Project

We used a Bayesian hierarchical modeling framework to evaluate land cover and climate relationships with abundance of avian species with varying habitat requirements across the Midwestern U.S. based on North American Breeding Bird Survey data.  We then linked these models to landscape change and climate models to evaluate potential long-term impacts on birds and evaluate proposed conservation activities to mitigate negative impacts associated with climate change. This research predicted large scale patterns in bird abundance for conservation planning

Project

The purpose of the project was to conduct an extensive search for both published and ongoing research that, in general, deals with climate change and agriculture in a water quality context for the Eastern Tallgrass Prairie and Big Rivers Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) and Upper Midwest and Great Lakes LCC. The search was two-fold; one portion of the search dealt with an on-line literature search for published peer-reviewed articles for the time period of 2000 (sometimes slightly earlier depending on the relative degree of the publication’s relevance to the topic) to present. The other portion of the search dealt with contacting USGS Water Science Centers and state institutions requesting information on current research projects dealing with this topic that have not yet been published or are currently in publication, and response to these requests has been varied

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Illinois cornfield - Credit: Jeff Sharp
Project

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

Project

Recent extreme floods on the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers have motivated expansion of floodplain conservation lands. Within Missouri there are more than 85,000 acres of public conservation lands in large-river floodplains. Floodplain lands are highly dynamic and challenging to manage, particularly as future climatic conditions may be highly variable. These lands have the potential to provide valuable ecosystem services like provision of habitat, nutrient processing, carbon sequestration, and flood-water storage that produce economic values in terms of recreational spending, improved water quality, and decreased flood hazards. However, floodplain managers may need tools to help them understand nonstationary conditions on conservation lands. This project worked with floodplain managers to identify the information most needed to understand nonstationary conditions, and to develop tools they can apply to conservation lands to improve decision making

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Example floodplain inundation maps
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