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An infrastructure for Data and Information Management is crucial for WLCI partners to effectively coordinate and maintain information resources, communicate and disseminate information to users on the WLCI Web site, and provide data-management tools for decision-making. The three primary tasks associated with this work are developing and maintaining a Data Management Framework and Clearinghouse for providing, managing, analyzing, and using information assembled or generated for the WLCI, a Science and Conservation Projects Database to access to the descriptive information and locations of (1) "on-the-ground" conservation projects managed by the WLCI CT and (2) science projects being conducted by USGS and other science-agency...
Knowledge of trends over time provides important context for understanding potential effects of human-caused change on wildlife and habitats, and informs additional work on species of interest that is required to understand critical functional uncertainties - including mechanisms by which energy and mineral development affect other resource values (e.g., species, habitats, and water resources) Targeted Monitoring and Research for the WLCI is composed of three major tasks: Long-Term Monitoring, Effectiveness Monitoring, and Mechanistic Wildlife Research. Long-term monitoring efforts are focused on vegetation, soils, and water with the goal of developing an interagency long-term monitoring program by connecting USGS...
Work Accomplished in FY 2009 and Findings Soil samples collected during 2008 were air-dried, disaggregated, and sieved to less than 2 mm. The less-than-2-mm material was crushed to less than150 μm in a ceramic mill and thoroughly mixed to ensure homogeneity prior to analysis by the USGS laboratories for aluminum (Al), calcium (Ca), iron (Fe), potassium (K), magnesium (Mg), sodium (Na), sulfur (S), titanium (Ti), silver (Ag), arsenic (As), barium (Ba), beryllium (Be), bismuth (Bi), cadmium (Cd), cerium (Ce), cobalt (Co), chromium (Cr), cesium (Cs), copper (Cu), gallium (Ga), mercury (Hg), indium (In), lanthanum (La), lithium (Li), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo), niobium (Nb), nickel (Ni), phosphorus (P), lead (Pb),...
Scope and Methods This effort evaluates the effects of future land uses on vegetation and wildlife habitat and is designed to illustrate potential management actions that may minimize land-use impacts. The entire WLCI landscape will be included in a spatially-explicit simulation framework to explore future potential land-use effects and the potential influence of future climatic conditions. Future potential energy development will be simulated along with elements of climate change from climate models to determine potential types and patterns of land cover change. Scenarios of future change will be employed to determine conditions (land uses and patterns) that minimize long-term effects on vegetation conditions and...
Scope and Methods The Greater Green River Basin is home to several endemic plant species and endangered animals, notably sage grouse and pygmy rabbit. The Green River Formation that characterizes much of the basin also hosts thick sequences of organic carbon-rich shale (oil shale), extractable pockets of natural gas, and bedded trona (Na3(CO3)(HCO3)•2H2O), the extractions or minings of which can mobilize elements that could potentially affect ecosystem function and processes in the basin. In an ongoing attempt to develop methods for assessing element mobility in the basin, USGS obtained commercial chemical analyses from XRAL Laboratory, Canada, for use in analyzing major elements with inductively coupled plasma-atomic...
Southwest Wyoming land managers face the challenge of ensuring the persistence of the region’s abundant wildlife and important habitats while providing for development of Nationally important energy and mineral resources. Driven by local and regional leaders, the Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative (WLCI) was officially launched in 2007 with support from the U.S. Department of the Interior. The WLCI mission is to implement a long-term, science-based program of assessing, conserving, and enhancing fish and wildlife habitats while facilitating responsible energy and other development through local collaboration and partnerships. As the principal agency charged with conducting WLCI science, the U.S. Geological...
The success of the WLCI is based on strong partnerships among multiple agencies and the coordination and integration of people, ideas, and work. Integration and Coordination activities are critical components of USGS involvement in the WLCI. A full-time USGS scientist, who is a member of the WLCI Coordination Team (CT), works with the WLCI CT to manage WLCI operations, coordinate WLCI teams and committees, and integrate science principles and concepts into WLCI activities to support conservation planning and to ensure that USGS science helps inform on-the-ground management actions and decisions.
Scope and Methods The primary purpose of the IA is to support a multiple-disciplinary assessment of the effects of energy development and other land uses on resources important to WLCI partners. The IA will evaluate the natural, economic, and social context for energy development and other land uses and focus on informing landscape level conservation actions and decisions. An initial intent of the assessment is to identify areas with high conservation and restoration value, and those with high development potential, based on the current landscape. In addition, we extend areas with conservation, restoration, and development potential with future landscape scenarios based on data-informed assumptions of land-use and...
Decision-making and evaluation are facilitated by iteratively improving the overall knowledge base as new knowledge is acquired and products completed. The knowledge and products are then used to inform decisions made about habitat projects and other conservation activities and to inform evaluations of overall habitat project effectiveness in meeting WLCI goals.
Scope and Methods Energy exploration and development has progressed steadily over the past few years in the Muddy Creek subbasin, Carbon County, Wyoming. The area includes the Atlantic Rim and Creston energy fields. Gravel roads, drill pads, pipelines, buried powerlines, and both production and injection wells have been constructed in the watershed and more are being considered for permitting. Trace elements, such as selenium, arsenic, and copper, are known to occur in soils and water in the watershed, and in some areas at elevated levels. It is important to understand the geologic controls on the source, transport, and fate of these elements so that informed decisions can be made on how and where development should...
The foundation for USGS WLCI science and technical assistance: (1) identify the key drivers of change; (2) identify the condition and distribution of key wildlife species, habitat, and species’ habitat requirements; (3) evaluate wildlife and livestock responses to development; (4) identify the most effective and needed restoration, reclamation, and mitigation activities, as well as locations where conservation benefits may be maximized; (5) develop an integrated inventory and monitoring strategy; and (6) develop a data clearinghouse and information-management framework.
Work Accomplished in FY2009 and Findings Eight Landsat- and eight AWiFS-based habitat-component models were completed for the WLCI area, including estimates of cover percentage for shrub, herbs, litter, sagebrush, big 48 sagebrush, Wyoming sagebrush, and bare ground, and for shrub height. According to an independent accuracy assessment, primary root mean square error (RMSE) values for habitat components based on QuickBird (2.4-m resolution) ranged from 4.90 to 10.16; those based on Landsat (30-m resolution) ranged from 6.04 to 15.85; and those based on AWiFS (56-m resolution) ranged from 6.97 to 16.14. The models improved the state-wide characterization of categorical landcover classes by 8 percent over the National...