A characterization of the data, including its intended use and limitations.
Ecoregions for the Mississippi Alluvial Plain were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and quantity of environmental resources. They are designed to serve as a spatial framework for the research, assessment, management, and monitoring of ecosystems and ecosystem components. By recognizing the spatial differences in the capacities and potentials of ecosystems, ecoregions stratify the environment by its probable response to disturbance (Bryce and others, 1999). These general purpose regions are critical for structuring and implementing ecosystem management strategies across federal agencies, state agencies, and non-government organizations that are responsible for different types of resources within the same geographical areas (Omernik and others, 2000). The approach used to compile this map is based on the premise that ecological regions can be identified through the analysis of the spatial patterns and the composition of biotic and abiotic phenomena that affect or reflect differences in ecosystem quality and integrity (Wiken, 1986; Omernik, 1987, 1995). These phenomena include geology, physiography, vegetation, climate, soils, land use, wildlife, and hydrology. The relative importance of each characteristic varies from one ecological region to another regardless of the hierarchical level. A Roman numeral hierarchical scheme has been adopted for different levels for ecological regions. Level I is the coarsest level, dividing North America into 15 ecological regions. Level II divides the continent into 50 regions (Commission for Environmental Cooperation Working Group, 1997). At Level III, the continental United States contains 105 regions whereas the conterminous United States has 85 (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2011). Level IV ecoregions are further subdivisions of Level III ecoregions. Methods used to define the ecoregions are explained in Omernik (1995, 2004), Omernik and others (2000), and Gallant and others (1989).
This product is part of a collaborative effort primarily between USEPA Region VII, USEPA National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory (Corvallis, Oregon), Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, Arkansas Multi-Agency Wetland Planning Team (MAWPT), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), U.S. Department of Interior - Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and U.S. Department of Interior - U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) - Earth Resources Observation Systems (EROS) Data Center. The project is associated with an interagency effort to develop a common framework of ecological regions. Reaching that objective requires recognition of the differences in the conceptual approaches and mapping methodologies that have been used to develop the most common ecoregion-type frameworks, including those developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Forest Service (USFS) (Bailey and others, 1994), the USEPA (Omernik, 1987, 1995), and the NRCS (United States Department of Agriculture - Soil Conservation Service, 1981). As each of these frameworks is further refined, their differences are becoming less discernible. Regional collaborative projects such as this one in the Mississippi Alluvial Plain, where agreement can be reached among multiple resource management agencies, are a step toward attaining consensus and consistency in ecoregion frameworks for the entire nation.
Commission for Environmental Cooperation Working Group, 1997, Ecological regions of North America- toward a common perspective: Montreal, Commission for Environmental Cooperation, 71 p.
Gallant, A. L., Whittier, T.R., Larsen, D.P., Omernik, J.M., and Hughes, R.M., 1989, Regionalization as a tool for managing environmental resources: Corvallis, Oregon, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA/600/3-89/060, 152p.
Omernik, J.M., 1995, Ecoregions - a framework for environmental management, in Davis, W.S. and Simon, T.P., eds., Biological assessment and criteria-tools for water resource planning and decision making: Boca Raton, Florida, Lewis Publishers, p.49-62.
Omernik, J.M., Chapman, S.S., Lillie, R.A., and Dumke, R.T., 2000, Ecoregions of Wisconsin: Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters, v. 88, p. 77-103.
Omernik, J.M., 2004, Perspectives on the nature and definitions of ecological regions: Environmental Management, v. 34, Supplement 1, p. s27-s38.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 2011. Level III and IV ecoregions of the continental United States. U.S. EPA, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Corvallis, Oregon, Map scale 1:3,000,000. Available online at: http://www.epa.gov/wed/pages/ecoregions/level_iii_iv.htm.
Comments and questions regarding Ecoregions should be addressed to Glenn Griffith, USGS, c/o US EPA., 200 SW 35th Street, Corvallis, OR 97333, (541)-754-4465, email:email@example.com Alternate: James Omernik, USGS, c/o US EPA, 200 SW 35th Street, Corvallis, OR 97333, (541)-754-4458, email:firstname.lastname@example.org