Final Report- Incorporating Social Drivers to Optimize Conservation Practices that Address Gulf Hypoxia and Declining Wildlife Populations Impacted by Extreme Climate Events

TitleFinal Report- Incorporating Social Drivers to Optimize Conservation Practices that Address Gulf Hypoxia and Declining Wildlife Populations Impacted by Extreme Climate Events
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsWaide, Jack B., Fox Timothy, Rohweder Jason J., Babbar-Sebens Meghna, Prokopy Linda S., de Jalon Silvestre, Singh Ajay, and White Gwen
Date Published05-Jun-2018
Keywordsagriculture, erosion, Gulf Hypoxia, Run-off, Sediment
Abstract

With leadership and coordination provided by the Eastern Tallgrass Prairie and Big Rivers (ETGPBR) Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC), US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs), which collectively span the geographic extent of the Mississippi River Basin (MRB) (see https://lccnetwork.org/), have identified high nutrient runoff (a major contributor to Gulf of Mexico hypoxia), and declines in wildlife populations (especially grassland and riparian bird species), as major conservation challenges requiring collaborative action. This project focused on development and application of spatial decision support systems (DSSs), coupled with surveys of agricultural producers, to assist the LCC community and partner resource management agencies across the MRB in addressing these issues. The DSSs were designed to identify watersheds within the MRB, where application of select conservation practices can reduce nutrient export to the Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone and enhance habitat and conservation for grassland and riparian bird species, based on understanding perspectives of agricultural producers who are willing and capable of effectively implementing these practices. The DSSs were intended to be used to identify appropriate conservation practices that could be implemented on the landscape, and to quantify resulting benefits for both reduced nutrient export and improved habitat for focal avian species. Informed by results and interpretations of surveys of agricultural producers in targeted watersheds, the application of the DSSs also benefitted from assessments of whether/how producer willingness to implement select conservation practices might be altered by perceptions of future climate change and extremes.

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