GIS Graduate Seminar: Creating a Land Managment Plan for Sandhill Crane (Grus Canadensis)
Creating a Land Managment Plan for Sandhill Crane (Grus Canadensis)
Bret Lang, GIS certificate candidate, natural resource ecology and management
Adviser: Tim Stewart, associate professor, natural resource ecology and management
Sandhill cranes were once common across the state of Iowa until populations decreased drastically in the late 1800s due to European settlement. Although there have been sparse sightings, it wasn’t until 1992 that the first successful nesting pair in 98 years was discovered in Tama County. Since then, a number of Iowa environmental entities have made managing their lands for Sandhill crane nesting a priority. This has led to a need to develop methods that will aid in discovering Sandhill crane nesting sites as well as determining areas that have potential for nesting habitat restoration.
In 2014, Polk County Conservation made Sandhill cranes one of their priority species for conservation. One thing they desire is to develop a GIS model that will help identify potential Sandhill crane nesting sites as well as areas to prioritize for wetland development in their managed lands.
Using ArcGIS model builder, Lang developed a model that would allow Polk County Conservation to serve this purpose while needing only a raster land cover map as an initial input. He has also used ArcGIS model builder to create a GIS model that would create hotspots on locations with high wetland restoration potential.