HIGH DEFINITION FISH SURVEY (HDFS)

2020 High Definition Fish Survey: Upper Delaware River, Hancock, NY

The Upper Delaware River is a component of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System and a unit of the national park system. The National Park Service (NPS) is responsible for protecting threatened and endangered (T&E) species in this area. The Upper Delaware River watershed is host to a T&E species of fish known as the bridle shiner, Notropis bifrenatus. A member of the minnow family, the bridle shiner is vulnerable to poor water quality and high turbidity, particularly in agricultural areas. The NPS requested a High Definition Fish Survey (HDFS) to sample for the presence of bridle shiners in a small, highly vegetated and intermittently floodplain pond next to the Delaware River. The HDFS provided a rapid way to gather geo-referenced video to document the species occurring within the pond. The video results were sent to species experts and confirmed the presence of the bridle shiner in these areas. HDFS proved ideal for T&E species sampling because it is rapid, verifiable and much less disruptive to aquatic life than other sampling methods such as electro-shocking or seine-netting.

Fish Distribution and Habitat Modeling: Ala Wai Watershed, Honolulu, Hawaii

High Definition Fish Surveys (HDFS) were conducted to better understand the current distribution and habitat use of fish with the Ala Wai Watershed streams. The results were used in the USACE Flood Mitigation Project impact assessment on the loss of instream habitat from proposed flood control structures. The HDFS approach allow for very rapid documentation of fish species presence in a wide range of urban stream conditions that were difficult to survey with other survey methods. The HDFS method easily integrates with the High Definition Stream Surveys (HDSS) method providing an excellent understanding of the distribution of habitat and fish species within a stream system.have the means to physically inspect the river. The High Definition Fish Surveys allowed for rapid fish surveys in a wide range of habitats throughout the streams. The video results were used for species identification and habitat use.

2020 High Definition Stream Surveys on the Delaware River Shehawken Creek and Equinunk Creek, Hancock, NY

Shehawken Creek and Equinunk Creek are tributary streams flowing into the main stem of the Delaware River downstream of the confluence between the Eastern and Western branches of the Delaware River. Both streams are important reproduction streams for wild rainbow and brown trout. The Shehawken Chapter of Trout Unlimited was interested in the High Definition Fish Survey (HDFS) technique to develop citizen science program that would conduct periodic fish surveys in these creeks and other waters in the Upper Delaware watershed. Trutta worked with the Shehawken Chapter of Trout Unlimited to inform members about the HDFS and High Definition Stream Survey (HDSS) techniques and provided the opportunity to complete the HDFS methods on Equinunk Creek. In coordination with the volunteer surveys, Trutta conducted high definition stream surveys of approximately two miles of both Shehawken and Equinunk Creeks using a backpack-mounted system. The surveys took about 1.5 hours each. Trutta subsequently completed a High Definition Fish Survey of Shehawken Creek, documenting underwater aquatic habitat and fish at approximately 100 sites over a 1.5 mile stretch of stream, starting at the confluence with the main stem of the Delaware. The combination of HDSS and HDFS on the streams will allow habitat use, availability and suitability results to be developed and the results will allow TU members to interact with and support fisheries managers in protecting the trout habitat in these important spawning creeks. This project was made possible with funds from the Shehawken chapter of Trout Unlimited and the Embrace-A-Stream program hosted by the national headquarters of Trout Unlimited.

Stream Condition Assessment: Timber Run, Maryland

Timber Run, a long-term monitoring, reference stream in Maryland was surveyed using the High Definition Stream Survey (HDSS) and High Definition Fish Survey (HDFS). The survey was completed by a single surveyor using the HDSS Backpack setup in a single day and covered over 3.7 km. The habitat assessment included stream channel geomorphology, bank condition, instream habitat, and infrastructure and was completed in only 2.2 hours. The fish surveys were completed on a wide range of habitats throughout the stream. This long-term reference stream had been surveyed numerous times over the past 19 years, but the traditional survey methods only covered 100m and required 4-6 people to complete. The combination of the HDSS and HDFS approach proved much faster and more spatially complete than past traditional surveys and provided new insights into this reference stream.