Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2019CO031B

Participatory Mapping of Colorado Watershed Ecosystem Services

Institute: Colorado
Year Established: 2019 Start Date: 2019-03-01 End Date: 2020-02-29
Total Federal Funds: $4,969 Total Non-Federal Funds: $2,584

Principal Investigators: Kelly Jones

Abstract: A number of CO watershed partnerships operate with the goal of securing clean, reliable water for surrounding communities. This is becoming increasingly difficult as wildfires of increasing severity and frequency threaten the watersheds that supply millions of people water along the Front Range. One strategy for protecting watersheds is to invest in fuels reduction to mitigate the effects of large, severe wildfires. Fuels reduction has a number of additional benefits in addition to protecting water supplies, including protecting non-market values and benefits such as recreation and wildlife habitat. However, a comprehensive map of the location and importance of protecting these additional benefits to CO’s watershed partnerships does not yet exist. The goal of this project would be to partner with at least one watershed partnership in CO to create a map of the ecosystem services benefits—e.g., clean water, recreation, wildlife habitat--that are valued by the general public and shareholders in that watershed. This would be a valuable tool for these watershed partnerships, in order to better inform land-use and watershed management decisions. We would create the map through a public participatory GIS (PPGIS) survey to the general public as well as a workshop with targeted shareholder groups. Participants will use a web application to locate and give a value weight to different ecosystem services in the watershed. With corresponding survey data for the participants we will characterize what factors, such as location in the watershed or organizational affiliation, are associated with different values. By spatially locating ecosystem service benefits, we will be able to better assist in creating watershed plans that address a diversity of individual and stakeholder needs.