U.S. Geological Survey, National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center funded project: “Managing the Nation Fish Habitat at Multiple Spatial Scales in a Rapidly Changing Climate.”
To effectively plan for changes in climate and land use that may affect aquatic habitats and the organisms they support, managers require the ability to identify which habitats may change with climate as well as insights into specifically how they might change. To address these needs, my lab is involved in two efforts occurring over different spatial scales. First, we’re developing a nationally-consistent characterization of stream reach vulnerability to climate and land use changes (preliminary results shown in Figure 2), and second, we’re constructing flow and temperature models for all streams in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota to explicitly show how changes in fish species’ distributions may result from altered habitat resulting from future conditions. This work is part of a larger effort incorporating other regional assessments from across the country, and more details on this work and our team members can be found at: http://fishhabclimate.org. Here is the recorded webinar of the project: Fish Habitat and Climate Change: A Coarse Scale National Assessment with Finer Scale Assessment of Midwestern Streams and Lakes
U.S. Department of the Interior, Northeast Climate Science Center funded project: “A Stream Temperature Inventory Network and Decision Support Metadata Mapper – Evaluating the resources to Understanding Climate Change effects on streams in New England and the Great Lakes States.”
The NorEaST web portal was developed to serve as a coordinated, multi-agency regional framework to map and store continuous stream temperature locations and data for New England, Mid Atlantic, and Great Lakes States. Stream temperature monitoring locations and metadata can be viewed for nearly 7900 monitoring locations across 22 states, contributed by 41 different organizations. The objectives of the project are to 1) Identify common data fields and structures that are state-of-the-art for maintaining water quality data. Using this information, the PIs will build a data template and framework to store incoming stream temperature data, build web services to output these standards, and format select datasets to demonstrate applications of these data, 2) Conduct user testing to engage agencies and other users/data stewards to refine the web portal for data access and management purposes, and 3) Develop and apply models for targeted applications of selected data to demonstrate the utility of large scale, consistent stream temperature data in decision making. The Beta version of the portal is available here: http://wim.usgs.gov/NorEaST/
U.S. Geological Survey, National Gap Analysis Program funded project: “Aquatic GAP Program: Developing data and approaches to support conservation of aquatic ecosystems across the Nation.”
Developing a decision support process to aid in conservation of aquatic habitats throughout the Main Hawaiian Islands: Prioritizing conservation lands throughout the main Hawaiian Islands
Effective conservation often requires stakeholders to consider trade-offs between current condition of ecosystems, their future condition, and economic feasibility of implementing actions to enhance condition or minimize threats . While localized knowledge of ecosystems is essential for identifying conservation needs, quantitative analyses allow for assessment of multiple natural and anthropogenic factors simultaneously, especially over large areas, providing new insights that may compliment local knowledge. The goal of our project was to apply a spatially-explicit process to identify landscapes with high conservation potential throughout the five Main Hawaiian islands with emphasis on freshwater ecosystems. We used Marxan for this effort and identified priority conservation areas based on three factors: potential distributions of stream organisms located throughout fluvial habitats, risk of degradation to fluvial habitats resulting from anthropogenic land uses, and connectivity among areas with high biodiversity and low risk of degradation. We also assessed how locations of current reserve lands could aid in efforts to connect priority areas to maximize effectiveness of conservation actions. . Finally, we conducted a post-analysis to examine the spatial relationships between government owned lands, priority catchments and rivers as identified by the Hawaii Fish Habitat Partnership and the Pacific Island Fisheries and Wildlife Office, and the priority areas identified by Marxan. The Initial results of Marxan indicated that high priority conservation areas exist on all five main Hawaiian Islands. The post-analysis shows a high level of overlap between priority landscapes identified by Marxan with those identified by stakeholders. However, stakeholder-identified landscapes commonly are much smaller in size than high priority conservation landscapes identified by Marxan. We anticipate using results of this research with projected climate data to identify areas that will likely remain high priority in the future, creating a template for the proactive management of the freshwater ecosystems of Hawaii.