Prioritizing decision-making for agriculture and conservation in North America’s prairies under climate change and land-use change

Wetland habitats are critically important to many animal and plant species, and they are in trouble. The North American prairies, for example, comprise some of the most productive wetland habitats in the world, but many areas of the prairies have lost up to 90% of their wetlands and more than 90% of their native grasslands due to farming practices and more recently, climate change. This project will build a decision-support framework to prescribe the conservation actions needed to sustain wetland biodiversity in the face of climate and land-use changes.

Program Design and Evaluation of Conservation Messaging at Ducks Unlimited Canada Events and Centres

Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is an established non-governmental organization (NGO) which promotes conservation. In recent years, support for the organization has dwindled. For the organization to continue its work and maintain necessary support, DUC must improve their understanding of how they gain and retain both volunteer and financial supporters.

Alberta High Resolution Wetland Inventory Methodology Development

This project aims to operationalize innovative methods for developing cost effective wetland inventories across Alberta by use of numerous sources of remote sensing data, namely light detection and ranging (LiDAR), synthetic aperture Radar (SAR), and optical imagery.

Wintering Hills Reverse Auction

This research would determine the costs of securing and restoring drained wetland areas on private lands in the Wintering Hills area of Alberta, Canada, through the use of an approach called a “reverse auction.” Collaborating with Ducks Unlimited Canada, the project would pay farmers to allow wetlands to be restored on their property. The payment levels would be determined by the landowners through the auction process. Understanding the costs of restoration is largely unknown, but is critical for the Government of Alberta as they implement the 2013 Alberta Wetland Policy.

Community dynamics in restored salt marshes

Salt marshes are important coastal ecosystems as they provide many services to surrounding areas. However, due to their highly productive nature, they have a long history of being converted into farmland in the Maritimes and continue to be altered for human development. Salt marsh restoration has become popular recently to mitigate the increasing societal costs associated with rising ocean levels, as well as to increase amount of suitable habitat for various waterfowl species.

Community dynamics in restored salt marshes

Salt marshes are important coastal ecosystems as they provide many services to surrounding areas. However, due to their highly productive nature, they have a long history of being converted into farmland in the Maritimes and continue to be altered for human development. Salt marsh restoration has become popular recently to mitigate the increasing societal costs associated with rising sea level, as well as to increase amount of suitable habitat for wildlife including waterfowl.

Evaluation of species specific success for fish passing through fishways

Irving Oil Ltd. (IOL) manages impounded wetlands on company owned properties including a wetland located on the Little River at the site of the Saint John Oil Refinery. IOL in partnership with Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) manages this wetland and other impoundments to provide proper habitat for wildlife including fishes and ducks. To do this this IOL must know the most cost effective way to manage physical factors (i.e., water flow and temperature, fishway structure) that affect the viability of wildlife in its wetlands. Adjusting physical variables is costly, both in capital costs (i.e.

High-resolution Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) and its Application to Salt Marsh Restoration

Salt marshes are recognized as significant feeding grounds and refuges for wildlife and for their importance in flood mitigation, carbon sequestration and as filters for removing pollutants and suspended sediments. With growing interest in, and efforts towards, dyke removal and salt marsh restoration, there is a need for science-based management decisions to ensure appropriate site-specific restoration activities.

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