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Description: The upper Gila River in New Mexico is one of the few unobstructed rivers in the Colorado River Basin with largely intact native fish populations, including four federally listed and one state listed species.Freshwater systems throughout the West continue to be threatened by human encroachment and water development. Methodologies or decision support tools to evaluate resource management practices that foster an understanding of how fish species adapt to the effects of climate change are critical to future resource management planning.
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The Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) of the north-central U.S. and south-central Canada contains millions of small prairie wetlands that provide critical habitat to many migrating and breeding waterbirds. Due to their small size and the relatively dry climate of the region, these wetlands are considered at high risk for negative climate change effects as temperatures increase. To estimate the potential impacts of climate change on breeding waterbirds, we predicted current and future distributions of species common in the PPR using species distribution models (SDMs). We created regional-scale SDMs for the U.S. PPR using Breeding Bird Survey occurrence records for 1971–2011 and wetland, upland, and climate variables....
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Climate change vulnerability assessments are commonly used to identify species or populations at risk from global climate change, but few translate impact assessments to climate change adaptation actions. Furthermore, most climate change adaptation efforts emphasize where to implement management actions, whereas timing remains largely overlooked. The rate of modern climate change introduces urgency in evaluating whether delaying conservation actions compromises their efficacy for reaching important conservation targets. We evaluated the importance of multiple climate change adaptation strategies including timing of actions on preventing extinctions for a threatened climate-sensitive species, the Eastern Massasauga...
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Habitat loss and fragmentation are widely recognized as among the most important threats to global biodiversity. New analytical approaches are providing improved ability to predict the effects of landscape change on population connectivity at vast spatial extents. This paper presents an analysis of population connectivity for three species of conservation concern [swift fox (Vulpes velox); lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus); massasuaga (Sistrurus catenatus)] across the American Great Plains region. We used factorial least-cost path and resistant kernel analyses to predict effects of landscape conditions on corridor network connectivity. Our predictions of population connectivity provide testable...
Categories: Data, Project, Publication; Types: Citation, Map Service, OGC WFS Layer, OGC WMS Layer, OGC WMS Service; Tags: 2010, CO-01, CO-02, CO-03, CO-04, All tags...
Land managers in the Great Basin are working to maintain or restore sagebrush ecosystems as climate change exacerbates existing threats. Web applications delivering climate change and climate impacts information have the potential to assist their efforts. Although many web applications containing climate information currently exist, few have been co-produced with land managers or have incorporated information specifically focused on land managers’ needs. Through surveys and interviews, we gathered detailed feedback from federal, state, and tribal sagebrush land managers in the Great Basin on climate information web applications targeting land management. We found that a) managers are searching for weather and climate...
Conservation Biology Institute (CBI) has been developing web applications to centralize and serve credible and usable information that allows natural resource managers, as well as the general public, to better understand the challenges posed by on-going environmental change. In particular CBI has designed a series of climate consoles that provide natural resource managers the most recent 5th Climate Model Intercomparison Program (CMIP5) climate projections, landscape intactness, and soil sensitivity for a series of reporting units over the western United States. The publically available web sites were refined based on feedback from a variety of users. In this paper, we describe each of the tools developed as open-source...
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Streams across the world are highly fragmented due to the presence of in-stream barriers (e.g., dams and stream-road crossings), many of which restrict or block fish passage. Retrofitting or replacing these structures is a high priority for restoring habitat connectivity for native fishes and other aquatic organisms in the Pacific Northwest. The task of restoring habitat connectivity for problematic stream-road crossings is daunting given the many thousands of barriers that are present and the massive financial investments required. Further, the potential risks to road infrastructure from flooding, debris flows, and climate change will need to be addressed to ensure the best allocation of resources. In this study,...
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In practice, there are a number of challenges associated with formal consideration of the environment in water planning in large parts of the Desert LCC region. In Arizona, for example, there is no legal requirement to include the environment in water management or planning efforts (Megdal et al. 201 0). Therefore, there is little incentive to develop the additional tools and resources required to include the environment as a water demand sector. Appropriate inclusion of the environment into water planning requires conducting planning at a scale and geography that matches regional hydrology rather than political boundaries. Therefore, without explicit policy guidance from state government, regional stakeholders...
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Conservation planning aims to optimize outcomes for select species or ecosystems by directing resources toward high-return sites. The possibility that local benefits might be increased by directing resources beyond the focal area is rarely considered. We present a case study of restoring river connectivity for migratory fish of the Great Lakes Basin by removing dams and road crossings within municipal jurisdictions versus their broader watersheds. We found that greater river connectivity could often be achieved by considering both intra-jurisdictional and extra-jurisdictional barriers. Focusing on jurisdictional barriers alone generally forfeited <20 (median = 0%) of habitat gains for those who value solely habitat...
