Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development
The Landscapes Patterns project is intended to provide support to multiple organizations with an interest in achieving environmental outcomes on landscapes of varying scales in the north-west part of the North American continent in general, and in Alberta in particular. The project undertook a literature review of publications that show a relationship between human land use and land use patterns and the qualitative state of various parts of the environment. Most published research focuses on wildlife species and water quality.
Various map files were also produced as part of the project. The intent is to set up a spatial or keyword searchable function on the LC Map website and to allow website users to add citations to the citations and bibliographic database.
A second phase of the project will involve collaboration among the funding parties regarding ways in which landscape metrics can be used to support environmental outcomes in land use and conservation planning.
U.S. Geological Survey
Energy development across the northern plains of Montana and North Dakota is occurring at a rapid speed, while invasive species continue to challenge conservation practitioners’ efforts to restore native prairie, grassland and wetland habitats. Led by researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), this study will help resource managers understand how invasive plants are moving and the role of oil development in invasions. Research results will assist wildlife managers, private landowners and the oil industry in developing effective ways to reduce the spread of invasive plant species. More than 46,000 new petroleum-related wells have been drilled in the Williston Basin and Bakken Formation since the first successful Bakken test well was drilled in 2000. The study will examine if there is a pathway for noxious weeds to become established in adjacent native prairie lands associated with well pad construction, and will help the conservation community understand the interactions between recent energy development and the introduction and spread of invasive species across the plains and prairie pothole region.
Iowa Department of Natural Resources; Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks; South Dakota Game Fish and Parks; Wyoming Game, Fish and Parks
March 2010 – June 2012
The states of Iowa, Montana, South Dakota and Wyoming have used LCC funding to support the revision of their individual State Wildlife Actions Plans to accommodate for the potential impacts of climate change. Each state received $10,000 in funding from the LCC to support this effort. The completed plans can be found at http://www.wildlifeactionplan.org
Dr. Melanie Murphy, University of Wyoming
April 2012 – April 2013
Wetland hydroperiod, the length of time water is available in wetlands, is particularly sensitive to changes in precipitation, temperature and timing due to climate variation. Truncated hydroperiod has major implications for wetland-dependent species (e.g., waterfowl) and human water allocation. Researchers aim to link hydroperiod to current climatic variation and use this relationship to predict wetland hydroperiod across the moisture gradient from sage steppe to grasslands.
Dr. Doug Johnson, U.S. Geological Survey
February 2012 – January 2015
Oil and gas development in North Dakota is occurring at a rapid rate, and managers and biologists are ill-equipped to address and minimize damage from oil development and related activities on fish and wildlife habitat. This project aims to gather information on impacts to grassland birds from oil and gas development to better inform conservation managers.
The 2012 pilot season was a success. Bird surveys were conducted at 18 oil wells and four control sites. Preliminary findings showed reduced densities of grassland birds near wells compared with away from wells, but the effect varied among species. Continuing work will strengthen inferences as well as attempt to assess effects on uncommon species such as Baird’s sparrow and Sprague’s pipit.