Biological Planning enables efficient Conservation Design. Conservation Design includes the creation of decision support tools to assist land managers in selecting appropriate conservation actions on the lands they manage, designation of priority areas for conservation actions, and determination of the quantity and spatial orientation of habitat needed to achieve bird population objectives.
An example of Conservation Design employed by the GCJV is the Laguna Madre Redhead Model. Applicable to the Lower Texas Coast, this tool guides freshwater wetland conservation for the benefit of Redhead ducks that winter there. Biological Planning provides the assumption that one of the most important limiting factors for Redhead ducks wintering in the Laguna Madre of Texas is availability of freshwater drinking sources in proximity to the birds' favored food source, shoalgrass (Halodule wrightii) where that plant grows in accessible water depths. Using a GIS-generated map (the decision support tool) depicting existing freshwater sources and available shoalgrass resources, land managers can make decisions regarding which existing water sources to protect, and where currently non- or underutilized shoalgrass resources could be made available to Redheads through projects that would create freshwater sources.
Another example of Conservation Design employed by the GCJV is the Spatially-Explicit Decision Support Tool for Guiding Habitat Conservation for Western Gulf Coast Mottled Ducks. that was developed in concert with the Gulf Coast Prairie Landscape Conservation Cooperative. Western Gulf Coast mottled ducks are year-round residents of coastal prairies and marshes, with a U.S. range that is nearly coincident with the GCJV geography. Mottled ducks are a high conservation priority for GCJV partners, with a focus on maintaining and restoring wetlands and associated grasslands that are important during the breeding season.
The decision support tool is based on Kraiynk and Ballard (2014).