Wading through the science: New resource library now available for natural resources managers relating water quality, agriculture and climate change science

This root illustration shows the variation in root system length and complexity for several common prairie species. Credit: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Deep roots of native prairie plants in agricultural buffer strips can improve water quality. Credit: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Shifting temperature and precipitation trends coupled with changing agricultural practices have the potential to influence water quality across broad geographies, from America’s cornbelt to the farming communities of the Great Lakes. Researchers with U.S. Geological Survey, a strong partner in landscape conservation efforts, have recognized the overwhelming volume of scientific research that pinpoints some of the interactions among climate change, agriculture and water quality across communities where farming is a strong social, economic and cultural influence.

In order to make sense out of the vast amount of both published and ongoing research relating these topics, researchers have developed a comprehensive resource library that provides natural resources managers with a searchable database.

“This new resource will provide natural resources managers with the science that currently exists related or applicable to their own conservation and management work,” said Kasey Hutchinson, project investigator and hydrologist with U.S. Geological Survey.  “It’s also a great tool for identifying potential partners and collaborators that have the skills or toolsets that can help achieve shared conservation objectives.”

The resource library provides the scientific foundation for future conservation and management decisions that impact fish, wildlife, habitat and people.

“The challenge for the farmer who is interested in sustainable farming, or the biologist trying to improve habitat for fishes in freshwater streams, is being able to base decisions on scientifically sound research. There is so much out there, it’s a challenge just to stay informed on the latest developments and recommendations,” said Glen Salmon, coordinator for the Eastern Tallgrass Prairie and Big Rivers Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC). “This new resource library is going to help scientists and conservation professionals gain access to the best available information that is out there, and apply that science on-the-ground.”

The resources library is searchable and includes all relevant research focusing on Midwestern geographies from the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes to the agriculturally-dominated communities that stretch from Ohio to Kansas and include portions of Iowa and the Dakotas. This geography reflects the areas of interest of the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes LCC and Eastern Tallgrass Prairie and Big Rivers LCC.

U.S. Geological Survey Water Science Centers in Iowa, Kansas and Massachusettes completed this project in summer 2013 with the guidance and support of the Northeast Climate Science CenterEastern Tallgrass Prairie and Big Rivers LCC and Upper Midwest and Great Lakes LCC. These entities are dedicated to addressing broad-scale natural resources challenges across the Midwest by providing land and water managers with the tools necessary for strategic conservation.

The resource library is accessible at https://www.sciencebase.gov/catalog/folder/51db0ebce4b010c7f6a814bf

Upper Midwest and Great Lakes LCC

The Upper Midwest and Great Lakes LCC envisions a conservation community that while governed by their unique purposes and missions, collaborates on sustaining lands and waters that support natural and cultural resources and the services they provide. Our mission is to support and sustain this conservation community by facilitating communication, coordination and collaboration to bridge cutting-edge scientific research with natural resources management.

Contact Us

John Rogner
LCC Coordinator
847-381-2253 ext. 12