The Mississippi River Basin / Gulf Hypoxia Initiative (MRB/GHI), spearheaded by seven LCCs, is undertaking a strategic and transparent process to create an integrated framework that supports planning, design, configuration, and delivery of wildlife conservation practices within the watershed. This framework consists of multiple quantitative objectives representing three interests (i.e., wildlife, water quality, agriculture), a tiered set of conservation strategies to achieve those objectives within five production agriculture systems (i.e., corn & soybean; grazing lands; floodplain forest; rice; cotton), and a modeling approach to determine where to best implement those actions within four key ecological systems of the Mississippi River Basin (i.e., headwater row crop fields; upland prairies; mid-sized riparian streams; mainstem floodplains).
The initiative plans to use this framework to address collaborative needs that will enhance organizational capacity, avoid duplication of effort, streamline prioritization, and align the work of agencies and organizations across multiple scales. This effort is intended to be complementary to related on-going efforts, like the Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force, Mississippi River Basin Initiative, and state nutrient reduction initiatives, but with an added emphasis on the ecological and social values of wildlife habitat.Additional scenario planning for landscape change could provide forecast and adaptation strategies over a range of time scales across key portions of this landscape in response to ecological or economic drivers.
The report detailing the development and organization of the Conservation Blueprint that forms the spatial analysis component of the Mississippi River Basin/Gulf Hypoxia Initiative is available on the Mississippi River Basin/Gulf Hypoxia Initiative Precision Conservation Blueprint website. This site also contains a user guide with specific guidance on how to access and utilize the Blueprint using the Data Basin and Science Base web services as well as a data dictionary for the Conservation Blueprint report, which details sources and types of data compiled for the Blueprint’s 200+ GIS layers.