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Using GAP Data in State Comprehensive Wildlife Management Plans

Published Feb 8, 2011

In exchange for the funding they received through state wildlife grants in 2005, state wildlife programs were required to create Comprehensive State Wildlife Conservation Strategies. Land cover and vertebrate data available from the USGS Gap Analysis Program (GAP) were a useful component in developing three of the eight elements required for these plans.

This factsheet describes how Gap Analysis data helped states address crucial SWAP plan elements.

Download: Using GAP Data in State Comprehensive Wildlife Management Plans  factsheet (PDF, 430kb)

USGS GAP Bulletin 18 (2010)

Published Jan 27, 2011

GAP Bulletin 18 covers program activity and features for 2010.   Download the entire Bulletin 18 (5.3mb, PDF), or individual articles:

GAP Program Reports

Executive Summary
Kevin Gergely

GAP National Land Cover Data: Recent Developments
Anne Davidson

GAP Stewardship Program Goals and Protected Areas Database of the United States (PAD-US) Updates
Lisa Duarte

Mapping Species Ranges and Distribution Models across the United States
Jocelyn Aycrigg, Gary Beauvais, Tracey Gotthardt, Ken Boykin, Steve Williams, Steve Lennartz, K.T. Vierling, S. Martinuzzi, and L.A. Vierling


Using Gap Analysis of Long-term Biodiversity Protection to Inform Conservation Priorities: The Five Valleys Land Trust
Lisa Duarte

Modeling Vegetation Dynamics and Habitat Availability in the Southeastern U.S. Using GAP Data
Jen Costanza, Todd Earnhardt, Adam Terando, and Alexa McKerrow

Aquatic GAP Program Update
Andrea Ostroff

GAP Data Go Mainstream: Recent Applications of GAP Data
Jill Maxwell

Gap Analysis of Ecological Systems Nationwide
Jocelyn L. Aycrigg, Anne Davidson, Leona Svancara, Kevin J. Gergely, Alexa McKerrow, and J. Michael Scott

Project Reports

US Virgin Islands Gap Analysis Project
William A. Gould, Mariano Solórzano, Gary Potts, and Jessica Castro


Published Dec 15, 2010

The Iowa Aquatic Gap Analysis Project (IAGAP) began in 2001 to identify areas in the state where fish species richness lacked adequate protection under existing land ownership and management regimes.  Another main goal of the project was to create fish prediction data for Iowa streams and rivers.

Datasets created:

To accomplish these goals, the Iowa GAP team prepared an assortment of datasets that led to the creation of three main datasets:

  • Iowa streams and rivers
  • Iowa fish habitat models for 157 species
  • Iowa land stewardship (ownership and management)

For more information about Iowa’s Aquatic Gap Program, please visit their website.

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Published Dec 14, 2010

The mission of the Kansas Aquatic Gap Project is to map aquatic biodiversity in Kansas and link it to habitat characteristics.  This will allow determination of local species of concern.  Kansas Gap is also part of a larger group that is describing the biodiversity of the Missouri River Basin.  We hope to establish the presence of ecoregions, and provide products that will allow management of species of concern on a regional basis.  Finally, we will make our aquatic data compatable with Kansas terrestrial Gap.


The following objectives will assist in characterization of biodiversity of aquatic habitats of Kansas:

  • Define ranges all fish and mussel species within ecologically-distinct drainage basins using data compiled from known records
  • Determine species richness by valley segments within these drainage basins.
  • Define habitat affinities for each species by valley segment characteristics.
  • Predict occurrence of each species to areas where collections have not occurred by extrapolation from habitat affinities.

We will use methods developed by the Missouri Aquatic GAP pilot project.  Our data will be in a format compatable with that of surrounding states.

For more information about the Kansas Aquatic Gap Program, please visit their website.


Published Dec 13, 2010

The State of Michigan and most of its boundaries are defined by water. The Great Lakes cover approximately 40 percent of the state’s nearly 97,000 square miles of official surface area, and within state borders there are approximately 35,000 ponds and inland lakes and more than 36,000 miles of rivers and streams. Michigan has 3,200 miles of Great Lakes shoreline with Lakes Michigan, Huron and Erie.

