Wading through the science: New resource library now availble for natural resources managers relating water quality, agriculture and climate change science

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Deep roots of native prairie plants in agricultural buffer strips can improve water quality. Credit: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Funded by the NE CSC in 2012, the first stakeholder-directed research project is completed.  Researchers with U.S. Geological Survey Water Science Centers in Iowa, Kansas and Massachusetts collaborated to conduct a comprehensive literature search of both published and ongoing research (2000-present) that sheds light on the interactions between climate change, agriculture and water quality across the combined geographies of the Eastern Tallgrass Prairie and Big Rivers LCC and neighboring Upper Midwest and Great Lakes LCC. Project investigators compiled the information in a resource library by geographic location, providing an organized structure for future examination of all research related to interactions between climate change, agriculture and water quality in these two regions.  Through cooperation with the Center for Integrated Data Analytics (CIDA), a searchable format geared toward the general end-user may be generated. 

--> View Project Page and link to database

 

Full story from Eastern Tallgrass Prairie and Big Rivers LCC:

Shifting temperature and precipitation trends coupled with changing agricultural practices have the potential to influence water quality across broad geographies, from America’s cornbelt to the farming communities of the Great Lakes. Researchers with U.S. Geological Survey, a strong partner in landscape conservation efforts, have recognized the overwhelming volume of scientific research that pinpoints some of the interactions among climate change, agriculture and water quality across communities where farming is a strong social, economic and cultural influence.

In order to make sense out of the vast amount of both published and ongoing research relating these topics, researchers have developed a comprehensive resource library that provides natural resources managers with a searchable database.

“This new resource will provide natural resources managers with the science that currently exists related or applicable to their own conservation and management work,” said Kasey Hutchinson, project investigator and hydrologist with U.S. Geological Survey.  “It’s also a great tool for identifying potential partners and collaborators that have the skills or toolsets that can help achieve shared conservation objectives.”

The resource library provides the scientific foundation for future conservation and management decisions that impact fish, wildlife, habitat and people.

“The challenge for the farmer who is interested in sustainable farming, or the biologist trying to improve habitat for fishes in freshwater streams, is being able to base decisions on scientifically sound research. There is so much out there, it’s a challenge just to stay informed on the latest developments and recommendations,” said Glen Salmon, coordinator for the Eastern Tallgrass Prairie and Big Rivers Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC). “This new resource library is going to help scientists and conservation professionals gain access to the best available information that is out there, and apply that science on-the-ground.”

The resources library is searchable and includes all relevant research focusing on Midwestern geographies from the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes to the agriculturally-dominated communities that stretch from Ohio to Kansas and include portions of Iowa and the Dakotas. This geography reflects the areas of interest of the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes LCC and Eastern Tallgrass Prairie and Big Rivers LCC.

U.S. Geological Survey Water Science Centers in Iowa, Kansas and Massachusettes completed this project in summer 2013 with the guidance and support of the Northeast Climate Science Center, Eastern Tallgrass Prairie and Big Rivers LCC and Upper Midwest and Great Lakes LCC. These entities are dedicated to addressing broad-scale natural resources challenges across the Midwest by providing land and water managers with the tools necessary for strategic conservation.

--> View Project Page and link to database