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Conservation Beyond Boundaries

States in the Northeast Region are working with the North Atlantic LCC to synthesize information and develop decision-support tools that will provide broader context for state and local conservation decisions and actions.
Conservation Beyond Boundaries

A map depicting Regional Species of Greatest Conservation Need data assembled for more than 500 species in the Northeast Region.

Informed conservation decisions require the best available science – but it doesn’t stop there when it comes to conserving large, connected natural areas or landscapes. Resource managers need help compiling, synthesizing, mapping and translating scientific results to ensure the information leads to effective on-the-ground conservation at multiple scales. To that end, the North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative (NALCC) is building on efforts by states in the Northeast Region through their Regional Conservation Needs program to develop habitat classifications and maps, regional species and habitat vulnerability assessments, frameworks for modeling landscape change, assessments of regional species of concern and other decision-making tools. These information and tools collectively will provide broader context for state and local conservation decisions and actions.

A key component of this collaborative effort is a synthesis of regional conservation information that can be incorporated into State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) revisions. In order to receive funds through the Wildlife Conservation and Restoration Program and the State Wildlife Grants Program, Congress charged each state and territory with developing a wildlife action plan to assess the health of each state’s wildlife and habitats, identify the problems they face, and outline long-term conservation actions. The regional assessment of species and habitat threats and conditions can be voluntarily integrated into SWAP updates and used over the longer term through access to a dynamic, web-based information management system.

NALCC Coordinator Andrew Milliken says the regional synthesis is part of the cooperative’s continuing efforts to translate and deliver existing science and information into forms that can help state and local partners make conservation decisions, and assist them in testing and adopting existing science and tools.

“This project is laying the groundwork for a fully functional system to manage information to meet growing demands for easy access to consistent data and tools in the scales and formats needed throughout the Northeast,” Milliken says. “Conservation challenges like climate change, urban development and habitat degradation require states, federal agencies and the entire conservation community to work beyond individual borders and boundaries. These recent efforts move us in that direction.”

For more information, contact Steve Fuller or Lori Pelech.

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