• Red Rocks with water in front of them in the desert.
  • Clouds behind Joshua Tree and bushes.
  • Desert flowers blooming in bushes in front of mountains in the desert.
  • Setting sun reflecting of clouds of orange and blue behind a joshua tree.
  • Hoover Dam intake towers with water behind the dam showing that it is not full.


Developing a Geodatabase and Geocollaborative Tools to Support Springs and Springs-dependent Species Management in the Desert LCC

Science Need(s)

Critical Management Question 1: Water Management and Climate Change
How are climate change, water management, and their interaction affecting the physical processes that support springs, aquatic and riparian habitats, species, and human cultures? What are viable management options to mitigate these effects and support ecosystem functions? How can climate change, hydrological, ecological, and/or biological models be used to better understand the potential future effects of climate change, inform adaptive management and development of beneficial management practices, and create related decision support tools?

Critical Management Question 2: Monitoring Species/Processes and Related Threats/Stressors
What species and ecological processes are sensitive to climate change and/or other large scale stressors (e.g., water management, invasive species, altered fire regime, wind erosion) and can be effectively monitored to indicate the overall effects of these stressors on ecosystems, habitats, and species, thus helping managers detect, understand, and respond to these changes? What are the best monitoring designs and protocols to detect changes to these processes and species at temporal and geographic scales suitable for providing adequate and reliable metrics?

Critical Management Question 6: Amphibians/Reptiles Vulnerability
What are the species of amphibians and reptiles that are currently considered not vulnerable but are likely to experience negative changes in their population sizes and/or extents of distribution due to future changes in climate, fire regime and water availability in the Southwestern deserts?


Grantee: Museum of Northern Arizona
Principle Investigators: Dr. Lawrence Stevens
Cooperative Agreement:  $173,771 in non-Federal funds and $149,839 in Federal funds provided by Bureau of Reclamation
Project Duration: 2013-2015
Project Goal(s)
The goal of this project is to provide land managers with comprehensive, current information regarding springs distribution and springs-dependent species across the US areas of the Desert LCC in a secure, accessible, and user-friendly format that will allow for analysis of springs ecosystem vulnerability to land management practices and climate change.

Brief Project Description

Museum of Northern Arizona, Inc. will leverage tools previously developed by the Springs Stewardship Initiative to help resource managers in the southwestern U.S. collect, analyze, report upon, monitor and archive the complex and interrelated information associated with springs and spring-dependent species in the region. The information will be compiled and made readily available online. The Museum will further develop interactive online maps and climate change risk assessment tools of springs-dependent sensitive plant and animal species.

Project Location

US portion of the Desert LCC

Project Tasks

  1. Develop a springs geodatabase, and provide a secure, accessible Web Feature Service (WFS) map of springs throughout the Desert LCC, combined with simple geocollaborative tools that will allow cooperating agencies, Tribes, institutions, NGOs and researchers to easily access and, if they wish, share information across administrative boundaries, and to engage volunteers to locate unmapped springs and assist with monitoring efforts.
    1. Compile publicly available data into a secure platform
    2. Engage Desert LCC land manager collaboration
    3. Refine online Springs Inventory Database
    4. Secure and publish the geodatabase
    5. Compile additional springs data
    6. Publish Web Feature Service applications
  2. Develop a list of and map macroscopic springs-dependent species and associated information throughout the Desert LCC.
    1. Identify information sources
    2. Compile and quality control springs-dependent species information
    3. Reporting and mapping
  3. Develop an outreach program to: disseminate information about project progress; train resource managers, NGOs, students, and Tribes in data collection and interpretation and use of geocollaborative tools.
    1. Develop outreach program and volunteer base
    2. Quarterly webinars and online support
    3. Workshops
    4. Develop training videos
    5. Train and collaborate undergraduate students
    6. Reporting
  4. Use Springs Use Assessment to develop a Climate Change Risk Model
    1. Identify use of springs in land units
    2. Develop a landscape-based GIS Climate Change Risk Model
    3. Test and apply the Climate Change Risk Model

Project Deliverables

  1. Online Springs Inventory Database
  2. Report with map of macroscopic springs-dependent species
  3. Webinars, workshops, and training videos
  4. Climate Change Risk Model for springs

Opportunities to learn more


Documents for downloading

Project Proposal