South Atlantic LCC

Setting a course for a sustainable landscape

Wow. Despite the huge amount of interest in this issue and a number of really impressive proposals, your cooperative managed to come together on a consensus recommendation for how to predict baseline, altered, and future freshwater instream flows throughout the entire South Atlantic geography (https://waterfall.rti.org/). Thanks to everyone for all the time and thought you put into this decision. The original proposal and answers to additional questions from the review group are attached at the bottom.

Here's an overview of the extensive discussion that led to the project being chosen:

In order to engage the larger aquatic community, the staff worked closely with Mary Davis (Southeast Aquatic Resource Partnership, Coordinator of the Southern Instream Flows Network) and the SALCC Rivers and Streams web community. The Rivers and Streams web community is open to any interested individual and currently has 55 members from state, non-profit, university, and federal organizations.

  • Rivers and Streams web community call to discuss core issues in predicting current and future flows. All four researchers who submitted proposals to the future flows focus area were present on this call.
  • Based on numerous comments and phone calls related to issues discussed on the June 15 call, a request for supplemental information was sent to the researchers who submitted proposals. The request asked for addition information on: 1) Model error, 2) Groundwater, 3) Human impacts, 4) User-friendly portals, and 5) Ongoing commitments for maintenance and updates.
  • A subcommittee from the Rivers and Streams web community (including members from state, nonprofit, and federal organizations) used comments from the larger community and answers to the request for supplemental information to make a consensus recommendation that the TNC/RTI proposal should be funded
  • Partnership committee approves consensus recommendation from Rivers and Streams subcommittee and sends to steering committee
  • During  Steering Committee call, concerns were raised about the recommended project duplicating efforts already underway, particularly with respect to the USGS WaterSMART program

  • Project receives additional review by key individuals in SCDNR, GADNR, EPA, and WaterSMART. Additionally, the science coordinator has detailed discussions with both the national head of WaterSMART and the lead hydrologist for WaterSMART in the Southeast. Based on those additional reviews and discussions, it does not appear that any organization, including WaterSMART, will be providing the future flow information requested in the SALCC 2011 request for proposals within the next 5 years

  • TNC/RTI project approved by steering committee. Implementation of project will be guided by a stakeholders group from a various organizations interested in instream flow

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This is great news.  I know the process has been a bit bumpy at times, but this is an ambitious and much-needed project.  Congrats on getting it approved!  I look forward to using the resulting products, which will be extremely valuable to aquatic conservation planning efforts in the region.

I agree. The lack of consistent hydrologic information where biotic samples are taken has been a major impediment to understanding how aquatic ecosystems respond to hydrologic alteration.  This is a huge leap forward for instream flow science and water resource management for the south Atlantic region.  Nice job!

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