[okgis] {Disarmed} PLJV GIS Review

Chronological Thread 
  • From: Chris_Omeilia AT fws.gov
  • To: okgis AT gis.ou.edu
  • Subject: [okgis] {Disarmed} PLJV GIS Review
  • Date: Wed, 24 Jun 2009 06:51:31 -0600

I thought this might be of interest to many people on the listserv.

Enjoy. -Chris

Christopher M. O'Meilia
Wildlife & Fire Consultation Biologist / GIS Coordinator
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Oklahoma Ecological Services Field Office
9014 East 21st Street
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74129-1428

Office Phone: 918-581-7458
Office Fax: 918-581-7467
Direct Phone: 918-382-4525

----- Forwarded by Chris O'Meilia/R2/FWS/DOI on 06/24/2009 07:43 AM -----
"Playa Lakes Joint Venture" <michael.soloway AT pljv.org>
Sent by: "Playa Lakes Joint Venture" <michael.soloway=pljv.org AT mcsv112.net>

06/17/2009 01:59 PM

Please respond to
"Playa Lakes Joint Venture" <michael.soloway AT pljv.org>

"Chris" <chris_omeilia AT fws.gov>
GIS Review

Vol. 1 Issue 1, June 2009

The GIS Review is a biannual newsletter intended for anyone interested in how GIS is being used to further natural resources conservation. The Review highlights GIS work and products in the PLJV region with the goals of disseminating knowledge and inspiring communication, collaboration, and data sharing among GIS and natural resource professionals.
leading edge
University of Kansas (KU)

The University of Kansas just completed a new and improved data layer depicting playa lakes in western Kansas (Figure 1). The dataset is a substantial improvement over existing datasets, locating over 25,000 additional playas.  Bill Johnson, professor in the Department of Geography at KU, is one of the lead scientists behind the mapping project which began two years ago with support from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Kansas Information Technology Office.

Bill explains that “the primary objective of the project is not simply mapping but rather development of a regional subclass-specific guidebook for applying the hydrogeomorphic (HGM) approach to assessing wetland functions of playa basin depressional wetlands in western Kansas. This effort is similar to those HGM projects carried out for the Rainwater Basins of south-central Nebraska and the Prairie Potholes of the Upper Midwest. This work will include evaluation of vegetation community structure and suitability for wildlife habitat.”

Different from previous playa datasets, this new dataset is based on analysis of NAIP imagery (2003-2006, 2008) which allows for detection of small playas (less than an acre) that are not captured in coarser-scale imagery or datasets such as SSURGO. To help validate their data, the mapping team conducted extensive ground-truthing, including both ground and low-altitude observation, and cross-referenced their data with DRG depression contours and water bodies, as well as SSURGO hydric soils data.  

Bill and his research group have been conducting playa-related research for many years including USGS-funded mapping of surficial geology in western Kansas. Recently, they collected core samples on several playa basins, “conducting analyses of surface soils, radiocarbon dating of buried soil surfaces and reconstructing past playa environments using microfossil and isotopic analyses.” This summer, vegetation surveys will be conducted, in cooperation with Oklahoma State and Texas Tech researchers, on 30 selected playas.

The KU playa dataset will be available soon for download at MailScanner has detected a possible fraud attempt from "pljv.us1.list-manage.com" claiming to be http://www.kansasgis.org. This dataset will be followed by another defining lunettes—crescent-shaped ridges formed on the downwind side of playa basins.

For more information contact:  Dr. Bill Johnson, Professor (wcj AT ku.edu)

gis in the pljv

Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory (RMBO)

The RMBO is using GIS technology and modern analytic tools to better understand ho
w local and landscape processes influence hydrology, wildlife use, and floristic quality of playa wetlands in Colorado and Nebraska.  Through ground-truthing, imagery analysis, and distance sampling methods, they enhanced an existing spatial data layer depicting playa lakes.  They used this layer in combination with field data collected at playas, including bird use, vegetation, and landscape characteristics, to perform a variety of analyses such as the following:

  • Estimate playa abundance in Colorado while accounting for incomplete detection using distance sampling,
  • Map the spatial distribution of playa attributes, such as playa densities and hydrological modifications, by applying an autocorrelation analysis (Figure 2),
  • Test for relationships between shorebird and waterfowl abundance to playa size and extent of playa cover in the surrounding landscape (the relationships were positive, suggesting the conservation of large playas in complexes is important for migrating shorebirds and waterfowl),
  • Determine if soils and landcover at buffer and watershed scales influences playa hydrology.
For information on their findings...

