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Hydrography Seminar Series, Seminar 7 (Part 1) - March, 2016

Building a National Stream Internet

Thursday March 17, 2016 - 2:00 PM Eastern - One Hour, Two Parts

Dan Isaak, Fisheries Scientist, US Forest Service Research Branch

Abstract - The National Stream Internet (NSI) is a network of people, data, and analytical techniques that interact synergistically to create information about streams. The NSI is needed because accurate, high-resolution status and trend information does not exist for most biological and water quality attributes across the 5.5 million stream kilometers in the United States. Without that information, prioritization of limited resources for conservation and management proceeds inefficiently. In recent decades, however, 100s of natural resource agencies have invested millions of dollars to collect stream datasets that contain massive amounts of untapped information. That information can now be developed inexpensively using nationally consistent sets of geospatial data products (e.g., NHD-Plus V2, EPA’s StreamCat) with new spatial stream-network models (SSN). The SSN models outperform traditional statistical techniques applied to stream data, enable predictions at unsampled locations to create status maps for river networks, and work particularly well with databases aggregated from multiple sources that contain clustered sampling locations. The NSI project has two simple goals: 1) refine key spatial and statistical stream software and digital databases for compatibility so that a nationally consistent analytical infrastructure exists and is easily applied; and 2) engage a grassroots user-base in application of this infrastructure so they are empowered to create new and valuable information from stream databases anywhere in the country. The NSI website ( is a hub designed to connect users with software, data, and tools for creating that information in the hope that as better information is developed, it will enable stronger stream science, management, and conservation.

Biography – Dan Isaak is a fisheries scientist with the Forest Service research branch. His primary research interests include understanding the effects of climate (& climate change) on stream habitats and fish communities across the western U.S., stream temperature & species distribution monitoring and modeling, development and application of a branch of statistics specific to data measured on stream networks, and using digital and social media to connect people, information, and landscapes.

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