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

Fiscal Year: 
FY'14
Project Leader: 
Research Partners: 
Timothy J. Fox (UMESC Geospatial Sciences Branch); Jason J. Rohweder (UMESC Geospatial Sciences Branch); Meghna Babbar-Sebens (Oregon State University School of Civil and Construction Engineering); Linda S. Prokopy (Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources); Gwen White (Eastern Tallgrass Prairie & Big Rivers LCC)
Status: 
Ongoing
Science Themes: 

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 will develop a spatial decision support system (DSS) to address these issues. The DSS will be 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 will identify appropriate conservation practices to be implemented, and quantify resulting benefits for both nutrient export and bird habitat. The DSS will also enable analyses of whether landowner willingness to implement desired practices is affected by perceptions of climate extremes. This project has support and includes 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 CSC)

Presentations: 
  • Timothy Fox, Jason Rohweder, Jack Waide, Meghna Babbar-Sebens, Linda Prokopy, and Gwen White.  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.