August 12 – 14, 2014
For more information, contact Gwen White at firstname.lastname@example.org
Maintain a working landscape—and design a landscape that works—for water quality, wildlife and people
Recent extensive new tile drainage and reversion of Conservation Reserve Program lands to cropland in the Plains and Prairie Potholes LCC geography as a result of high commodity prices suggest that those states may contribute excessive nutrients through the Missouri River drainage in the very near future. States within the Eastern Tallgrass Prairie and Big Rivers LCC geography already contribute the greatest nutrient load to the Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone through downstream states in the greater Mississippi River watershed. We need to solve these problems in a way that appeals to the upstream communities who may implement changes in land and water use by designing practices that fulfill both local conservation needs and downstream Gulf of Mexico impacts.
Seven LCCs are working together to identify key scientific uncertainties associated with design and management of a sustainable ecosystem/floodplain landscape that provides multiple benefits for agricultural productivity, water quality, and wildlife conservation—both locally and in the Gulf of Mexico. Online meetings through the summer are preparing for a Mississippi River Basin / Gulf Hypoxia Structured Decision Making Workshop to be held August 12 – 14, 2014 in a central U.S. location that will convene 40 key representatives integrating a range of perspectives.
The ultimate goal of this multi-LCC effort is to prioritize agricultural conservation areas by mapping the most cost-effective and receptive places for implementing practices with multiple benefits, such as the intersection of watersheds where each of the following factors is high:
- Nutrient export to the Gulf of Mexico;
- Wildlife habitat value, particularly grassland birds and riparian species;
- Social capacity to network and provide extension, as well as visibility of the project to propagate adoption and promotion of the practices and economic drivers for conservation practices; and
- Optimal siting of conservation practices using stakeholder on desirable water quality, economic, and ecological impacts.
The effort is designed to be complementary to the principles and goals of the Hypoxia Task Force, Mississippi River Basin Initiative, and similar existing efforts, with a common mission to reduce nutrient loading through watershed and effectively achieve water quality benefits both locally and in the Gulf of Mexico, but with an integrated focus on habitat conservation.