Cooperatove Conservation Project

Great Plains Geographic Information Systems Partnership

The Hub of High-Tech Bird Conservation

Location: Midwest/Northern High Plains Region: Kansas Nebraska Wyoming
South-Central/South-West Region: Colorado New Mexico Oklahoma Texas

Project Summary: Project facilitates collaboration, communication and reduces redundancy in GIS data development for bird habitat assessment and conservation.
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Map produced by Playa Lakes Joint Venture staff
Resource Challenge

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology has rapidly evolved over the last 20 years and has become a cornerstone for biological planning.  As this technology has become more widely accepted, multiple agencies are applying it for conservation planning and program delivery, resulting in extensive overlap of efforts. In the Great Plains, separate GIS efforts were underway by the Playa Lakes (PLJV) and Rainwater Basin (RWBJV) Joint Ventures, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).  To facilitate collaboration, communication and reduce redundancy in GIS data development, the organizations formed the Great Plains GIS Partnership (GPGP) in January 2004, combining resources and professionals in a central office in Grand Island, Nebraska.

The GPGP enables staff from the USFWS, RWBJV, and PLJV to work together and share expertise, experience, data, and equipment while working on separate projects in similar landscapes.  Developing this type of communication network allows for efficient and effective use of talent, equipment, and funding to cooperatively develop data as well as reduce the potential for redundant data production.

Examples of Key Partners

The primary participants of the GPGP are the Playa Lakes Joint Venture, Rainwater Basin Joint Venture, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, and the Central Platte Natural Resources District.  Each of these organizations in turn is supported by additional state and private partners such as the Nebraska Partnership for All-Bird Conservation, Ducks Unlimited, Conoco-Phillips, and the Colorado Division of Wildlife.


Results and Accomplishments
  • Creation of the first land cover map identifying all bird habitats within the short- and mixed-grass prairie ecoregions, an area encompassing more than 300,000 square miles and parts of six states. 
  • Centralizing GIS resources and professional expertise has resulted in significant reduction in workload, investment and redundancy of efforts for all partners.
  • Diversity of GIS expertise among the partners results in more robust and comprehensive biological landscape-level models for bird conservation planning efforts across the region.

The GPGP provides landscape-level bird conservation planning models to partners that could otherwise not afford them.

Project Contact
Karin Callahan
GIS Team Leader
Playa Lakes Joint Venture
C/O USFWS 203 W 2nd St.
Grand Island, NE 68801
(308) 382-6468 ex 38
Andy Bishop
GIS Manager
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
203 W 2nd St.
Grand Island, NE 68801
(308) 382-6468 ex 36

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