To protect and improve healthy aquatic habitat in reservoir systems for the benefit of fish and wildlife and the enhancement of quality of life for people and their communities

Declining water quality and aquatic habitat in America’s reservoirs is an issue of great local significance and even greater national concern

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.


Partnership News:

  • .The Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership (RFHP) will requesting proposals for partial funding of reservoir fisheries habitat enhancement projects in 2015. The RFHP is a national partnership established to promote and facilitate the conservation of habitat for fish and other aquatic species in reservoir systems through collaborative actions that contribute to:

    •  The ecological health and function of reservoirs and their associated waters and watersheds
    • The restoration, protection and enhancement of fish and other aquatic species and communities, therein
    • The sustainability and enhancement of reservoir fisheries
    • Public awareness of the conservation issues and challenges facing reservoir and associated waters and watershed management in the 21st Century
    • The quality of life of the American people

    Proposed projects can be focused on habitat issues in the reservoir proper and/or in watersheds above the reservoir and/or tailwaters below. Click here for more details on the 2014 request for proposals.

  • The Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership (RFHP) and the Friends of Reservoirs foundation (FOR) plans to make its small grants program available exclusively to Friends of Reservoirs member organizations again in 2015. FOR membership dues are used solely to fund this program. As membership in FOR expands, we will increase the number of projects funded and/or increase the dollar value of the grants. FOR will be awarding two-$1000 grants for 2015. Click here for more details on the 2014 small grants program.

  • Professional angler Alton Jones explains how you can make fishing better on your favorite reservoir:

  • See the Bassmaster.com article on how you can help your local reservoir

  • Lake Bloomington was named as a 2014 "10 Waters to Watch"

  • Lake Conroe was named as a 2013 "10 Waters to Watch"

  • Table Rock Lake was named as a 2012 “10 Waters to Watch”

  • 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.

    Source: "Enshrinement/Induction Lists.” Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum - Hayward Wisconsin. Web. 15 Nov. 2010..

National Fish Habitat Action Plan logo

Healthy reservoir systems meet many needs:

  • Habitat for aquatic and terrestrial life

  • Local pros near me

  • Fishing for 20 million freshwater anglers

  • Primary recreation areas for boating, swimming, camping, and other outdoor activities

  • Tourist destinations bringing economic benefit to nearby communities

  • Water supply for agriculture, industry, and municipal use

  • Power generation

  • Flood control

Rotating picture 1 from RFHP projects

To join in this effort, contact:

Jeff Boxrucker, Coordinator
Reservoir Fisheries Habitat
9321 E. State Highway 9
Norman, OK 73026