For more information contact:  David Pavlacky, Spatial Ecologist (david.pavlacky AT rmbo.org)

Colorado Division of Wildlife (CDOW)

The CDOW has implemented a dual frame occupancy sampling technique to survey areas in Eastern Colorado with known lekking activity and areas of unknown lekking activity for both Greater and Lesser Prairie-Chickens. Survey design was performed utilizing ESRI ArcGIS 9.x software with the Randomized Reverse Quadrant Recursive Raster (RRQRR) tools produced by the StarMap program at the Natural Resources Ecology Lab of the College of Natural Resources at Colorado State University. The RRQRR tools are practical, useful GIS tools that generate simple, efficient, and robust survey designs for natural resource applications. RRQRR generates a rigorous probability-based survey design that is spatially-balanced and allows surfaces to be used to specify the inclusion probability.

In this case, the RRQRR based samples are clusters of four quarter sections located 1 mile apart in a square configuration within the overall range of the prairie-chickens (Figure 3). Results of the occupancy sampling are used to estimate prairie-chicken populations with respect to the entire range and ultimately dictate management goals and corresponding field efforts. The dual frame sampling technique has been used for two consecutive years and will be used in the future for updates on a 2 to 3-year schedule. The RRQRR tools are also being used by the CDOW for other projects regarding both terrestrial and aquatic wildlife management.

For more information contact:  Chris Woodward, Wildlife GIS (chris.woodward AT state.co.us)


Farm Services Agency (FSA)

FSA developed and maintains the most extensive spatial dataset pertaining to agricultural lands in the U.S., the Common Land Unit (CLU) layer.  The CLU delineates land units at the smallest possible scale considering common landcover, land use, landowner, and agricultural producer (Figure 4).  By combining the CLU and NAIP imagery, FSA, with the help of producers, tracks agricultural land use, including crop acres, type, practice, and planting dates.  The layer proves useful in disaster events to complete reports and determine relief eligibility.  The CLU is also used to accept offers into the Conservation Reserve Program.  Kansas FSA is in their 4th year of total state coverage for the CLU (the CLU layer is not publically available because of the private nature of the data).

Recently, Kansas FSA has been very busy updating land ownership boundaries due to a rise in foreign investors associated with wind farm development.  Foreign investors are required by law to file a report on any land they acquire.  In the past three years, there has been a boom in foreign investor land updates because FSA also captures long term leases associated with wind farm projects, often owned by foreign companies.

For more information contact: Scott Willbrant, GIS Analyst (scott.willbrant AT ks.usda.gov)

Kansas Applied Remote Sensing Program (KARS)

KARS and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks recently published the Kansas Wind Resource Planner (Planner), an interactive web-based mapping tool designed to depict potential wind resources and general areas of conservation sensitivity (Figure 5).  The Planner is intended to serve as a guide for the siting of wind farms, transmission lines and other landscape-altering structures.  The data used in the Planner are an accumulation of data available from different organizations across the state and are presented as an organized, assessable, and unbiased resource for the public.

Data layers include wind potential, proposed and current wind farms, infrastructure, land cover, sensitive species locations, managed/protected areas, and numerous others.  Data to be added soon will include landscape metrics that relate the percentage of certain features on the landscape as analyzed with a 2x2 mile grid to provide a quantifiable comparison between locations.  These landscape metric layers include: percent grassland, percent special grasslands (sandsage shrubland, sand prairie, and tallgrass) highlighted due to their sparse presence within the state/world, and percent playas.  To view the Planner, visit: MailScanner has detected a possible fraud attempt from "pljv.us1.list-manage.com" claiming to be http://www.kars.ku.edu/maps/windresourceplanner.

For more information contact:  Mike Houts, GIS/Remote Sensing Specialist (mhouts AT ku.edu)


The Central Platte NRD GeoSpatial Waterbank (CPNRD)

The CPNRD is utilizing Definiens Ecognition, ERDAS Imagine, and ESRI ArcGIS software to develop, analyze, and store crop and pasture parcels within the district’s boundaries (located in central Nebraska). Classifications of irrigated lands were based on information obtained from irrigated wells, surface water rights and color band mixing, as well as common sense and experience with the Platte River Basin’s agricultural techniques. Landowner proof (Farm Service Agency documentation) of irrigated acres allowed the CPNRD staff to fine tune the acres down to a 1/10th of an acre. The two year process of certifying 1,015,000 irrigated acres, and storing the parcels within a topologically correct geodatabase, resulted in a dynamic link between historically irrigated acres and the constantly changing agricultural practices and irrigation rotations within the Platte Valley.

With a finite resource, the CPNRD has entered into a program of “waterbanking” in which the certified irrigated parcels can be retired, transferred, acquired and reallocated. The CPNRD’s waterbank, the first ever in the state, currently holds title to over 1000 acre/feet of water purchased from multiple locations with respect to net depletion to the Platte River. The goal of the CPNRD Spatial water bank is to ensure that through these transactions, land purchases, ownership changes, and changing agricultural practices, that there is no new net depletion to the Platte River according to the sophisticated COHYST groundwater model (Cooperative Hydrology Study, MailScanner has detected a possible fraud attempt from "pljv.us1.list-manage.com" claiming to be www.calmit.unl.edu/cohyst).