Over the past 175 years, significant changes have occurred in many of Michigan’s recreationally and commercially important fish populations. These changes have been largely due to the activities of humans. Four main categories of human disruption have occurred within the Great Lakes basin that have affected Michigan’s fisheries:
1. Increased fishing pressure, both commercial and recreational.
2. Intentional and accidental introductions of exotic species.
3. Changes in the land use patterns around the tributaries of the Great Lakes.
4. Physical and chemical changes in the environment caused by changing land use patterns, dams, effluents and atmospheric deposition of contaminants resulting from urban, agricultural and industrial development.

The goal of the Great Lakes Aquatic Gap Program is to map the species distributions and diversity of fish and other aquatic species and their habitats and to identify gaps in the conservation of these species.

For more information about the Michigan Aquatic Gap Program and its contributions to the Great Lakes Aquatic Gap Program, please visit the Michigan Aquatic Gap website.


Published Dec 12, 2010


  • The principal goal of the Missouri Aquatic Gap pilot project was to identify riverine species, habitats, and ecosystems and species not adequately represented (i.e., gaps) in the matrix of conservation lands in Missouri.
  • Provide spatially explicit data that could be used by natural resource professionals, legislators, and the public to make more informed decisions for prioritizing opportunities to fill these conservation gaps and to devise strategic approaches for developing effective long-term biodiversity conservation plans.
  • As a pilot project for a national program, we also had the goal of developing a broadly applicable gap analysis methodology. We addressed this goal by ensuring that we utilized nationally standardized and available geospatial data wherever possible and also by devising a flexible conservation assessment methodology, which can accommodate the differences in data availability (e.g., biological) that exists among states across the United States.

The Missouri Resource Assessment Partnership (MoRAP) is also collaborating with the states of Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota to complete a gap analysis of riverine biodiversity for the entire Missouri River Basin.

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Published Dec 11, 2010

The Ohio Aquatic GAP (OH-GAP) is a pilot project that is applying the GAP concept to aquatic—specifically, riverine—data.


The mission of GAP is to provide regional assessments of the conservation status of native animal species and to facilitate the application of this information to land-management activities. OH-GAP accomplished this through

  • mapping aquatic habitat types,
  • mapping the predicted distributions of fish, crayfish, and bivalves,
  • documenting the presence of aquatic species in areas managed for conservation,
  • providing GAP results to the public, planners, managers, policy makers, and researchers, and
  • building cooperation with multiple organizations to apply GAP results to state and regional management activities.

Gap analysis was conducted for the continuously flowing streams in Ohio. Lakes, reservoirs, wetlands, and the Lake Erie islands were not included in this analysis. The streams in Ohio are in the Lake Erie and Ohio River watersheds and pass through six of the level III ecoregions defined by Omernik(1987): the Eastern Corn Belt Plains, Southern Michigan/Northern Indiana Drift Plains, Huron/Erie Lake Plain, Erie Drift Plains, Interior Plateau, and the Western Allegheny Plateau.

For more information about Ohio’s Aquatic Gap Program, please visit their website.

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South Dakota

Published Dec 10, 2010

South Dakota began work on the aquatic portion of their gap analysis project during the summer of 2000. The following objectives must be completed to evaluate aquatic ecosystems in South Dakota:

  • Define range extents for all fish species within 11-digit hydrologic units occurring in South Dakota based on collection data.
  • Determine species richness by 11-digit hydrologic units.
  • Define habitat affinities for each fish species in South Dakota from literature review and collection sites.
  • Predict occurrences of each fish species in river reaches by similarity of stream properties to habitat affinities and collection sites.
  • Determine protection offered each fish species by hydrologic unit and river reach using stewardship layer previously created for SD-GAP.

To accomplish these objectives, we are following methods developed by Missouri GAP for a pilot Aquatic GAP project. This prototype focuses mainly on rivers. Lakes are included only if they have both an inlet and outlet stream, but fish species within a particular lake are not included.

For more information about the South Dakota Aquatic Gap Program, please visit their website.


Published Dec 9, 2010

A Great Lakes Aquatic GAP is being conducted for riverine systems in Wisconsin. The USGS is working with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WNDR) and other cooperators to develop an ecological stream classification for Wisconsin streams and develop a database for fish species distributions and community data. The ecological stream classification is being developed based on physical characteristics that describe stream geology, geomorphology, temperature, and flow using a valley segment classification approach.

For more information about the Wisconsin Aquatic Gap Program, please visit their website.