Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership
The Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership (SARP) was initiated in 2001 to address the myriad issues related to the management of aquatic resources in the southeastern United States, which includes about 26,000 miles of species-rich aquatic shoreline and over 70 major river basins. The area faces significant threats to its aquatic resources, as illustrated by the fact that 34% of North American fish species and 90% of the native mussel species designated as endangered, threatened, or of special concern are found in the Southeast.
Given these stark realities, and the predicted increased pressure on Southeast aquatic resources in the future, SARP was established to protect, conserve, and restore aquatic resources (including habitats) throughout the Southeast, for the continuing benefit, use, and enjoyment of the American people. SARP envisions a southeastern United States with healthy and diverse aquatic ecosystems that support sustainable public use. Relationships have developed between State and Federal agencies, private organizations, conservation groups, and other stakeholders that extend beyond the traditional boundaries of aquatic resource management and establish a commitment to truly work together for the benefit of the resource.
Since its establishment, SARP has conducted a number of successful projects. For example, SARP and the Nature Conservancy produced aquatic habitat plans for four priority watersheds in the Southeast Region which laid the groundwork for the Southeast Aquatic Habitat Plan. Aquatic Nuisance Species Management Plans are currently under development in all SARP states, and all of the SARP member states are using educational and physical methods to prevent introductions and/or spread of invasive species. Partners are building a GIS referenced aquatic habitat database and condition assessment tool to track habitat conditions over time, view conservation projects, and assess results on a local and regional scale. SARP contributed to the development of a community guide for aquatic species restoration and a report on the economic values of habitat protection. In addition, SARP and USGS sponsored a 2006 workshop to gather and consolidate the latest information on distribution and population status of threatened and endangered aquatic species in 8 southeastern states.