Making the leap from science to implementation: Strategic agricultural conservation in Michigan's Saginaw Bay watershed

Journal of Great Lakes Research
Fales, Mary; Dell, Randal; Herbert, Matthew E.; Sowa, Scott P.; Asher, Jeremiah; O'Neil, Glenn; Doran, Patrick J.; Wickerham, Benjamin
SourceWeb of Science
Volume / Issue42 / 6
Pages1372 - 1385
Total Pages13 pages
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Tagsagricultural conservation; Great Lakes; Saginaw Bay watershed; regional conservation partnership program; fish community; agriculture
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Publication DateDecember 01, 2016
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AbstractThere is growing evidence that addressing nonpoint source pollution within intensely agricultural regions of the Great Lakes will require innovative solutions to achieve meaningful ecological outcomes. Recognizing this, a broad coalition of partners is collaborating across Michigan's Saginaw Bay watershed to develop and test innovative approaches to achieve the vision of Strategic Agricultural Conservation. The strategy focuses on using science, technology, and new ways of incentivizing practices and delivering services to producers to address challenges and barriers to Strategic Agricultural Conservation. It uses science to model relations between conservation actions, water quality and fish community health, allowing the coalition to establish realistic ecological outcomes and both short and long-term implementation goals at a variety of scales. It uses a decision tool and pay-for-performance methods to strategically target conservation practices and increase their efficiency. It uses nontraditional partners to help increase the ability to engage landowners and streamlined the application process to help increase landowner participation. Finally, it uses secure, privacy respecting, methods to track practices and progress towards short and long-term goals. Herein we present three case studies that demonstrate the practical application of this strategy including developing and testing new innovative conservation programs across the Saginaw Bay watershed. The success of this work will ultimately be determined by a variety of factors that affect conservation at landscape scales. However, what is clear is that without the science and complementary decision tool, this collaborative adaptive management approach would be impossible to implement across such a large geography.
Created: 12/14/2017 10:30 AM (ET)
Modified: 1/3/2019 4:44 PM (ET)
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