations, floodplain topography, and soils to index relative wetness of floodplain patches. Geomorphic adjustment of the Lower Missouri River to impoundment and channel engineering has altered the natural relations among hydrology, geomorphology, and floodplain soils, and has resulted in a regional upstream to downstream gradient in connectivity potential. As a result, flow-regime management is limited in its capacity to restore floodplain ecosystems. The LCPI provides a tool for identifying and mapping floodplain restoration potential, accounting for the geomorphic adjustment. Using simple criteria, we illustrate the utility of LCPI-like approaches in regional planning for restoration of plains cottonwood (Populus deltoides) communities, hydrologically connected floodplain wetlands, and seasonal floodplain wetlands. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. Source

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