Paddlefish Tracking Map - Visualizing U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Tower and Boat Observational Data

Science Center Objects

Partnering with the Caddo Lake Institute, the USGS WARC Advanced Applications Team developed a web-based mapping application that visualizes the paddlefish tracking observations being collected by FWS.

Caddo Lake Institute - Paddlefish Finder - Tracking Map
Caddo Lake Institute - Paddlefish Finder - Tracking Map

Issue and Relevance: Once common in Texas rivers, paddlefish began to disappear after changes were made to the watershed, including construction of the Lake O’ The Pines dam in 1959. Paddlefish are now rarely found. Where they do survive, they can grow to seven feet, weigh 200 pounds, and live for 30 years. On March 5, 2014, Caddo Lake Institute and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) released two to three-foot long paddlefish containing radio transmitters into the Caddo Lake watershed. This paddlefish release project is one of many aspects of a larger effort to protect and enhance flows in the Caddo Lake watershed.    

Methods to Addressing Issue: Partnering with the Caddo Lake Institute, the USGS WARC Advanced Applications Team developed a web-based mapping application that visualizes the paddlefish tracking observations being collected by FWS. Promoting an education component, the Caddo Lake Institute allowed schools and others to adopt and name a tagged and released paddlefish. The application allows these entities and the general public to select and track each individual paddlefish movements throughout the Caddo Lake area. Working with FWS, standard data formats were developed for both tower and boat observational data. FWS delivers the electronic data on a monthly schedule. The data is then ingested and stored in a USGS hosted database. Navigating through the application, the user has options to view all observations of the selected paddlefish including whether the recorded observation was from a tower or handheld receiver, the observation date, tower ID if applicable, and whether the paddlefish was traveling upstream or downstream if determinable. Also available is the release location of the selected paddlefish as well as specific observation dates when hovering over the tower and boat icons located throughout the mapping environment.

Future Steps: The FWS will continue to send data when available.