Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center
Bridging the conservation design and delivery gap for wetland bird habitat maintenance and restoration in the Midwestern United States
Thogmartin, W. E., B. Potter, and G. Soulliere. 2011. Bridging the conservation design and delivery gap for wetland bird habitat maintenance and restoration in the Midwestern United States. Journal of Conservation Planning 7:1–12.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's adoption of Strategic Habitat Conservation is intended to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of conservation delivery by targeting effort in areas where biological benefits are greatest. Conservation funding has not often been allocated in accordance with explicit biological endpoints, and the gap between conservation design (the identification of conservation priority areas) and delivery needs to be bridged to better meet conservation goals for multiple species and landscapes. We introduce a regional prioritization scheme for North American Wetlands Conservation Act funding which explicitly addresses Midwest regional goals for wetland-dependent birds. We developed decision-support maps to guide conservation of breeding and non-breeding wetland bird habitat. This exercise suggested ~55% of the Midwest consists of potential wetland bird habitat, and areas suited for maintenance (protection) were distinguished from those most suited to restoration. Areas with greater maintenance focus were identified for central Minnesota, southeastern Wisconsin, the Upper Mississippi and Illinois rivers, and the shore of western Lake Erie and Saginaw Bay. The shores of Lakes Michigan and Superior accommodated fewer waterbird species overall, but were also important for wetland bird habitat maintenance. Abundant areas suited for wetland restoration occurred in agricultural regions of central Illinois, western Iowa, and northern Indiana and Ohio. Use of this prioritization scheme can increase effectiveness, efficiency, transparency, and credibility to land and water conservation efforts for wetland birds in the Midwestern United States.
conservation funding, conservation prioritization, cost efficiency, ensemble mapping, NAWCA