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PA Aquatic Community Classification Map
The goal of the Pennsylvania Aquatic
Community Classification (ACC) project was to
describe patterns in aquatic biodiversity for the
purpose of prioritizing conservation activities
and informing aquatic resource management.
Although assessments and aquatic inventories
are numerous and ongoing in Pennsylvania’s
waters, little public information for Pennsylvania
and the surrounding region is available to natural
resource managers, watershed groups, local
government officials, conservation planners, and
others about biodiversity and watershed quality.
For more information, visit the ACC website.
The full ACC report can be downloaded here. The GIS data presented on this map is available as shapefiles for download here.
Latitude & Longitude boxes track the coordinate position of the crosshair (center of map). To find specific coordinates on the map, enter Latitude/Longitude values in the boxes and click on the "Move to Lat/Long" button - Map will re-center to entered coordinates.
Large river reaches were selected as a conservation
priority if they had 1) occurrences of quality
community types from all three groups –
mussels, macroinvertebrates and fish, and 2) fish
or macroinvertebrate metric scores above the 90th
percentile for all large river reaches.
Alternatively, some reaches of large rivers were
selected as a conservation priority as a result of
the recommendations from regional experts that
were familiar with individual river systems.
The Priority Restoration Watershed
analysis indicates which watersheds are in the worst condition and are a priority for habitat restoration.
Tier 1 Restoration areas represents the most
disturbed watersheds that exist in Pennsylvania.
There is much physical alteration in these
watersheds, and the in-stream habitat supports
only the most pollution-tolerant organisms.
Tier 2 Restoration areas category are also impaired, but their
need for restoration action may not be as
immediate as those with Tier 1 status.
The methodology used to classify the Restoration Areas is explained in Chapter 11 of the ACC report.
Watershed Enhancement Areas are watersheds
that do not qualify as "Conservation" or "Restoration" priorities. These Enhancement watersheds reflect conditions
that are likely not in pristine condition, but are prime candidates for light restoration action because they are
not as severly degraded as the Restoration watersheds.
Tier 1 Enhancement watersheds represent
areas that are in the top half of this middle category; they are likely to be in good condition, but face some
threats to water quality.
Tier 2 Enhancement watersheds are in the bottom half of this category,
and represent watersheds that have significant water quality issues and could benefit greatly from restoration action.
The methodology used to classify the Enhancement Areas is explained in Chapter 12 of the ACC report.
The ACC study area includes the entire
Delaware, Susquehanna, Allegheny and Monongahela
River Basins and parts of the Erie, Genessee, Potomac
and Ohio River Basins.
Use the Select a County dropdown list to zoom to a county of interest
Checkbox toggles the visibility of Pennsylvania County Boundaries and their labels
Watersheds are based on the
USGS Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUC) 8. Click on the Download GIS Files button to download aquatic GIS
layers associated with the watershed. All of the ACC GIS files are available for download at the ACC website.
Checkbox toggles the visibility of
Watersheds which are based on the USGS Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUC) 8.
Conservation Priority Areas represent watersheds
with the highest levels of biological diversity and low levels of human disturbance.
Tier 1 Conservation areas represent the top 10% of the watersheds measured.
Tier 2 Conservation areas represent the watersheds that scored between the top 10% and 20%.
The methodology used to classify the Conservation Areas is explained in Chapter 10 of the ACC report.
You may need to zoom further into
the map to view township/municipal boundaries if you don't currently see them.
Use this link to add the ACC
GIS layers directly to ArcMap on your machine (requires Version 9.2 or higher). Click "Open" in the
window that displays to add the data directly to ArcMap or click "Save" to save a Layer File on your
machine which can then be added to ArcMap manually. Using either ensures that you are using the most
up-to-date information within your ArcMap software.
Use this link to add the ACC
GIS layers directly to Google Earth on your machine (requires you have Google Earth installed).
Click "Open" in the window that displays to add the data directly to Google Earth or click "Save"
to save a KMZ File on your machine which can then be added to Google Earth manually. Using either
ensures that you are using the most up-to-date information within your Google Earth software.