Project ID



The team developed a spatially targeted conservation planning scheme to foster water quality decision making in centeral Iowa's Big Creek watershed. The scheme is foundational to the potential development of a Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) for the watershed. Big Creek watershed is an ideal Iowa location for this project because of the proximity of ecosystem service providers (farmers) to a large number of beneficiaries (water users).

Key Question

Can we use existing land use and biophysical data and emerging GIS-based planning tools to provide efficient conservation planning for Iowa?


The research team answered this question by combining knowledge of Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy-approved practices with existing GIS data layers and tools, scenario development, and economic analysis.

Principal Investigator(s)

Lisa Schulte Moore

Principal Investigator(s) Bio

Lisa Schulte-Moore is an associate professor in ISU's Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management. She has in-depth training in landscape ecology, particularly as applied to forest and avian ecology. She moved to Iowa in 2003 and has expanded her research interests into agroecology and the socioeconomic facets of sustainable land management. She is a fellow in the Leopold Leadership Program at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.


John Tyndall, Tom Isenhart, Matt Helmers

Year of Grant Completion