The goal of this project was to use a Geographic Information System (GIS) to locate areas within Linn County , Iowa for prairie restoration and preservation. GIS is a growing technology that allows researchers to organize a variety of spatial data, such as geological, environmental and political data, in a single database and conduct extensive analysis.
This project was conducted from the perspective of a small-scale organization or individual interested in private preservation. As a result, the chosen criteria attempt to minimize acquisition and management costs while maximizing potential biodiversity and quality of land. Data were collected from a variety of public sources including the Iowa DNR and the Iowa Geological Survey. Criteria included geological features, agricultural potential and current land use. Based on these criteria over a hundred possible sites were located, primarily in the northern part of the county. Further restrictions based on sightings of threatened or endangered species, and the elimination of sites already protected, narrowed the list of potential sites to twelve. The three most promising areas were then determined from satellite photos by visual criteria.
The results of this project provide a framework for locating areas for prairie restoration through cost-benefit analysis. The criteria are flexible to the requirements of any type of firm or individual seeking to protect the environment.
Micah Pollak , ’05 Fairfield , IA
Majors: Economics & Business and Environmental Studies
Sponsor: Paul Garvin