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Steering Committee looks to next steps for science delivery and conservation design

During the fall meeting in Portsmouth, N.H., members and partners of the North Atlantic LCC Steering Committee discussed strategic direction on several key fronts, including conservation design and science delivery.

In late October, North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) Steering Committee members and partners met for two half days in Portsmouth, N.H., to review the current state of LCC work, and inform next steps needed to move forward on several key fronts. 

Chiefly, documenting lessons learned from a landscape conservation design project for the Connecticut River watershed to inform the development of a regional effort, and to continue to expand and refine efforts to deliver science to stakeholders and provide necessary support for them to use the information to make decisions.  

Science Coordinator Scott Schwenk and Coastal Resilience Coordinator Megan Tyrrell provided updates on Science Projects and related Products, highlighting the Extension of the Northeast Terrestrial Habitat map into Canada, completed in September, and the momentum that the North Atlantic Aquatic Connectivity Collaborative has generated for regional aquatic connectivity work since its launch in June.

Schwenk and Tyrrell also reviewed the proposals that were selected for the 2015 Science Needs Funding focusing on floodplains and rare plants, and invited Steering Committee members to provide additional guidance to ensure the final projects produce meaningful work. 

Schwenk and Science Delivery Coordinator Steve Fuller provided updates on two landscape conservation design projects being supported by the LCC - Connect the Connecticut, the large watershed scale design for the Connecticut River watershed that is now being tested by partners, and the Regional Conservation Opportunity Areas (RCOAs) project, identifying conservation priorities across the 13-state region based on guidance from experts. During follow-up discussions, Steering Committee members emphasized the need to compare these efforts to other approaches, and to ensure complementarity with state and local information. 

Fuller and Communications Coordinator Bridget Macdonald provided updates on Science Delivery and Communications, highlighting the increased efforts by staff to meet with partners and provide information and training on tools that are relevant to specific needs. In the six months since the previous Steering Committee meeting, staff had given presentations on LCC Science for more than two dozen audiences. 

LCC Coordinator Andrew Milliken invited Steering Committee members to contact him to set up specific science delivery opportunities, and asked them to share examples of how their organizations are using LCC tools, and feedback about what would make these resources more useful. 

The meeting closed with a discussion on the LCC's Strategic Direction, which focused on reflecting on lessons learned in the previous five years, and making necessary adjustments to ensure the LCC is still meeting partner needs. 

View the complete meeting summary and action items

The next Steering Committee meeting will take place on Wednesday, April 6, 2016, following the close of the Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Conference in Annapolis, Md. 

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