Great Lakes connectivity
Populations of migratory fish are dependent on their ability to access quality habitat in order to reproduce. In the Midwest, this often means swimming upstream from the Great Lakes, penetrating inland via adjacent watersheds. Unfortunately, their passage is often blocked by man-made features which act as barriers to fish movement. There are currently over 250,000 such barriers in the Great Lakes basin that can potentially inhibit fish movement. Due to the sheer volume of these barriers and the associated cost of repairing them, only a small proportion receive attention each year.
We have constructed a decision support tool to optimally target candidate barriers in order to maximize the return on investment from the improvement projects which are funded each year. Our hope is that this tool can be applied at various scales covering multiple jurisdictions, and help to coordinate efforts to maximize increases in fish habitat.