Publication Date


Committee Chair

Fang Ren, Ph.D.

Committee Members

Mark P. Kumler, Ph.D.


In environmental and conservation fields, managers and other decision makers need to prioritize their efforts to specific areas using multiple-criteria decision analysis, to maximize environmental protection given limitations of budget and time. However, creating these prioritization models requires a combination of both scientific and technical skills, and many of those with the expertise to create scientifically sound prioritization models have limited time to devote to the technical aspects of the analysis. There was a need to automate this analysis process to enable scientists and other decision makers to quickly repeat analyses with different criteria and compare the results.

This project automated a wetland prioritization analysis in California for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) into a collection of ArcGIS ModelBuilder tools. This project then created a GIS web application to enable USFWS employees to re-do the prioritization analysis with different weights for the various ecological factors that were included in the analysis (such as endangered species habitat, important bird areas, etc.). With the analysis process thus simplified, scientists and decision makers in the USFWS can now apply current and evolving scientific knowledge and compare wetland priorities in a multiple criteria decision analysis framework.

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