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The habitats and food resources required to support breeding and migrant birds dependent on North American prairie wetlands are threatened by impending climate change. The North American Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) hosts nearly 120 species of wetland-dependent birds representing 21 families. Strategic management requires knowledge of avian habitat requirements and assessment of species most vulnerable to future threats. We applied bioclimatic species distribution models (SDMs) to project range changes of 29 wetland-dependent bird species using ensemble modeling techniques, a large number of General Circulation Models (GCMs), and hydrological climate covariates. For the U.S. PPR, mean projected range change, expressed...
Alternative fuels for the transport sector are gaining growing attention as a means against fossil fuel dependence and towards greener forms of energy. At the same time, however, they are surrounded with doubts concerning sustainability of their production. This work presents the basic framework for a decision support tool to evaluate biofuel production pathways, with the purpose of providing the decision maker with a structured methodology that will lead him to the final decision. The tool integrates the most important aspects along the entire value chain (i.e. from biomass production to biofuel end-use), namely the technical, economic, environmental and social aspect. The tool consists of a computational part,...
This paper presents the rudiments of a Wind Prospecting Tool designed to inform private and public decision makers involved in wind industry development in reducing transaction costs associated with identifying areas of mutual focus within a state. The multiple layer decision support framework has proven to be valuable to industry, state government and local decision makers. Information on wind resources, land availability, potential land costs, potential NIMBYism concerns and economic development potential were integrated to develop a framework for decision support. The paper also highlights implications for decision support research and the role of higher education in providing anticipatory science to enhance...
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Sky Island Alliance (SIA) is a non-governmental organizational that works to protect and restore the rich natural heritage of native species and habitats in the Sky Island Region. We work with volunteers, scientists, land-owners, public officials, and government agencies to establish protected areas, restore healthy landscapes, and promote public appreciation of the region’s unique biological diversity. Because of our long-standing collaborative relationships with land managers and our large corps of skilled volunteers, we were in a unique position to spearhead this project.SIA initiated this springs inventory, assessment and management planning project to develop baseline information on springs in the Sky Island...
Categories: Data, Publication; Types: ArcGIS REST Map Service, Citation, Map Service, OGC WFS Layer, OGC WMS Layer, OGC WMS Service; Tags: 2011, AZ-02, AZ-03, Arizona, Conservation NGOs, All tags...
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Identifying the climatic drivers of an ecological system is a key step in assessing its vulnerability to climate change. Theclimatic dimensions to which a species or system is most sensitive – such as means or extremes – can guide methodologicaldecisions for projections of ecological impacts and vulnerabilities. However, scientific workflows for combining climateprojections with ecological models have received little explicit attention. We review Global Climate Model (GCM)performance along different dimensions of change and compare frameworks for integrating GCM output into ecologicalmodels. In systems sensitive to climatological means, it is straightforward to base ecological impact assessments onmean projected...
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The availability of output from climate model ensembles,such as phases 3 and 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project(CMIP3 and CMIP5), has greatly expanded information about future projections,but there is no accepted blueprint for how this data should be utilized.The multi-model average is themost commonly cited single estimate of future conditions,but higher-order moments representing thevariance and skewness of the distribution of projections provide important information about uncertainty. We have analyzed a set of statistically downscaled climate model projections from the CMIP3 archive to assess extreme weather events at a level aimed to be appropriate for decisionmakers. Our analysis uses the distribution...
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Executive Summary: We provide an analysis of Sonoran Desert water network connectivity to inform managers of current conditions for target wildlife and how the connectivity will change as the landscape becomes more water limited.Climate change is expected to lead to fragmentation of the network, increasing coalescence distance by 8% and reducing the persistence and overall number of waters on the landscape. Identification of key water sites, ranked by network connectivity metrics, are presented in Appendix B. Wetland number under our scenario of water limitation will decline by 43% reducing network resilience.Anurans and Caudates, although varying in ability to disperse, generally experienced reduced connectivity...
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Our goal was to predict road culvert passability, as defined by culvert outlet drop and outlet water velocity, for three fish swimming groups using remotely collected environmental variables that have been shown to influence the passability of road culverts.We generated four boosted regression tree models, one for road culvert outlet drop and one each for the three culvert outlet water velocities, and predicted the probability of impassable road culverts on low-order streams based on the models. Independent variables in the modelsincluded the upstream area draining to the culvert, slope at the culvert, stream segment gradient and stream reach gradient.Gradient of the stream segment was the most important predictor...
