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North Atlantic LCC expands key landscape conservation design efforts

North Atlantic LCC Steering Committee approves $340,000 in funding to support additional phases of the Designing Sustainable Landscapes project led by University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Forecasting Changes in Aquatic Systems and Resilience of Aquatic Populations being led by U.S. Geological Survey.

The North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative is expanding two foundational projects that provide partners with tools for collaborative landscape conservation design, as well as leveraging significant additional funds for on-the-ground conservation.

During a conference call July 1 with 40 partners on the phone, the North Atlantic LCC Steering Committee approved $340,000 in funding to support additional phases of the Designing Sustainable Landscapes project led by University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Forecasting Changes in Aquatic Systems and Resilience of Aquatic Populations being led by U.S, Geological Survey.  

Designing Sustainable Landscapes assesses the capability of habitats to sustain populations of wildlife in the Northeast in the face of urban growth, changing climate, and other disturbances. Forecasting Changes in Aquatic Systems and Resilience of Aquatic Populations develops a web-based decision support system for evaluating effects of alternative management scenarios on local population persistence of brook trout and other aquatic species under different climate change scenarios.

Earlier this spring, the North Atlantic LCC Technical Committee evaluated the current scope of LCC science needs and recommended these two existing projects for 2014 funding. More than 30 individuals from 18 state, federal, and NGO organizations contributed to the review process.

Key factors in the recommendation, which was unanimously accepted by the North Atlantic LCC Steering Committee, include: 

  • Not only are the projects addressing high priority foundational science needs in the areas of ecological planning and conservation design, they are at critical stages in the delivery of science products and decision-support tools to managers affiliated with state agencies and other organizations (which has been identified as a high priority by the Steering Committee).
  • Support for the existing projects will maintain the user network and knowledge that has been accumulated during ongoing partnership activities such as the landscape conservation design pilot for the Connecticut River watershed and planned future efforts, which rely on products from both projects.
  • The work of both projects will be substantially leveraged by support from entities such as the Northeast Climate Science Center.
  • The substantial reduction in LCC science funds in 2014, relative to prior years, makes it difficult to simultaneously support important ongoing science projects and initiate new science projects that will have meaningful, regional-scale contributions to conservation.

Designing Sustainable Landscapes will receive $230,000 of the funding to deliver and communicate decision-support tools and products and expand the capability of the conservation design tools for habitat management and restoration.

Forecasting Changes in Aquatic Systems and Resilience of Aquatic Populations will receive $110,000 of the funding to expand existing tools to additional portions of the North Atlantic LCC region and integrate models with management and policy.

North Atlantic LCC Coordinator Andrew Milliken emphasized the importance of this decision as well as previous Steering Committee decisions supporting science delivery.  ”We are at a critical and exciting time in the LCC where our early investments in foundational science and tools are becoming available to guide conservation decisions in the face of change.  The Steering Committee’s decision affirms the importance of translating these tools into conservation planning, design and actions on the ground.”

The North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative is a partnership of private, state, tribal and federal conservation agencies and organizations that work together to address increasing land use pressures and widespread resource threats and uncertainties amplified by a rapidly changing climate. The LCC is focused on common goals for land, water, fish, wildlife, plant and cultural resources and jointly developing the scientific information and tools needed to prioritize and guide more effective conservation actions by partners toward those goals. For more information, visit http://northatlanticlcc.org/

 

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