Welcome to the BLM Aquatic Priorities Tool

A prioritization tool for freshwater fish species in Oregon and eastern Washington


This tool was created by Ecotrust for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management for use in their regional management activities.

Please read the detailed documentation below to gain an understanding of the purpose, limitations, and products associated with this tool. All users are able to view priorities, pan and zoom using the map tool, and explore data sets pertaining to aquatic species, climate change, watershed condition, and aquatic invasive species analyses. Registered users may sign in by clicking on the “sign in” menu in the upper right hand corner of each page.

Data and Methods

This tool allows users to identify priority species and consider current and future landscape conditions in order to create watershed priorities across or within the North Pacific LCC region. The data and analyses that inform the tool's inputs are described below. Please see the data dictionary for a detailed list of data sources used to inform this tool.

Focal fish species data development

The tool includes a variety of fish species distribution data, from wide-ranging salmon and steelhead to locally endemic fishes found in a few watersheds. These data were collected from a variety of sources, at varying scales and units of analysis. See the detailed documentation on focal fish species for additional information.

Watershed Condition

Healthy, functioning watersheds are essential for sustaining fish populations as well as fundamental ecosystem services. We relied on common indicators of watershed impairment, including water quality and human disturbance, to classify the relative ecological condition of each sub-basin. The subsequent relative watershed condition scores, if used in the prioritization process, will drive priorities toward less impaired watersheds. We developed our watershed condition index based on a combination of well-vetted existing approaches. Please see the detailed documentation for a description of the approach to watershed condition mapping.

Vulnerability to Climate Change

Climate change has the potential to alter freshwater habitat in complex ways that we have yet to fully understand. These changes will greatly affect the health and distribution of fish species, particularly those adapted to cold water. To address these potential effects, we identified vulnerability to climate change based on projected changes in air temperature, stream flow regime, and wildfire risk . Areas that are relatively more vulnerable to climate change then are avoided (if possible) in the prioritization process when climate change vulnerability is considered. See the detailed documentation on the approach to identifying climate change vulnerability for additional information.

Vulnerability to Aquatic Invasion

The introduction of non-native species is a major threat to the biodiversity of aquatic ecosystems, second only to habitat loss from development. An understanding of current and potential invasion is essential for conservation planning efforts. In this tool, we modeled vulnerability to aquatic species invasion using current non-native species distribution, water quality, and the distribution of common sources of invasion. Please see the detailed description of our vulnerability to invasion approach for additional information.

Proportion of streams on BLM lands

In order to prioritize action in areas where the Bureau of Land Management would be likely to have the most impact, we included a measure of the length of streams on BLM lands as a constraint in this tool. In this way, the prioritization process favors watersheds with higher proportions of BLM-managed lands Please see the detailed description of our approach for additional information.