|AlternativeFutures for Agricultural Watersheds|
EPA Grant Number: R825335-01-0
Title : Modeling effects of alternative landscape design and management on water quality and biodiversity in Midwest agricultural watersheds
Investigators/Institution: Santelmann, M., K. Freemark, G. Matzke, S. Polasky, D. White (Oregon State University); J. Eilers (E & S Environmental Chemistry, Inc.); B. Danielson (Iowa State University); J. Nassauer (Univ. of Michigan); and S. Galatowitsch (University of Minnesota)
Project Period: January 1997-December 1999
1. development of alternative future scenarios
Alternative future scenarios were designed to represent three different sets of human land use and management priorities: first, a continuation of present trends, with land use reflecting market-driven farming practices and existing regulations or deregulation; second, an effort to improve water quality and preserve biodiversity using conventional methods, within the existing regulatory framework; third, incorporating a higher priority on restoration of native biodiversity coupled with efforts to improve water quality.
Databases on current (1994) land cover, water
quality, aquatic biodiversity, and avian biodiversity of these watersheds
exist as a result of the US-EPA/USDA Midwest Agricultural Surface/subsurface
Transports and Effects Research (MASTER) program. This research builds
on the MASTER program, incorporating modeling approaches used elsewhere
to evaluate risks to vertebrate biodiversity, water quality, and economic
impacts. For evaluating the effects of alternative wetland preservation/
restoration strategies, new heuristic models will be developed from existing
databases in Iowa and southern Minnesota.
This research explores how human attitudes and
practical and economic constraints are translated into land-use and management
decisions, and the spatial implications of these decisions at the watershed
level. The significance of this research lies in its ability to inform
land owners and policy-makers (for example, those crafting Farm Bill 2000)
of effects of land-use and management choices on water resources, ecosystem
function and human social systems in the Western Corn Belt Region.