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Conservation Across Boundaries—An LCC Council Member's Perspective

The Trust for Public Land's Climate Program Director Jad Daley says the North Atlantic LCC is leading by example in the LCC Network.

As a member of the Landscape Conservation Cooperative Council and the North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) Steering Committee, I have enjoyed watching the LCC enterprise play out at different scales.  I have been very proud to hold up the great work of the North Atlantic LCC within the national conversation, because the North Atlantic LCC is taking on so many of the key issues for the long-term success of the entire LCC Network—such as cross-boundary coordination, and affirmatively linking new science to help inform conservation actions on the ground. 

One of the key topics from the very first meeting of the LCC Council was the issue of cross-boundary coordination.  Even the LCC boundaries, as ambitious as they are, do not fully capture the interaction of fish, wildlife, and plants across national and international boundaries.  We need to have aligned conservation design and delivery that addresses cross-LCC issues. This includes challenges such as our largest-scale aquatic systems that exceed the bounds of a single LCC, the far-reaching span of migratory songbirds, and the shift of habitats across LCCs over time as a result of climate change.  The new LCC Network Strategic Plan provides a set of objectives and actions to achieve cross-LCC integration, in service of coordinated conservation planning and action at “continental, LCC, island, and regional scales.”

The North Atlantic LCC was an early leader in this area by fostering close coordination with the neighboring Appalachian, South Atlantic, and Upper Midwest and Great Lakes LCCs and by facilitating discussions on network wide issues such as conservation design and coastal resilience. Many important things have resulted from this coordination, such as:

  • Coordinated work with the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes LCC to examine and address aquatic connectivity and road-stream crossing resiliency issues in a consistent manner, including in the states where these LCCs meet;

  • Coordinated efforts with the Appalachian LCC to assess resiliency and restoration needs of cold water stream habitat for eastern brook trout across their range;

  • The development and application of foundational information and tools for conservation design that aligns with the South Atlantic LCC including habitat mapping and geophysical approaches to climate resilience;

  • Working with the five Atlantic and Gulf Coast LCCs on approaches to understand impacts of sea level rise and storms and increase the resilience of both coastal ecosystems and communities;

  • Exchanging information and facilitating discussions on approaches to conservation design across the LCC network; and

  • Using a common Data Basin platform to other LCCs for sharing and visualizing spatial data

If the LCCs are going to elevate coordinated, effective conservation to a new geographic scale, the entire LCC Network needs to function with the kind of commitment to integration demonstrated by the actions above.  As the nation sees some habitats shifting almost before our eyes, there is a potent reminder that our network will need to be nimble and adaptable for an uncertain future.  In this respect as in many others, the North Atlantic LCC is setting a very strong example. 

Jad Daley is the director of The Trust for Public Land’s Climate Conservation Program and a member of the LCC Council. Composed of interagency, tribal and non-governmental representatives, the Council provides network-level coordination and support for Landscape Conservation Cooperatives. 

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