• This April 17, 2014 photo provided by the U.S. Forest Service shows Michael K. Schwartz in the process of filtering 5 liters of water to concentrate DNA on a filter to be analyzed at the National Genomics Center for Wildlife and Fish Conservation, on Rattlesnake Creek near Missoula, Mont. Scientists are aiming to create a biodiversity map that identifies thousands of aquatic species in every river and stream in the western United States. They say that by next summer, the first Aquatic Environmental DNA Atlas will be available to the public. (Kellie Carim/U.S. Forest Service via AP)

    This April 17, 2014 photo provided by the U.S. Forest Service shows Michael K. Schwartz in the process of filtering 5 liters of water to concentrate DNA on a filter to be analyzed at the National Genomics Center for Wildlife and Fish Conservation, on ... Rattlesnake Creek near Missoula, Mont. Scientists are aiming to create a biodiversity map that identifies thousands of aquatic species in every river and stream in the western United States. They say that by next summer, the first Aquatic Environmental DNA Atlas will be available to the public. (Kellie Carim/U.S. Forest Service via AP) (The Associated Press)

  • This April 17, 2014 photo provided by the U.S. Forest Service shows Dr. Kellie Carim collecting DNA to be brought to the National Genomics Center for Wildlife and Fish Conservation to look for both threatened bull trout and detect if invasive brook trout are present in the stream on Rattlesnake Creek, Missoula, Mont. Scientists are aiming to create a biodiversity map that identifies thousands of aquatic species in every river and stream in the western United States. They say that by next summer, the first Aquatic Environmental DNA Atlas will be available to the public. (Michael K. Schwartz/U.S. Forest Service via AP)

    This April 17, 2014 photo provided by the U.S. Forest Service shows Dr. Kellie Carim collecting DNA to be brought to the National Genomics Center for Wildlife and Fish Conservation to look for both threatened bull trout and detect if invasive brook ... trout are present in the stream on Rattlesnake Creek, Missoula, Mont. Scientists are aiming to create a biodiversity map that identifies thousands of aquatic species in every river and stream in the western United States. They say that by next summer, the first Aquatic Environmental DNA Atlas will be available to the public. (Michael K. Schwartz/U.S. Forest Service via AP) (The Associated Press)

Scientists go big with first aquatic species map for US West

Features Associated Press

It sounds like a big fish story: a plan to create a biodiversity map identifying thousands of aquatic species in every river and stream in the western U.S.

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But scientists say the first Aquatic Environmental DNA Atlas will be available to the public by next summer.

Dan Isaak, with the U.S. Forest Service in Idaho, says the map could help with land management decisions, such as where to spend limited money and resources.

The map eventually will include everything from insects to fish to river otters. It is possible because of a new technology that can identify stream inhabitants by analyzing water samples containing DNA.

Isaak says the immense scale of the sample collecting likely will require help from many entities, including citizen scientists.