2007 Progress Report: Non-Linear Response of Prairie Pothole Landscapes to Climate Change and Land Management

EPA Grant Number: R833016
Title: Non-Linear Response of Prairie Pothole Landscapes to Climate Change and Land Management
Investigators: Johnson, Carter , Guntenspergen, Glenn R. , Millett, Bruce V , Fay, Phil , Adams, Richard , Voldseth, Richard
Current Investigators: Johnson, Carter , Olker, Jennifer H. , Guntenspergen, Glenn R. , Millett, Bruce V , Rashford, Ben , Werner, Brett , Tulbure, Mirela , Fay, Phil , Adams, Richard , Voldseth, Richard
Institution: South Dakota State University , United States Geological Survey [USGS] , Oregon State University
Current Institution: South Dakota State University , Oregon State University , United States Geological Survey [USGS]
EPA Project Officer: Packard, Benjamin H
Project Period: July 1, 2006 through July 31, 2010 (Extended to December 31, 2010)
Project Period Covered by this Report: July 1, 2006 through July 31, 2007
Project Amount: $856,574
RFA: Nonlinear Responses to Global Change in Linked Aquatic and Terrestrial Ecosystems and Effects of Multiple Factors on Terrestrial Ecosystems: A Joint Research Solicitation- EPA, DOE (2005) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Global Climate Change , Ecosystems , Climate Change


Our research has five objectives:

  1. Use and modify as needed a new climate driven wetland dynamics model (WETLANDSCAPE) to identify and characterize threshold responses of prairie potholes to climate change and land management.
  2. Select model output variables and develop indices known to be climate sensitive and to exert significant control of biodiversity in potholes.
  3. Evaluate with field data the role of existing and potential terrestrial land management (farming) practices coded in WETLANDSCAPE.
  4. Simulate thresholds in model responses to climate change and human-induced land management alternatives.
  5. Continue monitoring of wetland surface water and groundwater well levels at two long-term field sites to facilitate model testing.

Progress Summary:

Consistent with objective (1), our team has completed modification and calibration of WETLANDSCAPE in preparation for our first set of papers examining the effect of climate change on the prairie wetland complex. For these analyses, an additional weather station at Regina, Saskatchewan was added to our already established 18 station network to fill a geographic gap in coverage. We also developed a new series of temperature and precipitation scenarios for our modeling based on the most recent IPCC GCM’s (IPCC 2007). Work during this first year to generate possible future climates outside the confines of historic climate using CLIMGEN will be used in our second set of papers. This will enable us to use climate scenarios in our model simulations with modified seasonal patterns of temperature and precipitation.

Consistent with objective (5), model parameterization and calibration in the future will be improved by having upgraded stage recorders at our Orchid Meadows and Crystal Springs field sites, completed in fall of 2006. Water levels in 28 wetlands are now estimated every 30 minutes during the growing season, compared to 2 week intervals during our previous studies. Weather data from our Orchid Meadows field site also has greatly improved by installation of a remote weather station in 2006 with real time access via the internet.

Two meetings were held during the first year to include an agricultural economic framework in our prairie wetlands and climate change research. The first meeting was held in Corvallis, Oregon, and the second in Brookings, South Dakota. Our initial discussions focused on using existing least-cost economic models to drive potential impacts of climate change on upland land-use decisions. This component of our project is still in a formative stage because of the need to work out methods of linking disparate economic and ecological models. At this point, we have settled on adopting two models with agricultural economic components (Mallard Model-USF&WS; Econometric/land-use models of JunJie Wu at Oregon State University). WETLANDSCAPE is currently being modified to simulate land use change at the watershed level.

Also during the first year consistent with objective (2), we examined the life histories of several wetland groups of species likely to be affected by shortened hydroperiods in prairie wetlands caused by climate change. To date, we have focused on waterfowl and amphibians to discover thresholds of wetland water regime that would prohibit these groups from completing their life cycles. Regarding amphibians, for example, the Northern leopard frog (Rana pipiens) is an early breeder that initiates calling soon after ice-out (typically April or early May in the PPR). Development from egg to metamorphic R. pipiens occurs in 80-120 days, with young usually emerging in July and August. This species prefers to breed in seasonal wetlands (shallower and more vegetated) immediately surrounded by grassland and in areas of high wetland density and low proportion of agricultural land use. R. pipiens spend much of their life in the upland, both as adults and dispersing metamorphs. Adults can travel up to 1.5 km from water and will move approximately 100 m each night in the fall (for a total distance of 4.5 km). Using these habitat preferences, and knowledge of their reproductive behavior, we can investigate the potential impacts of climate change (increased temperatures, decreased rainfall) on this species at the local wetland complex and broader landscape-regional scales.

Future Activities:

  1. Annual PI meeting in Brookings, SD, October 25-26, 2007
  2. Complete modifications and calibration of WETLANDSCAPE to incorporate land use alternatives as a means of identifying the role that upland management could play in mitigating climate change effects.
  3. Complete linkage of ecological and economic models
  4. Finish and submit first set of papers using the model WETLANDSCAPE
  5. Develop biodiversity condition indices to “score” different climates on their ability to support wetland biodiversity and productivity
  6. Run WETLANDSCAPE under climate change scenarios and land management alternatives for the stations in our geographic network to identify temporal and spatial threshold effects across the PPR.

Journal Articles on this Report : 2 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other project views: All 58 publications 7 publications in selected types All 6 journal articles
Type Citation Project Document Sources
Journal Article Millett B, Johnson WC, Guntenspergen G. Climate trends of the North American prairie pothole region 1906-2000. Climatic Change 2009;93(1-2):243-267. R833016 (2007)
R833016 (2009)
R833016 (2010)
R833016 (Final)
  • Full-text: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources-Full Text PDF
  • Abstract: Springer-Abstract
  • Other: ResearchGate-Full Text PDF
  • Journal Article Voldseth RA, Johnson WC, Gilmanov T, Guntenspergen GR, Millett BV. Model estimation of land-use effects on water levels of northern Prairie wetlands. Ecological Applications 2007;17(2):527-540. R833016 (2007)
    R833016 (2008)
    R833016 (Final)
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Full-text: ResearchGate-Full Text PDF
  • Abstract: ESA-Abstract
  • Supplemental Keywords:

    ecological effects, ecosystem, scaling, modeling, climate models, biodiversity, threshold, North Dakota-ND, South Dakota-SD, Iowa-IO, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Air, climate change, Air Pollution Effects, Environmental Monitoring, Ecological Risk Assessment, Atmosphere, anthropogenic stress, biodiversity, environmental stressors, ecosystem impacts, landscape characterization, climate variability, Global Climate Change

    Relevant Websites:

    http://wetlandscape.sdstate.org Exit

    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
  • 2008 Progress Report
  • 2009 Progress Report
  • 2010 Progress Report
  • Final Report