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Interior Secretary highlights LCCs in keynote to Large Landscape Conservation network

At the National Workshop for Large Landscape Conservation, where North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative staff and partners showcased research and tools, Interior Secretary Jewell praised the role of LCCs in the “epic collaboration” needed for large landscape conservation.

Before an audience of hundreds of conservation leaders representing agencies and organizations across the nation, United States Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell saluted Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) for helping to advance a new conservation paradigm rooted in collaboration.

Delivering the keynote address at the National Workshop on Large Landscape Conservation in Washington D.C. in October, Jewell listed LCCs among her top conservation priorities - in addition to climate adaptation, balanced energy development, and engaging the next generation in environmental leadership.

More than just a tip of the hat, her words called attention to the increasing relevance of LCCs to a national vision to sustain resources and landscapes for future generations. The Secretary acknowledged the important and challenging work that LCCs have undertaken behind-the-scenes in order to achieve meaningful conservation actions on the ground. During the two-day workshop, North Atlantic LCC staff and partners presented examples of projects that contribute to this effort.

North Atlantic LCC Coordinator Andrew Milliken helped moderate a track of five sessions on Landscape Conservation Design and spoke about facilitating conservation planning and design at multiple scales in the Northeast.

GIS Coordinator BJ Richardson presented work on integrated data-analysis networks as part of the Integrated Data Management Network Project - a multi-LCC data management research project involving numerous government agencies, non-profit organizations, and university researchers coordinating efforts to investigate best practices in data management, and provide recommendations for LCCs moving forward.

Science Coordinator Scott Schwenk provided an overview of the Connecticut River Watershed Pilot, a project in which two-dozen partners are using models developed with their input to create a conservation blueprint for the region that reflects species needs, now and in the future. Assistant to the Science Coordinator Maritza Mallek also presented on the Connecticut River Pilot project during an evening poster reception.

Together, staff demonstrated the myriad ways the North Atlantic LCC is contributing to the vision of the LCC Network established in 2009, to create regional hubs for science-based conservation strategy and outreach. By bringing diverse stakeholders together to determine shared objectives for a region, LCCs provide a framework for the “epic collaboration” that Jewell described as key to achieving conservation goals of epic proportions – goals that encompass vast geographies, and future uncertainties.

In the second day of the workshop, James Levitt of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and Harvard Forest reiterated the Secretary’s praise. Encouraging the audience to rally around LCCs as a model for landscape-scale conservation, Levitt said, “LCCs are driving conservation dollars to concrete actions.”

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