Northeast Region Ecosystem-Based Management Activities

The Northeast ecosystem is marked with a temperate climate and high productivity influenced by tidal flux, gyre circulation, cold southward flowing currents and warm eddies that spin off the Gulf Stream. High productivity supports a diverse array of invertebrates, pelagic fish, groundfish, anadromous fish, seabirds and marine mammals. This ecosystem has supported productive fisheries for centuries, but in the past half century high fishing pressure has resulted in the depletion of some fish stocks. The value of the fisheries remains an important feature of the region, both economically and socially.  Other stresses on this ecosystem include coastal development and shoreline alteration, nutrient runoff, industrial pollution runoff, and high vessel traffic.  The various ocean-uses in the Northeast reflect the concentration of a high proportion of the U.S. population in this region.  Ocean uses include recreational and commercial fishing, eco-tourism (whale watching), shipping, recreational boating, wind farms, and many others.  


Northeast Shelf Integrated Ecosystem Assessment

Extending from the Gulf of Maine to Cape Hatteras,  the Northeast Shelf system is marked with a temperate climate and high productivity influenced by tidal flux, gyre circulation, cold southward flowing currents and warm-core eddies that spin off the Gulf Stream. High productivity supports a diverse array of invertebrates, pelagic fish, groundfish, anadromous fish, seabirds and marine mammals. This ecosystem has sustained high fishing yields for centuries, but in the past half century high fishing pressure has resulted in the depletion of some fish stocks. Other stressors on this ecosystem include coastal development and shoreline alteration, nutrient runoff, industrial pollution runoff, and high vessel traffic. The multiple uses of this marine ecosystem reflect the high concentration of the U.S. population located in this region.  Integrated Ecosystem Assessmentss  allows for the evaluation of cumulative effects from multiple ocean uses as well as the influence of individual sectors and the broader dynamics of oceanographic, climatic, ecological and other environmental conditions.

Northeast Shelf IEA Website

Habitat Blueprint North Atlantic Focus Areas

The Habitat Focus Areas under NOAA’s Habitat Blueprint are areas identified by regional experts and intended to increase the effectiveness of NOAA’s habitat conservation science and management efforts by addressing multiple habitat conservation objectives on a watershed scale. NOAA, our partners, and local communities are engaged in multiple projects on the ground in these areas. NOAA’s investment is part of a long-term effort to rebuild fisheries, recover threatened and endangered species, and support resilient coastal communities nationwide. 

Penobscot River Watershed

The Penobscot River is New England’s second largest river, and eleven migratory fish species are found in the watershed, including three listed under the Endangered Species Act. The largest run of Atlantic salmon in the United States occurs on the Penobscot. With a rich cultural history of commercial, recreational and sustenance fishing, it is home to the Penobscot Indian Nation. Dams, culverts, water pollution and overfishing contributed to an almost complete elimination of many migratory fish species and their habitat from this watershed. A historic recreational salmon fishery nearly has been lost with the decline of the Atlantic salmon run. Thousands of small dams that are no longer in use are a safety concern. NOAA is currently working with partners and local communities on efforts such as identifying priority areas for fish passage, removing dams, constructing fishways to allow access to fish spawning habitat, replacing culverts in habitat, and conducting pre- and post-monitoring of restoration projects to look at ecological results and to assess impacts on fisheries, water quality, and changes in water surface elevations.

Choptank River Watershed

The Choptank River watershed, which includes the Choptank and Little Choptank Rivers, is located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. This area is a treasured part of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem, representing critical habitat for spawning striped bass and river herring, and historically abundant oysters. The historical loss of wetlands in the upper Choptank River subwatershed is approximately 11% of the total watershed area. Losses of coastal habitat continue to be threatened by climate change, sea level rise, and land subsidence. NOAA and a host of partners and citizens groups are engaged in various efforts including mapping and characterizing habitats, exploring removal of fish blockages, identifying priority wetlands restoration sites, and engaging coastal communities to ensure their increased involvement in and ownership of the protection and restoration of coastal habitats.

This represents a sample of the NOAA programs employing EBM in the Northeast region, it is not comprehensive. If there are programs you feel should be included please contact us.