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Integrating Human Dimensions into Biological Planning for Bird Conservation in the Western Great Plains Anne Bartuszevige, Miruh Hamend , Mike Carter, Barth Crouch. Playa Lakes Joint Venture A regional partnership dedicated to conserving bird habitat throughout the western Great Plains

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Playa Lakes Joint V enture

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Playa lakes joint v enture

Integrating Human Dimensions into Biological Planning for Bird Conservation in the Western Great PlainsAnne Bartuszevige, MiruhHamend, Mike Carter, Barth Crouch


Playa lakes joint v enture

Playa Lakes Joint Venture

A regional partnership dedicated to conserving bird habitat throughout the western Great Plains

Boundaries encompass most of the short- and mixed-grass prairie bird conservation regions

Playas are the most numerous wetland type in the region and critical to supporting wildlife

Playa Lakes Joint Venture


Playas

Playas

80,000 Playas

Ephemeral Wetlands

Aquifer Recharge

Birds Love Them


Pljv demographics

PLJV Demographics

  • PLJV 2010 population: 8,765,146

  • PLJV Core:

    2,950,640

  • PLJV InnerCore:

    1,924,229


Playa lakes joint v enture

Playa Lakes Joint Venture Region

5% of the Population

20% of the Population

75% of the Population

1% of the Land

29% of the Land

70% of the Land


Playa lakes joint v enture

Human Dimensions QuestionWhat motivates landowners to enroll, or not, in a playa conservation program?


We can speculate or ask

We Can Speculate… or Ask

Possible motivators

  • Economic considerations

  • Peer acceptance of their actions

  • Ease of making agreements with the government

  • Loss of control over the land

  • Not understanding results of intended conservation action

  • Addition of more unforeseen work


Landowner focus groups

Landowner Focus Groups

  • DJ Case & Associates conducted 13 focus groups across the Playa Lakes & Rainwater Basin JVs

  • Talked with farmers and ranchers who have playas on their property

  • Held in areas with large playa clusters as identified by PLJV's Playa Decision Support System

  • Funded by Great Plains LandscapeConservationCooperative


What we heard primary reasons to conserve playas

What We HeardPrimary Reasons to Conserve Playas

Economics — higher return

Conservation — “I like wildlife and farming is risky, so why fight it?”


What we heard secondary reasons to conserve playas

What We HeardSecondary Reasons to Conserve Playas

Hunting — for themselves or leasing rights

Rest the land— make it more productive


What we heard primary reasons not to conserve playas

What We HeardPrimary Reasons NOT to Conserve Playas

  • Economics – powerful incentives to farm/ranch them

  • Distrust government – programs/requirements can change quickly


What we heard secondary reasons not to conserve playas

What We HeardSecondary Reasons NOT to Conserve Playas

  • Hassle – not worth the effort

  • Location & size of playa matters

  • Makes no sense to “waste” the forage and water in playas


What we heard enrolling land in conservation programs

What We HeardEnrolling Land in Conservation Programs

Is price per acre competitive?

Length of contract

What control do you give up?

Who administers contract?


What we heard key beliefs about playas the aquifer

What We HeardKey Beliefs About Playas & the Aquifer

Amount of recharge is not significant

Need more information!How much recharge? How long does it take?

Info must be from a credible source

Conservation efforts are “too little, too late”


What we heard if convinced playas provided benefits

What We HeardIf Convinced Playas Provided Benefits

Would you take action to conserve them?

  • A large majority would conserve playas to help the aquifer

  • Fewer would conserve playas for wildlife benefits only, but most would consider it


Impediments to playa conservation

Impediments to Playa Conservation

  • Lack of understandingof playa functions/benefits

  • Need for more information on connection between playas and aquifer (amount, time to recharge, relative significance)

  • Skepticism about whether playa conservation would have any significant impact on depletion of the aquifer

  • Lack of knowledge about conservation programs available

  • Lack of sufficient lead time for signing up for conservation programs

  • Farmers/ranchers seek higher economic incentives

  • Tradition – most operators have been farming/grazing for generations


Recommendations

Recommendations

  • Target conservation programs, communications and outreach

    • Work in small, prioritized focal areas

    • Use local terminology

    • Promote aquifer recharge message, then wildlife benefits

    • Landowner Advisory Groups

  • Work with conservation groups to make programs more accessible and desirable

    • Adjust existing programs

    • Create new/supplemental programs

  • Maximize and promote economic incentives

    • Minimize sense of “government entanglement”


Biological planning

Biological Planning

Landscape Design

integrates societal values, sets biological goals, and uses sound science based in landscape ecology to provide a variety of scenario plans that describe where conservation can best be achieved and how it relates to measurable goals

  • Pattern, Process and Design

  • Acknowledges role of humans

  • Goal-based


Farming

Drivers

Farming

Tillage Likelihood

Model Development

  • Inputs

    • Past Tillage

    • Soils, Topography, Climate

  • Output

    • Likelihood of tillage in the future


Drivers farming

Drivers

Drivers - Farming

Future

Landscape Pattern / Process

Tillage Likelihood Model

2014 Playas yield 19% of Goal

Farmed Playaslose 4% of Goal

2019 Playas yield 15% of Goal


A plan to execute

A plan to execute

A Landscape Conservation Design


Integration with biological planning

Integration with Biological Planning

  • Areas of high wetland density

  • Areas with high rates of Aquifer depletion

  • Opportunities to form focal areas

    • Landowner participation

    • Benefit to wetland birds and Aquifer


Questions

Questions?


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