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​Abstract: Climate change predictions include warming and drying trends, which are expected to be particularly pronounced in the southwestern United States. In this region, grassland dynamics are tightly linked to available moisture, yet it has proven difficult to resolve what aspects of climate drive vegetation change. In part, this is because it is unclear how heterogeneity in soils affects plant responses to climate. Here, we combine climate and soil properties with a mechanistic soil water model to explain temporal fluctuations in perennial grass cover, quantify where and the degree to which incorporating soil water dynamics enhances our ability to understand temporal patterns, and explore the potential consequences...
Categories: Data, Publication; Types: Citation, Map Service, OGC WFS Layer, OGC WMS Layer, OGC WMS Service; Tags: 2012, AZ-02, AZ-03, AZ-04, Academics & scientific researchers, All tags...
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Sediment accumulation threatens the viability and hydrologic functioning of many naturally formed depressional wetlands across the interior regions of North America. These wetlands provide many ecosystem services and vital habitats for diverse plant and animal communities. Climate change may further impact sediment accumulation rates in the context of current land use patterns. We estimated sediment accretion in wetlands within a region renowned for its large populations of breeding waterfowl and migrant shorebirds and examined the relative roles of precipitation and land use context in the sedimentation process. We modeled rates of sediment accumulation from 1971 through 2100 using the Revised Universal Soil Loss...
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A key challenge in aquatic restoration efforts is documenting locations where ecological connectivity is disrupted in water bodies that are dammed or crossed by roads (road crossings). To prioritize actions aimed at restoring connectivity, we argue that there is a need for systematic inventories of these potential barriers at regional and national scales. Here, we address this limitation for the North American Great Lakes basin by compiling the best available spatial data on the locations of dams and road crossings. Our spatial database documents 38 times as many road crossings as dams in the Great Lakes basin, and case studies indicate that, on average, only 36% of road crossings in the area are fully passable...


map background search result map search result map Climate change and connectivity: Assessing landscape and species vulnerability Where the Stream Meets the Road: Prioritizing Culvert Replacement for Fish Passage - Thesis Report, Inventory and Assessment Protocols, Adaptation Plan, and Presentation for: Springs in the Sky Island Region: Inventory, Assessment, and Management Planning Project Publication and Report: Ecosystem Water Balance in a Desert Grassland Watershed Management Planning Materials and A Demonstration in the Upper Gila River Watershed Quantitative and Predictive Analysis: Landscape Connectivity of Isolated Waters for Wildlife in the Sonoran Desert Science Brief for Resource Managers: Metacommunity Dynamics of Gila River Fishes Publication: Restoring aquatic ecosystem connectivity requires expanding inventories of both dams and road crossings Publication: Predicting road culvert passability for migratory fishes Publication: Local-Scale Benefits of River Connectivity Restoration Planning Beyond Jurisdictional Boundaries Publication: Interpreting climate model projections of extreme weather events Implications of climate change for wetland-dependent birds in the Prairie Potholes Region Vulnerability of Breeding Waterbirds to Climate Change in the Prairie Pothole Region Designing ecological climate change impact assessments to reflect key climatic drivers Sediment Accumulation in Prairie Wetlands under a Changing Climate: the Relative Roles of Landscape and Precipitation Publication: Delaying conservation actions matters for species vulnerable to climate change Where the Stream Meets the Road: Prioritizing Culvert Replacement for Fish Passage - Thesis Report, Inventory and Assessment Protocols, Adaptation Plan, and Presentation for: Springs in the Sky Island Region: Inventory, Assessment, and Management Planning Project Watershed Management Planning Materials and A Demonstration in the Upper Gila River Watershed Science Brief for Resource Managers: Metacommunity Dynamics of Gila River Fishes Quantitative and Predictive Analysis: Landscape Connectivity of Isolated Waters for Wildlife in the Sonoran Desert Climate change and connectivity: Assessing landscape and species vulnerability Implications of climate change for wetland-dependent birds in the Prairie Potholes Region Vulnerability of Breeding Waterbirds to Climate Change in the Prairie Pothole Region Designing ecological climate change impact assessments to reflect key climatic drivers Sediment Accumulation in Prairie Wetlands under a Changing Climate: the Relative Roles of Landscape and Precipitation Publication: Restoring aquatic ecosystem connectivity requires expanding inventories of both dams and road crossings Publication: Predicting road culvert passability for migratory fishes Publication: Local-Scale Benefits of River Connectivity Restoration Planning Beyond Jurisdictional Boundaries Publication: Interpreting climate model projections of extreme weather events Publication: Delaying conservation actions matters for species vulnerable to climate change Publication and Report: Ecosystem Water Balance in a Desert Grassland