Optimization of Salt Marsh Management at the Rhode Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex Through Use of Structured Decision Making

Metadata Updated: January 29, 2020

The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, applied an existing, regional framework for structured decision making to develop a prototype tool for optimizing salt marsh management decisions at the Rhode Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex. Refuge biologists, refuge managers, and research scientists identified multiple potential management actions to improve the ecological integrity of nine salt marsh units within the refuge and estimated the outcomes of each action in terms of performance metrics associated with each management objective. Value functions previously developed at the regional level were used to transform metric scores to a common utility scale, and utilities were summed to produce a single score representing the total management benefit that would be accrued from each potential management action. Constrained optimization was used to identify the set of management actions, one per salt marsh unit, that would maximize total management benefits at different cost constraints at the refuge scale. Results indicated that for the objectives and actions considered here, total management benefits would increase consistently up to approximately $150,000, but that further expenditures would yield diminishing return on investment. Management actions selected within optimal portfolios at total costs less than $150,000 included digging runnels (by hand or machine) on the marsh surface to improve drainage in eight management units, applying sediment to the marsh surface (thin layer deposition) in one management unit, constructing islands for use by tidal marsh obligate birds in two management units, and controlling Phragmites australis in one management unit. The management benefits were derived from expected improvements in the capacity for marsh elevation to keep pace with sea-level rise and increases in numbers of spiders (as an indicator of trophic health) and tidal marsh obligate birds. The prototype presented here provides a framework for decision making at the Rhode Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex that can be updated as new data and information become available.

Access & Use Information

Public: This dataset is intended for public access and use. License: No license information was provided. If this work was prepared by an officer or employee of the United States government as part of that person's official duties it is considered a U.S. Government Work.

Downloads & Resources




Metadata Created Date January 29, 2020
Metadata Updated Date January 29, 2020

Metadata Source

Harvested from DOI Open Data

Additional Metadata

Resource Type Dataset
Metadata Created Date January 29, 2020
Metadata Updated Date January 29, 2020
Publisher Fish and Wildlife Service
Unique Identifier FWS_ServCat_114404
Brent Frakes
Maintainer Email
Public Access Level public
Bureau Code 010:18
Metadata Context https://project-open-data.cio.gov/v1.1/schema/catalog.jsonld
Metadata Catalog ID C:\Program Files (x86)\FWS\DataStore\Application\OpenData\FWS_ServCat_v1_1.json
Schema Version https://project-open-data.cio.gov/v1.1/schema
Catalog Describedby https://project-open-data.cio.gov/v1.1/schema/catalog.json
Harvest Object Id 8d99998c-5be3-4e66-b371-feba04159cae
Harvest Source Id 5b7e4031-1e2d-428b-92e2-56554bbd7371
Harvest Source Title DOI Open Data
Data First Published 2019-10-31
Homepage URL https://ecos.fws.gov/ServCat/Reference/Profile/114404
Data Last Modified 2019-10-31
Program Code 010:094, 010:028
Related Documents "https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20191103", "https://ecos.fws.gov/ServCat/Reference/Profile/114404"
Source Datajson Identifier true
Source Hash 1c4ca03f50fe8142f529da4d468a7485354d80e9
Source Schema Version 1.1
Spatial -71.69906,41.35266,-71.2374954,41.49438
Temporal 2012-01-01/2014-01-01
Category "Published Report"

Didn't find what you're looking for? Suggest a dataset here.