Joint Ecosystem Modeling: Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow Helper

Science Center Objects

The Sparrow Helper tool allows for the evaluation of water management scenarios by generating, plotting, and mapping hydrologic metrics across a range of time scales to predict impacts of proposed water depth changes to sparrow subpopulations.

Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow

Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow (Credit: Stephanie Romanach, USGS)

The Science Issue and Relevance: Joint Ecosystem Modeling (JEM), a partnership among federal and state agencies, universities, and other organizations, is a long-term project for developing ecological models for Florida’s Greater Everglades ecosystem. Water managers and other decision-makers use ecological models to understand how competing restoration scenarios may impact species of concern and make more informed restoration decisions. JEM provides ecological model output tailored to management decisions. The Cape Sable seaside sparrow (CSSS; Ammodramus maritimus mirabilis) is a federally endangered species endemic to south Florida and an indicator species of marl prairie, a highly diverse freshwater community in the Everglades. The Sparrow Helper tool, developed in collaboration with Everglades National Park, provides habitat suitability metrics for historical and real-time scenario evaluation to inform the Endangered Species Act consultation process.

Methodology for Addressing the Issue: The Sparrow Helper tool allows for the evaluation of water management scenarios by generating, plotting, and mapping hydrologic metrics across a range of time scales to predict impacts of proposed water depth changes to sparrow subpopulations. The software provides a graphical user interface (GUI) that makes running the model intuitive and straightforward. Model inputs are daily water depth and subpopulation locations (provided). Model outputs are hydrologic metrics as they relate to target values for CSSS subpopulations provided as CSVs, NetCDFs, maps, and plots. The model is available at jem.gov.

Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow critical habitat boundaries and survey locations in south Florida

Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow critical habitat boundaries and survey locations in south Florida

Future Steps: The Sparrow Helper tool was designed to provide decision support for water managers and decision-makers. Outputs can be used to evaluate water management or restoration scenarios across a range of time scales to increase understanding of the impacts of water level changes to CSSS subpopulations. These metrics, supported by over 20 years of sparrow observations, can help inform real-time water management decisions.

Related Project(s): Joint Ecosystem Modeling, Everglades Forecasting (EVER4CAST), CSSS Marl Prairie Indicator

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daily depths by year (dots) and sparrow hydrologic preferences (rectangles) for subpopulation F

Daily depths by year (dots) and sparrow hydrologic preferences (rectangles) for subpopulation F