Park Completes Comprehensive Stream Mapping Project
Great Smoky Mountains National Park geographic information
system specialists and scientists in collaboration with
scientists from Tennessee, North Carolina, and the United States
Geological Survey (USGS), completed a three-year stream mapping
project. Park scientists used a combination of aircraft-mounted
scanners and a Global Positioning System verification system to
re-inventory streams throughout the park.
Using this modern mapping technology, scientists determined the park contains 2,900 miles of streams. Of these, 1,073 miles of streams are large enough to support fish. Previously, using topographic maps, the scientists estimated there to be approximately 2,000 miles of streams in the park. A water features is considered a stream if it exhibits the hydrologic, geomorphologic, and biologic characteristics of moving water at least part of the year.
Working with the USGS, the park incorporated the new stream data into the National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) which allows the researchers and the public real-time access to detailed information about streams across the nation. Park staff and research partners rely heavily upon the accurate information in the NHD to manage park water quality and aquatic ecosystem health. The NHD data is accessible via The National Map at http://viewer.nationalmap.gov/viewer/ and re-mapped streams within the park can be seen at http://www.nps.gov/npmap/park-tiles/#10/35.6032/-83.4659.
For more information about aquatic resources in the park, please visit the park’s website at http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/aquaticworld.htm.