Declining water quality and aquatic habitat in America’s
reservoirs is an issue of
great local significance
and even greater national
Reservoirs are inextricable parts of our natural landscapes. Constructed to meet a variety of human needs, they impact almost every major river system in the United States, affecting to various degrees habitat for fish and other aquatic species and, in turn, are affected by the health of the watershed in which they reside. Reservoirs, their associated watersheds, and their downstream flows constitute interdependent, functioning systems. Effective management of these reservoir systems – maintaining their ecological function and biological health – is essential to the conservation of our nation’s aquatic resources and their habitats. It requires that we minimize the adverse impacts of reservoirs on their watersheds and maximize their utility for aquatic habitat.
Conservation of reservoir systems is also essential to maintaining the quality of life for the American people. Reservoirs provide essential infrastructure services, from the storage and delivery of water to the generation of power to the reduction of flood risk in downstream communities. Reservoirs are focal points of recreation for tens of millions of Americans, from anglers to birdwatchers, and they generate tens of billions of dollars for local economies and national recreational industries. Innumerable species of fish and wildlife, too, benefit from the habitat that reservoirs provide.
Multiple impairments are found in reservoir systems. These impairments, exacerbated by human population growth and projected changes in temperature and rainfall caused by climate change, adversely affect fish, other aquatic species, and their habitats and diminish the quality of life for people. To address these, State and Federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, businesses, and committed individuals met over a period of three years to form the Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership (RFHP), a candidate Fish Habitat Partnership of the National Fish Habitat Partnership (NFHP).
The RFHP is a national collaborative partnership established to promote the protection, restoration, and enhancement of habitat for fish and other aquatic species and communities in reservoir systems through cooperative and voluntary actions. The RFHP provides strategic coordination and direction in the conservation of fish and aquatic habitat in reservoir systems. It is committed to integrating watershed conservation, in-reservoir management, and the management of downstream flows to attain more holistic and coherent strategies for addressing aquatic habitat impairment issues in reservoir systems. The RFHP works through partnerships to implement conservation actions needed to achieve and sustain healthy reservoir systems. It does this by facilitating, informing, equipping, and supporting a bottom-up approach to implementation of conservation – enabled, in turn, by the partnership’s wealth of technical expertise.
The Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership (RFHP)will be holding its fourth annual meeting at the Sheraton Erie Bayfront hotel (www.Sheraton.com/Erie) in Erie, PA on October 1 through 3, 2013. The meeting kicks off with a 2:00 p.m. field trip on Tuesday, October 1. Shuttle service from the hotel will be provided to the site of a Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission reservoir habitat enhancement project. The RFHP meeting will begin at 8:00 a.m. on October 2 and conclude at 5:00 p.m. Breakfast and lunch will be provided by RFHP. The Friends of Reservoirs Executive Committee will meet from 8:00-12:00 a.m. on October 3. Agendas for both meetings are being developed.
A block of rooms has been reserved in the name “Friends of Reservoirs” at the rate of $109/night. The group rate is available until 31 August. Reservations can be made using the following link: https://www.starwoodmeeting.com/StarGroupsWeb/res?id=1307074247&key=9202C or by calling the hotel directly at (814) 454-2005 and asking for the “Friends of Reservoirs” rate.
Flights can be made directly into Erie. The hotel does not have a shuttle but recommended contacting http://www.hansenerrandservice.com/ for pick-up service from the airport. Flights can also be made into Pittsburgh but a rental car would be needed for the 1.5 hour trip to Erie.
The Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership (RFHP) received the Special Recognition Award from the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum. Hall of Fame inductees are individuals or organizations “recognized for outstanding achievements in fishing, science, education, conservation, communications, technology, or other areas related to freshwater sportfishing…” Specifically, inductees in the Special Recognition category are acknowledged for actions that have benefitted fisheries or freshwater sportfishing. They have taken special risk or made politically unpopular decisions later seen as practical and produce positive results for fisheries and/or freshwater sportfishing. Thirdly, the nominee must have a proven record of long-term benefits for fisheries and/or freshwater sportfishing.
The RFHP is honored to be a recipient of the 2011 Special Recognition Award from the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum.
The National Fish Habitat Action Plan (NFHAP) is also a 2011 Hall of Fame award recipient. The NFHAP is recognized in the Organizational/Government Award category. Award recipients in this category must be “an agency or organization that has demonstrated and/or performed a valuable service or act to benefit freshwater sportfishing within its jurisdiction or the boundaries of its organization…” and have a proven track record of long-term actions that fisheries and/or freshwater sportfishing for many years. The National Fish Habitat Action Plan is one of 41 organizations to be inducted in the Organization/Corporate or Government Award category, since the awards started in 1984.