Setting a course for a sustainable landscape
There were some really impressive projects submitted for this year's request for proposals. It was a tough decision and there were some great elements in every proposal we received. Here's some information on the the context, review process, and the projects that were selected:
> Context: The mission of the South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) is to “foster landscape scale conservation to sustain natural and cultural resources for future generations”. To support that mission, the cooperative is now working on integrating existing science, the resource objectives, and decisions of conservation managers to develop a spatially-explicit plan for how to sustain natural and cultural resources in the face of future change. The partnership committee and steering committee have identified five projects that fill high priority information gaps needed for conservation planning at the scale of the LCC.
> Review process: Proposals were scored by the SALCC Partnership Committee based on how they supported the SALCC niche, filled major information gaps, and the relative value for the cost. The staff of the SALCC synthesized these scores and proposal comments. During a conference call members of the Partnership Committee used the synthesis of scores and comments to identify a set of five high priority projects that were an immediate need for the LCC. These recommendations were then provided to the steering committee.
Unfortunately, for the aquatic invasives focus area, the partnership committee determined that none of the proposals adequately addressed the information need as defined by the Aquatic Invasives Group. There will be follow-up discussions within that group to figure out the best way to fill that information gap.
For projects in the future flows focus area, due to the importance of this foundational information and the extremely strong proposals submitted, both the partnership committee and steering committee thought that there should be more discussion within the aquatic community about the best way to move forward. This on-going discussion is now occurring during webinars and phone calls within the Rivers and Streams Group.
There are short descriptions of the five selected projects below. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions feel free to contact me.
1) Investigation of the effects of sea level rise on sea turtle, shorebird, seabird, and beach mouse nesting distributions within the South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative region.
Principle investigators: Von Holle et al. (University of Central Florida)
Overview: Links long-term survey data for four species of sea turtle, three species of shorebird, five species of seabird, and two beach mouse species to maps of coastal sea level rise vulnerability to understand the effects of sea level rise on population viability and socioeconomic resources. The coastal study areas include nesting beaches from North Carolina south to Melbourne, Florida.
Why selected: This project will help LCC conservation planning better inform coastal decision making by evaluating the impact of sea level rise on beach nesting species and socioeconomic resources.
2) Determining priority amphibian and reptile conservation areas for the South Atlantic Region, and assessing their efficacy for cross-taxa conservation.
Principle investigators: Apodaca et al. (Florida State / Orianne Society)
Overview: Identifies areas throughout the LCC needed to sustain amphibian and reptile populations in the face of future change. Evaluates the abilities of these areas to sustain populations of other non amphibian and reptiles species.
Why selected: This project will help LCC conservation planning better inform decision making in terrestrial and aquatic systems by providing species response models and core areas needed for sustaining amphibian and reptile populations.
3) Identifying and Prioritizing Key Habitat Connectivity Areas for the South Atlantic Region
Principle investigators: Sutherland et al. (Wildlands Network / Clemson)
Overview: Maps current and future levels of terrestrial habitat connectivity needed to sustain populations of large ranging mobile organisms (e.g., Bears, Indigo snakes, Box turtles, etc.) throughout the LCC.
Why selected: This project will help LCC conservation planning better inform terrestrial conservation planning and corridor design by identifying key areas for habitat connectivity and providing models for how large ranging species may respond to future changes in connectivity.
4) Identifying and Integrating Optimal Cultural and Natural Sustainability Strategies For the South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative Region
Principle investigators: Smith et al. (University of South Carolina)
Overview: Identifies areas of overlap and disjunction between methods of natural resource sustainability and cultural resource sustainability. Provides a synthesis of existing cultural resource data / GIS layers for the LCC.
Why selected: This project will help LCC conservation planning better integrate natural and cultural resources in decision making by integrating existing cultural resource data and identifying potential areas of overlap between natural and cultural resource management strategies.
5) Identifying priority areas for land protection in the south Atlantic: a landscape genetics pilot study
Principle investigators: Moyer et al. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Overview: Identifies genetic “hotspots” for sustaining populations and maintaining within-species adaptive capacity throughout the LCC. Evaluates the overlap between these genetic “hotspots” and current priority conservation areas. Creates an automated tool to update genetic "hotspots" as new data become available.
Why selected: This project will help LCC conservation planning better inform terrestrial and aquatic decision making by identifying important areas for maintaining genetically viable populations and the adaptive capacity for species to respond to future change.