MILES Research on Ecosystem Services
Click an icon below to discover how MILES researchers are studying ecosystem services.
LOCAL CLIMATE & AIR QUALITY
MILES researchers are studying the ways forests contribute to water availability by sampling trees in the Gibson Jack watershed to determine the amount of precipitation used by trees compared to the amount provided to local streams.
MILES researchers are investigating the supply of fresh water for human consumption by studying aquifer processes and groundwater properties in the Portneuf and Boise River Valleys including: 1) pathways of groundwater recharge, 2) rates of consumption by agriculture and household users, 3) concentrations of excess nutrients from septic tank leakage, and 4) the degree of concern among the public about clean drinking water.
- Water Scarcity across Watershed SES
- . Aquifer Processes in the Lower Portneuf ISEED
- . Effects of Climate Change on the Boise River Basin
- Water Quality and Risk Perception
- . Groundwater Quality in Growing Mid-Sized Cities
- . Groundwater Quality in the Portneuf Aquifer
- . Water Quality Data and Public Perceptions of Rivers
- . Public Perceptions of Water Resources
MODERATION OF EXTREME EVENTS
MILES researchers are conducting studies related to how extreme events have influenced the social-ecological systems of which they are a part by 1) examining the geological record from the Holocene Era (last ~11,000 years) to place recent data within a context that includes periodic extreme events, 2) researching the influence historical floods have had on the concrete channelization of the Portneuf River Channel Pocatello and on present data urban water management, and 3) informing a conversation with the community about whether or not Pocatello citizens want to maintain built flood control of the Portneuf River.
MILES researchers are addressing the food the land provides by 1) investigating how land management decisions and climate change may affect future water use and crop yield, 2) learning from farmers what they plan to do with their land, and 3) predicting future demand for irrigated water under climate change scenarios.
- . Agriculture Transitions: Water/Land-Use Change in Treasure Valley
- Agricultural Water Use Futures in the Treasure Valley
- . Quantifying the Impacts of Climate Change
- Urban-Rural Changes in Boise and Portneuf Basins ISEED
- Predicting Water Availability in Treasure Valley
- . Irrigation and Climate Change Integration
- . Ecosystem Services and Idaho Farmers (2015 poster), (2016 poster)
- More about Ecosystem Services and Idaho's Farmers
WATER PURIFICATION & QUALITY
MILES researchers are increasing our understanding of how ecosystems process nutrients by collecting samples in Fernan Lake to calculate sediment and phosphorus loading rates and to understand how natural processes and phosphorus inputs into the lake contribute to summer algal blooms.
EROSION PREVENTION & SOIL FERTILITY
MILES researchers are addressing the effects of soil erosion and benefits of vegetative cover in preventing erosion by 1) investigating the upland sources of sediment to Marsh Creek and the Portneuf River and matching the source to potential remediation strategies, 2) using models to predict sediment and phosphorus transport at the watershed scale under different climate and forest management scenarios, and 3) measuring the levels of available phosphorus associated with different types of land cover.
HABITAT FOR SPECIES
MILES researchers are conducting studies to reveal patterns in species diversity and communities over space and time, such as 1) how changes in fisheries management and prey availability contribute to osprey habitat, 2) differences in the benthic invertebrate communities found in the main stem and tributaries of the Portneuf River, 3) the status of various taxa (e.g., fish, amphibians, reptile) over the last 100 years in the Portneuf River watershed, and 4) the history of vegetation communities in the Fernan Lake watershed through the Holocene Era (last ~11,000 years).
SPIRITUALITY & SENSE OF PLACE
MILES researchers are evaluating the sense of place connectedness experienced by farmers in the Pocatello and Boise areas across generations. Near Coeur d'Alene, landowners at Fernan Lake share local knowledge and resources with MILES scientists to address water quality concerns.
- Urban-Rural Changes in Boise and Portneuf Basins ISEED
- . Stakeholder Values, Land Use, and Trade-offs
- . Survey of Land Use Change and Connection to Place
- Community Connection & Perceptions of the Portneuf
- . Science and Local Knowledge Reciprocity (poster)
- Science and Local Knowledge Reciprocity (newsletter)
MILES researchers are using exclusion experiments to study the effects predatory birds and bats have on plant-eating insects, the shrubs they eat, and the chemistry of the leaves that fall from those shrubs, as well as the effect human noise has on all of these variables.
MILES researchers are investigating the value that nature provides for aesthetic appreciation in varied ways. Across all study sites, researchers are using models to determine if water quality and clarity have an effect on waterfront property values. In Pocatello, researchers are gathering direct information from local residents about places along the Portneuf River they value by asking them to contribute images and statements to an online community map of the river.
- . Water Quality and Property Values (poster)
- Water Quality and Property Values (journal article)
- . The Health of Our Lakes (video)
- . Community Mapping of the Portneuf
- Stakeholder Survey and Community Photography
- Ecology and Community Perceptions of the Portneuf
- How Environmental Perception Influences River Mgmt
- . Seeing the Past, Envisioning the Future Portneuf River
MILES researchers are exploring the value of play provided by Idaho's lands and the interaction between these activities and other ecosystem services by examining 1) the recreation choices people make in the Owyhees and their effects on the golden eagles that nest there, 2) how OHV trails affect wildlife habitat across the state, and 3) the physiological responses of outdoor recreation.
Many of the research questions asked at the MILES study site in Northern Idaho are indirectly linked to tourism, as this is a main driver of the economy in the Coeur d’Alene area. Concerns regarding the quality of lake waters for viewing and recreating ultimately are related to tourism based on Lake Coeur d’Alene and lakes in the surrounding area (e.g., Fernan, Hayden).