Springs and Seeps Inventory, Assessment and Management Planning Project
Projecting changes in the distribution of rare resources, assessing how these changes may impact resource management, and developing methodologies and decision support tools to assess and evaluate current or existing resource management practices and the abilities to learn and adapt to the effects of climate change.
Grantee: Sky Island Alliance
Principle Investigators: Trevor Hare, Louise Misztal
Cooperative Agreement: $146,410 in non-Federal funds and $101,618 in Federal funds provided by Bureau of Reclamation
Project Duration: 2011-2013
Work collaboratively with land and resource managers to identify priority watersheds for spring and seep assessments in the Sky Island region of southeastern Arizona, and conduct inventories and assessments using trained volunteers, professional staff and partner personnel. Development of this volunteer monitoring program will provide a model for monitoring climate sensitive resources with limited funding. Develop a regional database for housing and serving historic and newly acquired data from cooperating agencies. Utilize assessments of spring and seep management in conjunction with managers and experts to develop climate change adaptation strategies, decision-support tools and recommendations for management of priority areas.
Brief Project Description
Develop new information regarding the current biological and management status of springs and seeps in the Sky Island region of southeastern Arizona, including spatial location, temporal attributes, and the biological, hydrological, and geomorphological status at site-specific and landscape scales. A combination of citizen science inventories and expert assessments will be used to collect critical baseline information on known spring and seep resources using the Spring Ecosystem Inventory and Assessment Protocols and adapting them as needed for the unique arid Sky Island ecosystems. The assessment will collect information on channel morphology, riparian and wetland vegetation, water quality, aquatic macroinvertebrates, and wildlife. This information will be combined with historic data from cooperating agencies (Pima County, Santa Cruz County, USFS, NPA, USGS, USFWS, BLM, and AGFD) in a regional, on-line database to provide a landscape level context for managing resources, which was previously unavailable due to data being stored by individual agencies in different formats. A spatial and temporal analysis of the data will help identify seep, spring and shallow groundwater of highest conservation value, highest restoration potential, and resources that will be crucial waters sources for wildlife adaption in the region. Climate change adaptation workshops will be conducted with partners to assess priority and management options, including discussion and analysis of management prescriptions that can be used by managers to minimize and mitigate non-climate stressors, protective and restorative actions that can be implemented to enhance resilience of these resources, and strategies to promote spring conservation.
Sky Islands region, southeastern Arizona
- Conduct managers and experts workshops to identify priority watersheds for spring and seep assessments.
- Develop regional database for housing and serving historic data from cooperating agencies along with new data generated through this project that includes names, locations, management responsibility, ownership, waters rights, ecological and morphological data, etc.
- Conduct spring and seep inventories and assessments using trained volunteers and professional staff and partners personnel (principally biologists and hydrologists) and institute a citizen scientist monitoring framework.
- Conduct spatial and temporal analysis of newly gathered assessment data in combination with historical data to identify seep, spring and shallow groundwater of highest conservation value.
- Utilize assessments of current spring and seep management in conjunction with land managers and experts to develop climate change adaption strategies and recommendations for priority areas.
- Level 1 assessment for 50 springs and seeps.
- Springs and Seeps database that houses new and historic data.
- Model and protocol for trained volunteer assessment of springs in arid land ecosystems.
- Map and analysis of priority resources.
- Cross-jurisdictional adaptation plans for priority resources.
- Report including maps of prioritized springs, methodology of project, management recommendations, decision support tools, future needs and next steps.
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