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Geographic Information System (GIS) Based Analysis of Sustainable Domestic Aquaculture Development in Wisconsin

View GIS-Based Analysis of Aquaucluture Ventures in Wisconsin - Thesis by Allen Brandt, UWSP Graduate Student

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Factors that determine the adoption of aquaculture technologies by farmers include agro-ecological (rainfall, temperature, soil type, and slope), socio-economic (land, labor, capital, and infrastructure), and institutional characteristics (extension services, applied research, and producer’s organizations).  The advantages of using a GIS as part of the decision-making process are: 1) GIS provides the capability to integrate, scale, organize and manipulate spatial data from many different sources, 2) data can be maintained, updated, extracted and mapped efficiently, and 3) GIS permits quick and repeated testing of models which could be used to aid the decision-making process.  

The overall goal for this project is to determine if location characteristics of aquaculture operations are significant for determining success or failure of commercialized operations in Wisconsin.  This includes developing a predictive aquaculture farm model using a multi-criteria evaluation procedure in GIS software and parameters (layers) such as, site suitability, water source, water quality, land ownership, and infrastructure to determine optimal sites for aquaculture ventures that are environmentally sustainable.



The Wisconsin aquaculture industry has experienced many startups and almost as many failures.  Proper selection of species, location and culture practices can greatly improve the success rate of new aquaculture ventures.  GIS-based decision support models can facilitate the prioritizing of state research, development, and extension strategies and targeting of development assistance for aquaculture because they can provide information to stakeholders as to where and under what conditions certain aquaculture technologies would be feasible. 

Check out "Providing a 'Road Map' for Aquaculture in Wisconsin"-Podcast done by WI Sea Grant Instute Featuring Dr. Chris Hartleb and this project:

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The Suitability Models

Two suitability models have been uploaded to an online database that is publically accessible. Users can select individual model parameters or combine factors that they deem relevant and observe whether the location they are interested in is identified as suitable for an aquaculture facility. Of course the model should be used as a guide and not a definitive factor since aquaculturalists can always modify the land and water to best meet their needs.

Web Map Instructions

Thank you to UW-Stevens Point student, staff and faculty - Christine Koeller, Keith Rice, Allen Brandt, and Chris Hartleb for the development of this project and aquaculture models.


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