Delineating Optimal Wetland Habitat Corridors for Inclusion in Migratory Flyways

EPA Grant Number: R825996
Title: Delineating Optimal Wetland Habitat Corridors for Inclusion in Migratory Flyways
Investigators: ReVelle, Charles , Boland, John , Williams, Justin , Snyder, Stephanie
Current Investigators: ReVelle, Charles , Bain, Daniel , Boland, John , Williams, Justin , Malcolm, Scott
Institution: The Johns Hopkins University
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: October 1, 1997 through September 30, 1999
Project Amount: $227,858
RFA: Decision-Making and Valuation for Environmental Policy (1997) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Environmental Justice


In recent decades, populations of some species of migratory birds have reached critically low levels. A primary cause of these population declines is thought to be the loss or degradation of suitable wetland habitat for breeding, wintering, and staging within migratory flyways. Although each part of a flyway is critical to a species' success, those portions of Western Hemisphere flyways that fall in the lower 48 States are under the greatest threat of habitat loss. Of particular concern is the Atlantic flyway, which is one of four major North American flyways and which overlaps the highly developed Atlantic coast region. Here, large portions of the original inland and coastal wetland habitats have already been lost, and the region will continue to face intense economic pressures to development wetlands. This proposed research will focus on wetland protection issues in the Atlantic flyway because of the critical nature of land use decisions for both species survival and economic development.

The objective of this research is to develop a methodology for systematically identifying and evaluating alternative configurations of wetland habitat sites which could be set aside as protected migration habitat corridors within the Atlantic flyway. These corridors would be delineated in coordination with, and could potentially be added to, the existing system of wildlife refuges and other protected wetlands in the flyway.


Federal and state GIS wetlands databases, including the National Wetlands Inventory, will be used to identify eligible wetlands for inclusion within a protected flyway system. Cost data, including approximate land values and wetland restoration costs, will be gathered. Multiobjective mathematical programming models will be formulated to generate and evaluate alternative wetland corridors which, if given protected status, can help meet the habitat needs of migratory birds. These models will generate corridor configurations which are optimal with respect to the objectives that might be specified, including minimizing corridor cost, maximizing the amount of habitat within the corridor, and ensuring a suitable geographic distribution of habitat. Tradeoffs between cost and habitat protection will be examined.

Expected Results:

The proposed research will provide useful information about alternative flyway corridor configurations. This information will be helpful in developing and analyzing wetland policies and activities administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and other natural resource agencies and organizations. Program and policy areas of relevance include: fulfillment of wetlands habitat management and acquisition recommendations made in the North American Waterfowl Management Plan and Endangered Species Act Recovery Plan; wetlands planning and mitigation banking; ecosystem restoration planning; and new uses for Department of Defense lands.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 3 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 1 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

flyways, wetland policy, migration corridors., RFA, Economic, Social, & Behavioral Science Research Program, Scientific Discipline, decision-making, Ecology and Ecosystems, Economics & Decision Making, ecosystem valuation, coastal wetlands, valuation, migratory birds, decision analysis, environmental policy, landscape ecology, mathematical program models, optimal wetland habitat corridors, aquatic ecosystems, GIS, migratory flyways, land use

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1998
  • Final Report