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Staying the course

In the New Year, the North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative reflects on progress in developing science and tools to meet regional conservation goals, and looks ahead to the critical next step: Delivering the science to partners who can use it.

The New Year always offers an instructive vantage point for looking forward -- and looking back. It was less than four years ago that we gathered in Albany to create the Northeast Conservation Framework, a strategy for achieving more effective and more efficient conservation actions by aligning existing efforts and identifying key roles for partners across the region.
During three days spent discussing needs, sharing information, and establishing goals for bringing the big conservation picture into focus, we left with a long-term vision for conservation in the Northeast, and a short-term assignment for getting started: Make it possible for State Wildlife Action Plans and partners to work across boundaries, and work to develop a landscape conservation design process that incorporates the needs of all key species and ecosystems.
We have come a long way. Today we have regionally consistent base maps for sharing species and habitat data between states, and this month, we are wrapping up the design phase of the Connecticut River Watershed Landscape Conservation Pilot, a landscape conservation design project reflecting the shared goals of partners working at various scales across the region.

Now coming out of our Fall North Atlantic LCC Steering Committee meeting in November, we have our next assignment, which represents the critical next step in fulfilling the long-term vision we established in the Northeast Conservation Framework: Delivering science to people who can use it, and providing training, tools and support at the appropriate scales.

That’s where we want to concentrate our efforts in the New Year, and that’s where we need your input. Just as with coordinating data sharing, and landscape conservation design, science delivery requires clear goals, dedicated partners, and a fair amount of trial and error.

The Connecticut River Pilot provides the perfect opportunity to make progress in this area. Although the pilot is coming to a close, delivering the design product to practitioners and demonstrating its applicability will require strategic outreach and communication, and we need your feedback and support. We have also begun regional conservation design efforts with the states through Regional Conservation Opportunity Areas (RCOAs), and are working with our first four science delivery grantees to develop delivery networks.

While the end of January may seem late in the game to be making a New Year’s resolution, we have had our assignment since November, and we have been committed to this goal from the beginning. With the strength of our partnership, we believe we will look back on 2015 as another landmark year as we continue to work toward our shared vision for regional conservation.


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