Watershed health — Northeast update

We investigated the health of stream habitats in the Northeast Status and Trends Region in 2012 and 2018. Based on these study years, the region showed improving biological condition, with the highest physiochemical stressors involving stream substrate.

Close up photo of stream with lots of cobble.

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Regional summary

  • BIBI scores in the Northeast Region show potential improvement in 2018 compared to 2012, with higher and lower proportion of streams in good and poor conditions, repsectively.
  • The most prevalent stressors for streams in the Northeast Region were poor bed stability, increased sand/fines substrates, increased substrate embeddedness, and increased stream temperature.

Biological condition

Invertebrate biological condition of streams, as assessed with B-IBI scores, did not change significantly from 2012 to 2018 in the Northeastern Region. However, the proportion of streams in poor condition decreased, and the proportion of streams in good condition increased. The percentage of streams in fair condition remained the same.

Graph showing an increase in streams categorized as 'good'.

We used B-IBI ratings in 2012 and 2018 to rate percentages of stream kilometers in the Northeast Region as good, fair, or poor. Error bars represent 95% confidence intervals.

Significant physical and chemical stressors 

In the Northeast Region, some of the most prevalent stressors were those associated with stream substrate, namely bed stability, percentage of sand/fines and substrate embeddedness. Most of the stream kilometers assessed showed low bed stability and elevated sand/fines percentages. High water temperatures were also prevalent in the Northeast Region. Canopy cover and natural fish cover decreased, although results were not significant. Other parameters that indicated potential change in 2018 compared to 2012 include increased nitrogen and elevated pH.

To interact with this graph and learn more about these stressors, hold your mouse over each bar.

This interactive graph shows the percentage of stream kilometers assessed with poor physiochemical conditions in the Northeast Region for 2012 and 2018. The x-axis represents the percentage of river extent in poor condition. Error bars show 95% confidence intervals.