Incorporating social drivers to optimize conservation practices that address Gulf Hypoxia and declining wildlife populations impacted by extreme climate events
USFWS Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) throughout the Mississippi River Basin (MRB) have identified high nutrient runoff, a major contributor to Gulf hypoxia, and declines in wildlife populations (especially grassland and riparian birds), as conservation challenges requiring collaborative action. This project developed a spatial decision support system (DSS) to address these issues. The DSS was designed to identify MRB watersheds where application of conservation practices can (1) reduce nutrient export to the Gulf hypoxia zone and (2) enhance conservation for grassland and riparian birds, based on (3) identifying landowners willing and capable of implementing these practices. The DSS identified appropriate conservation practices to be implemented, and quantified resulting benefits for both nutrient export and bird habitat. The DSS also enabled analyses of whether landowner willingness to implement desired practices was affected by perceptions of climate extremes. This project was supported and included contributions from LCCs and agencies throughout the MRB, including federal and state resource management agencies and universities. The project, a pilot for a larger future effort, seeks to move current conservation approaches to a more strategic level, by identifying where to locate projects in critical watersheds for the greatest overall conservation benefit. (Joint project with the South Central CASC)
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- Singh, Ajay, Belyna Bentlage, Meghna Babbar-Sebens, and Linda Prokopy. Ag producers' motivations for adopting conservation practices. Annual Meeting of the American Fisheries Society, August 2016, Kansa City, MO.
- Fox, T., Rohweder, J., Waide, J., Babbar-Sebens, M., Prokopy, L., White, G., Incorporating social drivers to optimize conservation practices that address Gulf Hypoxia and declining wildlife populations impacted by extreme climate events. 75th Midwest Fish & Wildlife Conference, February 2015, Indianapolis, IN.