Projects > Fish Communities and Habitats
of the York River Watershed
in February of 2003, the York Rivers Association and Wells National
Estuarine Research Reserve (WNERR) conducted a scientific survey
measuring the health of the York River ecosystems, using fish as
indicators, data collection essential for wise stewardship of this
precious but threatened community resource. "Fish
Communities and Habitats of the York River Watershed"
(PDF Format - 5,402 Kb - see below for higher-resolution file) was
published in November 2006.
support: Greater Piscatuaqua Community Foundation ($20,000
Otto Fund), with additional support from the Wells National Estuarine
Research Reserve and the Town of York. Study Coordinator work
provided by the Maine Conservation Corps - AmeriCorps.
Participants: AmeriCorps; Wells National Estuarine Research
Reserve; York Rivers Association; York Land Trust; local volunteers
Our objective in this study was to assess the vitality of
the York River ecosystem through a survey of fisheries resources
and their supporting habitats.
Our goal in this study was to assist the York Rivers Association
and partners in their work as stewards of the York River and
its watershed, by documenting the current and potential fish
habitat value of this exemplary coastal ecosystem. Our study
provides data that is essential for wise stewardship of this
precious but threatened community resource.
For this initial characterization of fish distribution of
the entire York River ecosystem, we used an extensive sampling
scheme, with many sampling sites distributed throughout the
estuary and watershed. These sites were sampled only once
or twice, during the appropriate season. We conducted a fyke
net survey for evidence of fish migrations at four locations
both day and night in late April and early May of 2001, and
coordinated a volunteer visual survey to look for evidence
of fish spawning runs at 15 locations during May and June.
We used an electroshocker to sample fishes in 44 freshwater
stream segments (each 200 ft in length) during June and July,
and mapped instream and riparian habitat and flows in each
segment. We sampled the tidal wetlands within the estuary
with fyke nets at four sites both day and night during the
month of August. Finally, in late August we sampled the main
stem of the estuary at nine stations from the inlet up to
the tidal marshes with a beam trawl, both day and night.
version of the study is available:
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