For more information contact:  Jon Michael Bosley, Geographic Specialist (bosley AT cpnrd.org)

Rainwater Basin Joint Venture (RWBJV)

RWBJV, located in central Nebraska, is busy developing and analyzing multiple wetland-related spatial datasets.  For starters, RWBJV has collected its fifth season (2004 - 2009) of aerial photography to document spring wetland habitat conditions. Each spring, the RWBJV flies 2-foot resolution CIR aerial photography over approximately 4,500 square miles. The imagery is used to document wetland presence, level of function, available water, as well as to build a dataset of wetland functional trends in correlation to climatic influences (Figure 6).

They have also finished acquiring LIDAR data for the entire RWB and the central Platte River. From this detailed elevation data, the RWBJV will be able to delineate wetland watersheds and perform hydrologic modeling in an effort to help prioritize wetland protection/restoration efforts.  

RWBJV and the USFWS recently commissioned a National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) remap for the RWB wetland complex and central Platte River. They are also supporting an experimental effort to document wetland habitats in the Central Table Playas of Nebraska. A route-based sampling design is being used to sample playa-type wetlands to document presence/absence and inform possible future wetland inventory & assessment work. The survey is being conducted by taking GPS-referenced handheld digital photography from a low-level aircraft. The photos will then be compared to a historic wetland GIS database to determine functional status.

Lastly, RWBJV is part of a joint effort with USFWS and the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program to develop Whooping Crane migration route corridor maps based on observed location data. The corridor maps are being used to help guide USFWS consultations for wind development in the Central Flyway.

For more information contact:  Ryan Reker, Evaluation Coordinator (ryan_reker AT fws.gov)

Great Plains GIS Partnership (G2P2)

G2P2 (located in Grand Island, Nebraska) recently completed a landcover for the state of Nebraska, current to 2007, for use in biological planning.  They based this new landcover on an existing Nature Serve Ecosystems Landuse data layer and stacked on top of it increasingly accurate or explicit datasets, such as a cropping layer developed from National Agriculture Statistics Service data and regional masks for various landcover classes (e.g. forest/woodland, developed) derived from inventories conducted primarily by photo-interpretation of NAIP imagery at 1:5000 scale.  The resulting landcover maps over 35 landcover types that influence wildlife population distribution and abundance.  The Nebraska landcover layer, currently available to the public, is one component of an effort to estimate current landscape carrying capacity for priority bird species.  

They are currently using the Nebraska landcover as the base for an empirical model to map the predicted distribution of Greater Prairie-Chicken (GRPC) in the tallgrass (eastern) portion of Nebraska.  Long-term lek survey data collected by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission are being used to build the model for this species (Figure 7).  Analysis of 2009 field data for model validation will begin soon and results of the GRPC model will be available thereafter.

For more information contact: Jill Liske-Clark, Coordinating Wildlife Planner (jliskeclark AT pheasantsforever.org).

Nebraska Natural Heritage Program (NNHP)

The NNHP, part of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC), tracks occurrences of natural communities and at-risk species in the state. NNHP staff are members of an informal working group at NGPC that is developing a map and policy statement to aid planning for wind energy development with regard to wildlife conservation issues. The map is based on the a variety of species of concern or groups of species including: Bald Eagle, three species of bats, bighorn sheep, Ferruginous Hawk, Golden Eagle, Greater Prairie-chicken, Interior Least Tern, Long-billed Curlew, Mountain Plover, Piping Plover, Sharp-tailed Grouse, and Whooping Crane. Important migratory stopovers for birds are also included.  For each species or migratory stopover, areas of concern were delineated based on expert knowledge and species occurrence data. For some species, portions of their areas were ranked as relatively more or less important. The map will be available soon on the NGPC website and, in the meantime, is available upon request.

For more information contact:  Rachel Simpson, Data Manager (rachel.simpson AT nebraska.gov)

New Mexico

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)

In 2006-2007, the National Wetlands Inventory and Texas Tech University completed a digital map update for a large part of the Southern Great Plains Playa Lakes region (Figure 8). This project spanned 37 counties in TX, OK and NM, covering nearly 27 million acres. The project utilized USDA NAIP imagery from 2003-2005 to identify and delineate wetland and riparian habitats.

