Wetland managers in arid regions have a difficult task of planning for water supplies and controlling invasive vegetation. Utah State University has developed a computer model that recommends varying the water levels in wetland units to effect an increase in productive habitat area….greatly improving migratory bird habitat.
In Utah a marshy wetland teaming with life is a cherished resource, but with shrinking water resources and invasive vegetation managing these areas is becoming more problematic. A team of experts applied the model to the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, an important feeding, resting and breeding ground for millions of migratory birds.
If the refuge managers apply the findings they could nearly double the area of productive wetlands habitat using existing resources. By dynamically altering water levels in wetland units at the refuge improves habitat for migratory birds. Adjusting water levels within wetland units more frequently also better corresponds to historical hydrologic conditions. The suggestion is also to focus the efforts to eradicate invasive species in the late summer instead of early fall.
The software shows how to best use the limited water , man power, and finances. It can quickly go through millions of possible solutions and find one that provides the most benefit.
Wetlands around the world are under increasing pressure, increased attention to these valuable resources is required. These dynamic ecosystems provide us with water storage, protection against flooding, recreation, eco tourism, hunting, habitat for wildlife , and much more.
This particular software program may not be all that is required , but surely is a step in the right direction.