EPSCOR RII Track 1: Managing Idaho's Landscapes for Ecosystem Services Grant uri icon

Overview

abstract

  • In this five-year project Idaho Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (ID-EPSCoR) seeks to advance understanding of feedbacks between social and ecological systems and ecosystem services in mid-sized cities in the face of climate change and urban growth. The program, Managing Idaho's Landscapes for Ecosystem Services (MILES), builds Idaho?s capacity to study complex social-ecological processes, especially those associated with water demand and valuation of ecosystem services. This research characterizes patterns of urban growth and ecological change, identify social drivers of urban growth and ecological change, identify valuable ecosystem services, construct an integrated modeling framework, develop visualization and virtualization tools, and generate and disseminate knowledge of social-ecological systems. The major participating institutions in this project are: University of Idaho, Boise State University and Idaho State University. Faculty and students from the College of Southern Idaho, Northern Idaho College, Lewis-Clark State College, College of Western Idaho and Eastern Idaho Technical College will also be engaged in this project.

    Intellectual Merit

    Idaho's urban areas are in a strong development phase and the border changes between Idaho's mid-sized cities and undeveloped land are accelerating. The development and expansion of urban population centers and its concomitant population growth are producing demographic and cultural shifts that are altering how ecosystem services are defined and valued. These dynamics are occurring against a backdrop of climate change and resource-demand change. This proposal seeks to advance understanding of feedbacks between social and ecological systems and ecosystem services in mid-sized cities in the face of climate change and urban growth. MILES builds Idaho's capacity to study complex social-ecological processes, especially those associated with water demand and valuation of ecosystem services. This research will characterize patterns of urban growth and ecological change, identify social drivers of urban growth and ecological change, identify valuable ecosystem services, construct an integrated modeling framework, develop visualization and virtualization tools, and generate and disseminate knowledge of social-ecological systems. Three study areas have been selected because of their different ecosystem services demands, water provisioning, and urban growth trajectories: Boise/Treasure Valley, Coeur d'Alene/Post Falls, and Pocatello/Idaho Falls. 

    Broader Impacts

    This project has the potential for transformative knowledge generation that reaches beyond the place-based study and is applicable to other semi-arid, mid-sized cities undergoing growth, both nationally and internationally. New STEM and mentoring programs and workshops will specifically focus on recruiting females, Native Americans, Hispanics and other minorities, while K-12 activities will focus on underserved populations. MILES Undergraduate Research Internships (MURI) will provide 300 undergraduate scholarships to engage Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) undergraduates in hands-on, paid summer and academic year research experiences. The proposers will strive to have significant participation of URMs in the MURI activity. The Bringing and Learning Communities program will leverage field-based MILES experiences at each of the study sites for cohorts of college faculty, 1st year undergraduates, high school STEM teachers, high school juniors and seniors, and Idaho Public TV journalists. The activities are designed to foster broad stakeholder and public engagement. Idaho EPSCoR has ambitious goals for recruitment and retention of women, underrepresented minority (URM) students and faculty and students from Idaho's 100 existing STEM Pipeline K-12 programs and five PUIs. The societal benefit of these activities will be the improved public understanding of ecosystems and their services, and improved quality of life and ecosystem health as a result a greater ability to provide science-based decisions that support sustainability.

total award amount

  • $8,000,000

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