This project assembled statewide data layers representing 10
uncorrelated individual threats to Florida's freshwater habitats
and created a composite index of the threat data layers to
determine relative condition of freshwater habitats within
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's
Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy (CWCS) is an action
plan for conserving the state's wildlife and natural areas. In 2005
the CWCS identified 27 threats to Florida's freshwater habitats.
Creating a comprehensive database of threats is an essential step
toward achieving the overall goals of improving strategic habitat
conservation planning and addressing causes of low abundance and
decline of species in aquatic habitats.
This project used a Geographic Information System (GIS) to
assemble a statewide geographic collection of map-based data
representing 15 of the 27 threats. GIS applications are map-based
tools that allow users to create searches, analyze geographic
information, and create and edit digital maps. The information
collected regarding the 15 threats was used to determine the
relative level of individual threats to each subwatershed
(Hydrologic Unit Code [HUC] 12 unit) within Florida. A subwatershed
is a smaller basin within a larger drainage area where all of the
surface water drains to a common point of the larger watershed.
The map data layers and resulting composite indices show
information across the entire state but are summarized at a
subwatershed level. A map data layer consists of a single theme
such as elevation or locations of waste treatment plants. Viewed
together these data layers paint a picture and can be analyzed to
examine relationships to help answer questions.
Therefore, it is possible to both discover regional patterns and
also identify conditions at a more local level. Managers and
researchers can use this threat information along with
consideration of both the permanence of the threat and its impact
on the five indicators of ecological integrity to begin further
study into the issues affecting a particular freshwater
Based on the composite index map, a distinct trend of increasing
threat level is evident progressing from northwest Florida to the
east and south. At a regional scale, road density dominates as the
most common reason for high threat values in northern Florida.
Agriculture dominates in the west-central region and waterway
modification dominates in east-central and southern Florida.
This multi-scale assessment is effective at both highlighting
local conditions which may warrant further investigations and
illustrating regional trends.
These data may be obtained by downloading either a 240 MB
archive or the final report in pdf
format, by emailing GISRequests@MyFWC.com, or
by calling (850) 488-0588.