Science and Planning
By identifying new conservation opportunities and funding sources to support conservation of working wet meadows, Water 4 builds partnerships among agricultural and conservation organizations, identifies synergistic opportunities, and expedites and expands conservation delivery. Water 4 strives to develop effective communications to help the agricultural community tell the story of the value of working wet meadows in the Intermountain West and destigmatize flood irrigation practices.
Understanding the perspectives of the landowners is important in balancing the needs of agricultural production and profitability.
In 2017-18, conservation partners in the Intermountain West undertook a human dimensions research project to better understand the relationship between working wet meadows, agricultural production, and bird habitat. The purpose of the project was to learn from landowners about their conservation activities, especially their attitudes regarding flood irrigation and what they consider when making irrigation and other land management decisions. Understanding the perspectives of the landowners is important in balancing the needs of agricultural production and profitability. Read more about this human dimensions research project.
In 2018, important information gaps were filled relative to spatiotemporal dynamics of wetland and irrigated habitats providing data through new SONEC Wetland Dynamic Assessments. In 2019, the IWJV revised waterfowl population goals to update SONEC conservation planning objectives for both fall and spring migration, coordinate planning efforts with partners in the SONEC region, and deliver recently completed wetland evaluations to partners to inform their conservation delivery programs.
Sandhill crane research completed in 2020 began to link bird movements to shifting land use and climatic patterns that influence wetland resiliency. And, to better understand how changing policies intended to increase water use efficiencies may be affecting bird populations, a new white-faced ibis project was completed in 2021.