Published since 1946
Updates on Funding through the USFWS Science Applications Program Administered by WMI
The goal of the Science Applications program is to promote research and actions to help at-risk and listed species. The funding supports projects that deliver needed scientific information, geospatial modeling analyses, and scenario planning results to USFWS program staff and conservation partnerships. Three projects supported by 2018 to 2020 funding from the USFWS Science Applications program and administered by the Wildlife Management Institute recently completed their originally funded projects. However, all three projects will continue the work under the new Science Applications funding for 2020 to 2023.
The USFWS Science Application program brings together partners from 13 northeastern states, federal agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and universities to facilitate Nature’s Network. This collaborative effort identifies the best opportunities for conserving and connecting intact habitats and ecosystems supporting imperiled species. One important value of Nature’s Networks products to land and natural resource managers is the power of high-speed computer modeling to produce visual representations of the modeling outputs as geospatial maps and analytical summaries in tabular form. Crucial to the power of this data are the foundational data (the underlying analysis or models of the species-habitat relationships) and the derivative data or modeling outputs. The Science Applications program funded the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy to provide updates on the foundational information and models of species-habitat relationships and improved approaches for the derived products, models, and maps. Specifically, work focused on supporting and improving the Map of Biodiversity Importance (MoBI) project, a mapping project across the contiguous United States for 2,216 at-risk species.
Another project used funding from the Science Applications program to support the Chesapeake Conservancy to help deliver Nature’s Network’s products to end users through a sustained web presence and active technical assistance/application to address environmental management issues. Chesapeake Conservancy enhanced the usability of specific features of the Nature’s Network website, which broadened accessibility. A desktop-based analysis toolbox was developed to provide flexibility to GIS users for custom scenarios or species of interest in a non-web-based environment. This project also focused on custom analyses related to the species status assessment for the northern red-bellied cooter. Work was also done to ensure long-term website security and maintenance.
One project, Designing Sustainable Landscapes, is a project of the Landscape Ecology Lab at the University of Massachusetts. This landscape project applies to 13 northeastern states and provides guidance for strategic habitat conservation of a suite of focal species across the landscape. Work completed under the 2018 to 2020 funding included completion of phase 5, which improved source data, updated landcover and ecological settings variables, and fixed data errors. Phase 5 also includes a new species model for the spotted turtle, Clemmys guttata.
Projects like these promote landscape conservation in the Northeast by enhancing, improving, and delivering the conservation tools needed by resource managers. Work on these projects for the next funding cycle has started and will continue until 2023.