Location: Southwest Watershed Research2012 Annual Report
1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
Utilize landscape scale models of predicted species habitats and land cover to assess biodiversity at multiple scales. Over finer scales the objective is to quantify the effects of conservation practices on terrestrial vertebrate wildlife resources for a selected set of high-priority species for use in the Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
1b. Approach (from AD-416):
1) Identification of metrics representing biodiversity using species distribution models; 2) Develop a process to identify metrics for a biodiversity assessment in context with ecological surroundings nationally; 3) Identification of species at risk and prioritization of species based on conservation practices of interest; 4) A process to link landscape level assessments to site specific actions using a risk assessment protocol; 5) A prototype spatial analysis tool for selected species habitat models and change to provide support for NRCS planning and field office personnel.
3. Progress Report:
A pilot project area was identified in New Mexico that involved multiple stakeholders and land management agencies. A series of biodiversity metrics were developed based on species habitat models derived from the Southwest Gap Analysis Program. Stakeholder meetings were conducted to rank: 1) Biodiversity metrics; 2) Species of interest; and, 3) Primary management and conservation practices. Based on these rankings, the top 10 to 15 species of interest and the top 3 to 5 conservation practices will be selected for further analysis and modeling. This analysis will be done to quantify the effects of conservation practices on terrestrial vertebrate wildlife resources for use in the Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). This project contributes to parent project Objective 2: Develop decision tools including a rangeland specific hydrology and erosion model for improved planning and evaluation of rangeland management practices.