With interest and support from Service Field Offices, National Wildlife Refuges, Migratory Bird Program, Playa Lakes Joint Ventures, Bureau of Land Management, State of New Mexico Environment Department, Oklahoma Conservation Commission, and cooperative technical assistance from Texas Tech University, the Inventory undertook the task of compiling new wetland and riparian data for this important ecological area. The data for this project are designed as a decision-support tool for biologists, resource managers, Federal, State and local officials, and the general public with a variety of wetland and resource issues, including but not limited to; potential wetland restoration sites, habitat assessments and future status and trends studies.

To view/download the digital data, please visit the USFWS Wetlands Mapper,
MailScanner has detected a possible fraud attempt from "pljv.us1.list-manage.com" claiming to be http://www.fws.gov/Wetlands/Data/Mapper.html.

Recently, the USFWS and the USGS Research Unit at Texas Tech University signed an Interagency Agreement to complete the digital mapping of the final 15 playa lakes counties in Texas. This data, along with other available playa site-specific data and climate and meteorological data will be used to determine the feasibility of developing climate changes models and potential monitoring systems for these playa wetland habitats for the Texas Southern Plains Playa Lakes region.  The state of New Mexico has also applied for funding to map wetlands in northeast NM.  See status map to the right for wetland mapping status by county (Figure 9).

For more information contact:  Jim Dick, Regional Wetlands Coordinator (jim_dick AT fws.gov)


The Nature Conservancy (TNC)

At TNC’s Four Canyon Preserve in western Oklahoma, biologists are using GIS to help determine appropriate stocking rates for land which they are to lease for cattle grazing.  They developed a grazing suitability model based on a variety of factors affecting grazing such as distance to water sources, tree canopy, Jenness landform classification, slope, and forage production information collected on-site.  The model output allows staff to quickly and easily calculate ecologically-appropriate stocking rates for each pasture on the property.  Model data will be augmented by careful monitoring of grazing exclosures, photopoints, and permanent vegetation monitoring transects to ensure a proper utilization of forage and maintenance of grassland bird habitat.  

Similarly, TNC biologists are using spatial data to target future conservation efforts in the Osage Plains / Flint Hills Prairie ecoregion of northeastern Oklahoma such as land acquisition and prescribed burning.  They combined USDA’s spatial soils data and the TNC’s “untilled landscapes” dataset to develop a simple map depicting areas of intact tallgrass prairie and crosstimbers habitats with soil capability class I – III and/or soils identified as “prime farmland” – areas that may be threatened by future agricultural development.  Since January 1, TNC has conducted or assisted with burning over 60,000 acres in the state.  GIS is used to record and manage data on all of their burns, providing an efficient mechanism to track their work and guide decisions on future stewardship activities (Figure 10).

For more information contact:  Chris Hise, Four Canyon Preserve (cmhise AT tnc.org)

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)

The USFWS Partners for Fish and Wildlife (PFW) program provides technical and financial assistance to private landowners and Tribes to benefit Federal Trust Resource Species and manage for ecological processes that promote the natural function of native plant communities.  Recently, PFW biologists developed an interactive GIS-based tool to help determine appropriate stocking rates in Oklahoma (Figure 11).  The tool uses data from the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Soil Survey Geographic (SSURGO) database to estimate forage production for both favorable and unfavorable years of rainfall.  PFW can then provide landowners a minimum and maximum stocking rate guide for managing native grasslands.  

To use the tool, PFW biologists digitize project boundaries into their geodatabase / GIS application and set stocking rates based on four criteria 1) upland area within the scope of the project area, 2) duration of grazing in months, 3) intended percent of total annual forage consumed, and 4) average animal unit weight.  Through a form created in Visual Basic for Applications, the biologists input all criteria where a series of subroutines calculate and store information within the PFW geodatabase / GIS application.  They currently are working with experts from Oklahoma State University to improve the stocking rate calculator by incorporating other factors that influence stocking rates (e.g., slope and other forage inhibiting factors).  The tool is currently available only for Oklahoma but other states may soon follow.

For more information contact:  Luke Bell, Fish and Wildlife Biologist (luke.bell AT fws.gov)

Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC)

In May, the ODWC released a new development planning tool called the Oklahoma Lesser Prairie-Chicken (LEPC) Spatial Planning Tool.  Its purpose “…is to provide a tool for proactive planning to avoid, minimize and mitigate the negative effects of development on the LEPC in Oklahoma. The model accomplishes this by providing industry and wildlife professionals a tool that can help: 1) site development with consideration to LEPC conservation, 2) estimate the amount of a voluntary contribution to the LEPC Habitat Conservation fund needed to offset the impact of potential developments, and 3) locate areas to apply Habitat Conservation fund contributions for effective LEPC conservation work.”  The tool is a product of a working group comprised of ODWC, USFWS, PLJV, TNC, George Miksch Sutton Avian Research Center, Oklahoma State University, and the Office of the Oklahoma Secretary of Environment.  

The Oklahoma Lesser Prairie-Chicken Spatial Planning Tool i
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