Databases, Models, and Decision Support Tools

Science Center Objects

Today's natural resource managers must make effective decisions about broad-scale ecosystem processes occurring across the landscape, with complex interactions, numerous competing stakeholder demands, and highly uncertain outcomes. USGS scientists are applying tools from decision science such as structured decision making, adaptive management, and modeling that examines the outcome of a variety of management alternatives to invasive species issues to help managers make more informed resource allocation and management decisions.


Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database

The NAS program monitors, analyzes, and records sightings of non-native aquatic species throughout the United States to help fill information gaps on introduction pathways, geographic distribution, ecology, and impacts of NAS. These data empower our partners (Interior, Federal and State agencies) to target monitoring and control efforts with real time spatially explicit data. The database now contains over 173,000 records of over 1,000 aquatic species occurring outside of their native range.



Developing Ecological Forecasting Models for Invasive Species

FORT scientists are exploring the latest in species distribution modeling techniques, including determination of which techniques work better with different datasets, taxa, and spatial extents and resolutions. Predictive models developed at FORT are being used to create regional and national-scale assessments of invasion patterns, vulnerable habitats, and potential distributions of specific invaders, and to examine how all of these may be affected by changing climate.

Fluvial Egg Drift Simulator (FluEgg)

All aspects of Asian carp management, including predicting if and when Asian carp could negatively affect an ecosystem or the services it provides, require understanding Asian carp habitat use and life history characteristics. Extensive capabilities in Asian carp biology and life history research have led to the development of models, tools and strategies to better understand the risk of Asian carp establishment and survival. One risk assessment tool is the Fluvial Egg Drift Simulation Model (FluEgg). It incorporates egg and larval temperature-dependent development rates for Bighead Carp, Silver Carp, Grass Carp, and Black Carp with water temperature and flow conditions to predict where eggs and larvae will be located after a spawning event at different stages of development. This information is valuable to managers as they determine how best to focus prevention or control efforts. Scientists are now developing a web-based interactive decision support tool for the FluEgg model that will be made available to managers. 



Real-time Information on Asian Carp

USGS deployed and maintains a real time telemetry network in the Upper Illinois and Des Plaines Rivers to monitor and detect Asian carp below the electric barrier and prevent movement into the Great Lakes. Real-time information on invasive Asian carp (bighead and silver) movements and locations in the upper Illinois River system can inform removal efforts and other management responses. USGS has deployed 5 near real-time acoustic receivers at strategic locations in the upper Illinois River system. Three additional receivers will be deployed in 2018. Data from these receivers is automatically downloaded hourly and is available online at . State partners directing management efforts can use this information when determining where to direct monitoring and removal crews.


Satellite Tracking of Asian Carp

Understanding movements and habitat use of Bighead Carp and Silver Carp in the upper Illinois River system is critical to removal efforts in this management zone. Standard telemetry with manual tracking is limited in that personnel must locate fish using boats, receivers and hydrophones to determine movements and habitat use. Recent advances in telemetry with GPS and satellite tracking capabilities might make it possible to track individual fish from the office computer or smartphone 24-7. USGS is working collaboratively with Western Illinois University to test these technologies on Bighead Carp and Silver Carp in the upper Illinois River. We are currently tracking 5 of these fish in the Dresden Island Pool as part of this pilot study.




SAGEMAP is a GIS database for Sage-grouse and shrubsteppe management in the Intermountain West. The database is a portal that contains spatial information needed for research and management of sage-grouse and shrubsteppe habitats in the western United States.  The site was developed and is maintained by USGS.


Invasive Buffelfgrass

USGS is partnering with the National Park Service (NPS) and Northern Arizona University to detect invasive buffelgrass (Pennisetum ciliare) using a suite of remote sensing tools that range from sensors aboard Unmanned Aerial Systems to high-resolution satellite imagery. Buffelgrass is a non-native perennial grass that is rapidly spreading across NPS and adjacent lands in the Sonoran Desert. In contrast to sparsely distributed native Sonoran Desert vegetation, buffelgrass can form large, continuous monoculture patches that carry fire quickly and broadly across the landscape. Repeated exposure of non-fire adapted native plants to fires fueled by buffelgrass may ultimately transform ecosystems

NPS and partner agencies face tremendous challenges to detect and monitor buffelgrass with limited resources. Remote sensing approaches can complement NPS monitoring, while expanding the spatial scale and increasing the temporal frequency for more rapid detection. This project was recently selected by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) DEVELOP team to expand this work. The NASA DEVELOP team is a group of NASA remote sensing scientists that can increase the amount of imagery and processing capability we have to look at bufflegrass spread and treatment efficacy across southern Arizona. 


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