Tier I and Tier II Habitat and Inventory Assessment
The NOAA/ARRA grant provided the impetus for development and refinement of habitat and inventory methods . A summary of these protocols are provided below:
Inspecting aerial photographs will yield a list of potential sites for each project stream. Rapid, Tier 1 field inspections and/or local resident interviews will be used to determine if a suspected impediment exists at each potential site, as well as to confirm areas that either meet the general criteria of northern pike spawning habitat or are recently/historically observed to host spawning northern pike.
A standard field form and guidance document for Tier 1 field inspections will be used. Using the County GIS and tax assessment database, Program staff will contact all owners of riparian land immediately adjacent to suspected impediments prior to visiting the site to gather additional information about the suspected impediment and to gain access permission. All non-inspected potential sites that cannot be confirmed or refuted by direct onsite inspection or with information from resident interviews will be considered suspected impediments until evidence to the contrary becomes available. If Program staff is unable to contact the landowner or gain access across private properties inspections will be conducted by staff staying within the navigable waterway.
All suspected impediments will be thoroughly photographed. Latitude and longitude coordinates will be determined as needed. If possible, impediments will be marked with survey flagging for easier relocation. Applicable information will be collected and recorded on the Tier 1 assessment field sheet standardized field data sheets. In certain cases (e.g., low flow dams and impassable culverts) staff will return with basic survey equipment (e.g., survey level and range pole) and complete a single Tier 2 assessment.