NE CASC affiliated investigator Jack Waide, USGS, completes project focused on development and application of spatial decision support systems to assist the Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) community and partner resource management agencies across the Mississippi River Basin in addressing Gulf hypoxia. Completed in coordination with the Eastern Tallgrass Prairie and Big Rivers LCC, and other US Fish and Wildlife Service LCCs which collectively span the geographic extent of the Mississippi River Basin.
• Agricultural producers are more willing to adopt conservation practices that improve soil health and prevent erosion, than practices that enhance other conservation priorities;
• The mean weight for reducing soil erosion was higher than for other criteria, indicating that on average, interviewees give more weight to reducing soil erosion when making decisions on practice adoption than to other decision criteria;
• Producers are willing to increase adoption of conservation practices which are already adopted widely in the watershed and which help prevent erosion (e.g.., grass waterways);
• Reducing soil erosion and nutrient loss are more highly weighted by producers than decreasing risks of climate change or increasing biodiversity (wildlife) when making decisions about adopting conservation practices;
• Many of the practices that agricultural producers would increase are practices that interviewees were already willing to adopt; some of these could also decrease or stay the same. This indicates that climate change may not be a motivator for adoption of conservation practices; and
• Results imply that if interviewees are thinking of using conservation practices to address environmental issues (e.g.., water quality), the fact that some practices have more concrete disadvantages may weigh more heavily than abstract benefits.
Written by Communications Intern Mike Crowley