Utilizing GIS to Locate Endangered Gravel Hill Prairies of the Wabash River Valley

Ryan Schroeder
Purdue University
Ryan Schroeder is a senior at Purdue University studying Natural Resources and Environmental Science with a minor in soil science. Since his freshman year, he has conducted research under Dr. Darrell Schulze on the Integrating Spatial Educational Experiences (ISEE) soils mapping tool. He has volunteered with NICHES Land Trust as a volunteer property steward since 2014, assisted with numerous prescribed burns, and conducted a number of independent volunteer geospatial analysis projects. Ryan is the president of the Purdue Environmental Science Club (ESC) and has organized several club volunteer workdays with NICHES to assist in management activities. Acknowledging his environmental stewardship work, he was awarded the Morris K. and Stewart L. Udall Scholarship in 2016. He will work as a range technician for the U.S. Forest Service in Bighorn National Forest in Wyoming before attending graduate school studying rangeland management in the western U.S. after graduating from Purdue in May 2017.
Other presenters/researchers: 
Contributors: Darrell Schulze & Songlin Fei, Purdue University; Derek Luchik, The Nature Conservancy; Bob Easter, Gus Nyberg, & Brad Weigel, NICHES Land Trust

The Gravel Hill Prairies (GHP’s) of the Wabash River Valley are an endangered ecosystem in Indiana and provide optimal growing conditions for seven state endangered plants. Currently only four remnants are known to exist near Lafayette, IN, found by a previous study conducted in 1980. These ecosystems have been found to occur on soils classified as Rodman Gravelly Loams and Strawn-Rodman complexes which occur predominantly along the outwash terraces of the Wabash River and its tributaries. This research effort aimed to develop GIS maps to scout for and discover areas of unknown GHP remnants. The goal of the project is to assist conservation groups in the development of a strategy to preserve previously undiscovered remnants. Analysis have located a total of 809 areas of interest, of which 47 have been visited. These field scouting trips have found four GHP remnants, one tallgrass prairie remnant, and numerous high quality open-oak woodlands.

Poster Division: 
Student