Presenter: Ellen Audia, GIS certificate candidate, natural resource ecology and management
Advisors: Lisa Schulte Moore, professor, natural resource ecology and management, and John Tyndall, associate professor, natural resource ecology and management
Shifts in U.S. agriculture from small, diverse farms to large, high-input monocultures have contributed to food security and economic growth, but also to environmental impairments such as nutrient and sediment loading and biodiversity loss. In response, many conservationists are spatially targeting best management practices (BMPs) across agricultural landscapes to more efficiently focus time and resources.
In this analysis, Audia developed a multi-objective spatial optimization model to target BMPs across East Big Creek watershed of central Iowa. She used the Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework (ACPF), the ACPF Financial Tool and the Healthy Farm Index (HFI) to inform the optimal placement of contour buffer strips, riparian buffers and nutrient retention wetlands across the watershed so that water quality and biodiversity were maximized subject to a range of cost constraints.
Both the methodology and the output landscapes from this analysis can help inform land-use planning in East Big Creek and other watersheds.
Presenter: Tim Tobin, GIS certificate candidate, community and regional planning
Advisor: Monica Haddad, associate professor, community and regional planning
Access to open space, whether that be public parks, trails or green space, is a vital component of healthy communities worldwide. Active time spent in open spaces is associated with known physical and mental health benefits such as stress management and improved concentration. Accessibility to such spaces can be considered a uniquely urban challenge for some; that is not all populations have equal opportunity to use and enjoy outdoor spaces with ease.
The goal of this project is to identify areas where accessibility to open space is a challenge and which communities this impacts, including those living in poverty conditions. This project will use open-source secondary data to perform exploratory spatial analysis of the placement of and accessibility to open spaces within four counties of Central Iowa.