Decision-support for headwater stream habitats
Coldwater stream habitats are at risk from climate change, but management actions, such as removing barriers to passage and restoring riparian forest canopies, can in some cases help to ameliorate negative impacts. Our overall goal is to devise and implement decision-support tools to help managers make climate-appropriate management choices. We are currently working on several different approaches to this problem. First, we are working to improve stream temperature predictions and incorporate stream thermal resilience into models for prioritizing barrier removal. Second, we are using remotely-sensed data on riparian forest cover in combination with temperature vulnerability models to help managers target appropriate areas for riparian restoration. To make the results of both of these efforts readily available to the management community, we have developed a website which incorporates these and other decision-support tools. Finally, we are asking basic questions about how, given the availability of these tools and information, will land managers work together across jurisdicational and geographical boundaries to effectively manage these resources at landscape scales.
We have contributed to implementation of decision-support tools for identifying and prioritizing coldwater habitats and associated management actions in two platforms: 1. The Appalachian LCC Conservation Design web portal along with a Final Project Report and 2. The USGS-Conte AFRC/UMASS-ECO SHEDS decision-support website.
This work allows land managers to prioritize efforts and value them in the context of climate change adaptation amd facilitates management at landscape scales.