Understanding upstream catchment basin areas of culverts add to the analysis of both the quality of infrastructure as well as the stream habitat. Mr. Richard Morrill is the Resource Manager of Baxter State Park in Maine and is interested in understanding how the area of the upstream catchment basin of culverts may impact fish habitat. The culverts that were given to me for analysis were ones that the Fish and Wildlife Service determined to be potential fish barriers. In order to calculate the upstream catchment basins, I used the USGS National Elevation Dataset to create stream networks within the park. These stream networks allowed to me utilize ArcGIS 10.1 watershed tools to ultimately calculate the watersheds. Using models have innate inaccuracies because they’re a set of rules and procedures for predicting an outcome. I spent time analyzing and evaluating the tools and data available to determine what would provide me and Mr. Morrill with the most accurate results.
After running the watershed analysis on the culverts, I was able to calculate the area of each watershed and determine what impacts it has on the culverts. Smaller watersheds don’t provide spacious habitat for fish and may not impede on the quality of habitat, but smaller watersheds can have greater impact from the surrounding landscape which could alter the habitat. The next step is to look at more culverts in Baxter State Park and use Amanda Vandenburg’s geoprocessing model that will automatically create watersheds for each culvert. This will help the park staff in spatially being aware of what impacts surrounding landscapes will have on a watershed and what impact the watershed will have on the fish habitat and infrastructure of the culverts.