Analysis of Tradeoffs among Wetland Ecosystem Services in Le Sueur Watershed (South Minnesota)

Research Sponsored By: US Forest Service
Principal Investigator: Sergey Rabotyagov
Project Description
Wetland ecosystems provide important ecosystem services that are often underestimated. Many wetlands were been converted into agricultural fields, and their services are no longer provided. Restoration of these ecosystems can benefit the provision of the services; however, it might require significant financial investment. Using Le Sueur watershed in South Minnesota as a study site, we will analyze the provision of identified ecosystem services in restored wetlands. Specifically, we will quantify how water quality, defined as sediment loading, and wildlife habitat change if different portions of the watershed are restored. Additionally, carbon sequestration is an important benefit that will be considered in the scope of this project. To achieve the quantitative and analytical goals of this project, we will use mathematical modeling and mixed-integer programming. Using these tools, we expect to obtain an analysis of the tradeoffs between the management and ecological goals and propose different spatial plans that account for different priorities, both environmental and financial.