National Fish Habitat Partnership
National Fish Habitat Assessment Strategy

The National Fish Habitat Action Plan (Action Plan) calls for a status report on all fish habitat within the United States, with the initial report prepared in 2010 and every 5 years thereafter. The purpose of the National Fish Habitat Assessment (Assessment) is to provide a comprehensive analysis of the status of aquatic habitats at the national and regional scales to facilitate planning and success measurement by the National Fish Habitat Partnership Board (Board) and Fish Habitat Partnerships (Partnerships). The Assessment is designed to complement and support assessment efforts by the Partnerships along with providing national perspectives on fish habitat condition.

The Assessment will: provide information on the relative condition of aquatic systems; identify both intact and degraded aquatic habitats; clearly define key disturbance or stress factors; and illustrate the scope and effectiveness of habitat conservation activities overtime. The results of the Assessment will be a key tool for both the Board and Partnerships to achieve the vision (side box) outlined in the National Fish Habitat Action Plan. In addition to providing access to assessment products, the data system supporting the Assessment will ultimately serve as a repository for both the Board’s and Partnerships’ assessment input data, detailed geospatial results from the Board’s and Partnerships’ assessment analyses, and Partnership conservation project descriptions, making these data readily available to Partnerships and other stakeholders for further use and analysis.


The marine (estuaries, nearshore, and offshore) portion of the assessment has several goals:

  • Catalog FHP assessments completed or underway
  • Improve analytical basis of marine assessments to inland standards by incorporating all available fish and shellfish data and stress or relationships and addressing additional gaps
  • Incorporate additional spatial framework information for estuaries in Alaska
  • Incorporate additional spatial framework information for estuaries and nearshore-marine habitats in Hawaii
  • Develop an initial assessment of nearshore-marine habitats
  • Develop an initial assessment of offshore-marine habitats
  • Determine how to incorporate process data using FHP demonstration projects
  • Add socioeconomic data to spatial framework
  • Incorporate available fisheries management and FHP objectives into the spatial framework
  • Develop inland-marine system scoring linkages
  • Incorporate the final Great Lakes assessment into overall assessment

Poster—A Standardized Framework to Assess the Condition and Stresses of Estuary Ecosystems at Regional Scales: A Case Study of the Northern Gulf of Mexico

September 2013 Marine Assessment Update

To access NFHP Assessment Data, visit this site: