Kristine Evans's Posts (18)

The GCPO LCC science staff have been working toward a comprehensive State of the GCPO report, which uses the most current and comprehensive data available to assess conditions in each of the LCC’s 9 priority ecosystems.  As part of this process an Ecological Assessment report has been developed for each system that uses GCPO-wide geospatial data products to assess habitat endpoints identified in the LCC’s Draft Integrated Science Agenda.  Each of these individual reports are being compiled into the larger State of the GCPO to be released Fall 2017.  We are pleased to announce that the first draft of the assessment of upland hardwoods systems is now available for review. 

The LCC’s Integrated Science Agenda defines a desired state for upland hardwood systems to consist of large hardwood forest and woodland patches, found in heavily forested landscapes, and in an appropriate distribution of successional stages.  Desired upland hardwood woodlands are characterized by moderate levels of canopy cover and tree density, such that herbaceous ground cover is stimulated.  Desired upland hardwood forests are characterized by nearly closed-canopy conditions, with shade-tolerant subcanopy layers.  Through the ecological assessment of upland hardwoods we used comprehensive remote-sensing and imputed plot-level data and a dichotomous decision-based approach to assess specifically targeted landscape endpoints related to forest configuration, canopy cover, basal area, tree diameter and density, midstory density, density of snags and dead/downed wood, forest succession and fire disturbance data.  We used geospatial data to derive a Condition Index Value for each 250 m pixel across the GCPO landscape, based on the number of configuration and condition endpoints that were met. 

We found about 2.6 million acres of upland hardwood woodlands, and 2 million acres of upland hardwood forests in the Ozark Highlands were found in large forest patches in heavily forested landscapes and met at least one forest condition endpoint, however there were limited areas on the landscape where all or nearly all forest conditions were met.  Woodlands approaching desired conditions were found in distinct areas throughout the Ozarks and Ouachita’s in Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, western Tennessee, and other areas.  Closed-canopy forests nearing desired conditions were also found in distinct patches in the eastern Ozarks (St. Francois Mountains) in Missouri, as well as in the Boston Mountains and Ouachita’s in Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma.  However there is also prevalence of what appear to be good condition upland hardwood forest patches along the Mississippi Valley Loess Hills.   

The draft comprehensive Ecological Assessment of Upland Hardwood systems report can be found here GCPO_UplandHardwoodsAssessment_Draft1_20June2017.pdf and is open for review through the end of July.  Please contact Toby Gray ( for more information on this report and the forthcoming State of the GCPO.

[Figure (right) - Condition index values based on decision-criteria for upland hardwood woodlands (above) and forest (below) ranging from a value of 1 indicating potential hardwoods to values of 29-36 indicating existing hardwoods meet most of the measurable endpoints and are approaching the desired ecological state.]

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Changes afoot for GCPO Geomatics Staff

Just shy of three years ago, I took a bold leap and joined the GCPO LCC team as Geomatics Coordinator.  I can now say without a doubt that it was one of the best decisions of my life.  When I first introduced myself as LCC staff I said “I believe whole-heartedly in the partnership-based vision necessary to address landscape-scale ecological sustainability.”  That sentiment is even stronger today as we’ve made such tremendous progress working toward the first LCC conservation blueprint, and subsequently, the first iteration of the Southeastern Conservation Adaptation Strategy.   I echo what I said in 2014 – “it is an exciting time to work in the conservation field, a time that requires us to think smarter, more efficiently, and more strategically.” Just think about it…. over the last few years we as a conservation community have accomplished something that has never been done before at this scale.  We have come together with differing visions and missions across our partnership in an unprecedented effort to identify the network of lands and waters most important to us, most vulnerable to loss, and most critical to the conservation landscape – reflecting our core conservation values and priorities – to leave a conservation legacy for our grandchildren’s grandchildren.   Though we are far from done, I am personally so proud that I have had the opportunity to work with the visionaries who have brought us this far.  I’ve had many fond thoughts toward the future when someday I will reflect back on this time and will proudly say I was privileged enough to work side-by-side with these individuals.  It has been thrilling to be a part of this monumental effort, and our southern style conservation approach has afforded me countless warm relationships that I look forward to carrying on throughout my career.    

However, as it did nearly three years ago, good fortune has once again bestowed itself on me, though this time the decision was not an easy one to make (as many of my colleagues can attest to!).  After the first of the year, I will be transitioning from LCC Geomatics Coordinator to a new role as cooperative research liaison between the GCPO LCC and Mississippi State University.  At that time I will be transitioning to the MSU Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Aquaculture to take on a new position as Assistant Professor of Conservation Biology.  As conservation biology faculty I’ll have the opportunity to build a research program focused on sustaining biodiversity in the Southeastern U.S. and beyond, as well as prepare the next generation of conservationists through teaching and mentoring.  However, I will remain affiliated with the MSU Geosystems Research Institute and will continue my LCC duties managing the cooperative agreement with MSU, as well as participating in LCC science and geomatics endeavors.  I'm looking forward to this new challenge that awaits me, though I cannot express enough how much of a pleasure it has been serving our partnership in the Geomatics Coordinator role the past nearly 3 years.  I have so enjoyed helping to shape geospatial science activities of the LCC, and helping to deliver geospatial science via our Conservation Planning Atlas.  A sincere thank you goes to the amazing staff, steering committee, and long list of collaborators that comprise the LCC for welcoming me with open arms and for the continued support as I take on this new role.  We will be announcing our new LCC Geomatics Coordinator shortly after the New Year, and expect that individual to offer a seamless transition in geomatics activities. 

So I’m not really going to say goodbye, as I will still be around, though serving in a different capacity.  I guess I’ll just say that I wish you all a warm and happy holiday season, and I look forward to our continued collaboration next year!  And as I always say, don’t hesitate to contact me if you ever need anything!


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The Ecological Assessment of estuarine tidal marsh uses existing digital geospatial data to assess three basic themes as they relate to desired ecological states for the system: How much of the ecological system is in the desired ecological state? How much more is needed? Where is the system already in the desired ecological state and where are opportunities to manage for these conditions? This information will provide a vital foundation to aid Gulf Coast conservation practitioners in making…
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LCC Inreach and Collaborator Recognition at FWS Resource Village

The Gulf Coastal Plains and Ozarks, Gulf Coast Prairie, Peninsular Florida, South Atlantic, and Caribbean LCCs, along with representatives from the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy were invited to participate in a Resource Village at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Southeast Region Fit for the Future of Conservation Project Leaders training in Chattanooga, TN in late July.  The Resource Village was designed to align with the One Service theme of the training, and consisted of informational booths to raise awareness and encourage interaction among FWS staff and conservation partners in the LCCs, Joint Ventures, SECAS, Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership, the Gulf of Mexico Restoration Program, Southeast Communications, the National Wildlife Refuge Association, At-Risk Species and many more programs. 

The Village was a tremendous success, with many in-depth discussions centered on the importance of collaboration and partnership under the Once Service vision.  The LCCs were given the opportunity to showcase how their work in conservation science and planning across larger scales is critical to the future sustainability of fish and wildlife resources in the Southeast, and demonstrate how that work can tie in directly with conservation action on the ground.   The interactions also highlighted the importance of incorporating expertise of FWS resource managers into regional conservation planning efforts to better reflect the realities of resource management. 

Refuge Manager of the Year and other awards

During the training Cindy Dohner, Southeast Regional FWS Director, also recognized several outstanding FWS conservationists working in the GCPO geography including congratulations to the core team of the multi-LCC Gulf Coast Vulnerability Assessment project as the inaugural recipient of Sam D. Hamilton Award for Transformative Conservation Science. 

Dr. Keith Weaver, Project Leader for the Central Arkansas National Wildlife Refuge Complex, and GCPO LCC ASMT member was also awarded the prestigious 2016 Paul Kroegel Refuge Manager of the Year by the National Wildlife Refuge Association for his nationally-recognized excellence in leadership and vision during his 31 years of dedicated service to FWS. 

Jason Duke, FWS Southeast Regional GIS Coordinator and close collaborator with the GCPO LCC and SECAS was also recognized for several outstanding awards for his contribution to GIS science in the state of Tennessee. 

Finally, Stephen Ricks, Field Supervisor for the Mississippi Ecological Services Field Office was recognized for his involvement in the award-winning Youth Education in Science (YES) program in collaboration with Mississippi State University.  The GCPO LCC offers our sincere congratulations to all these outstanding conservationists and appreciation for their partnership and engagement in GCPO conservation planning efforts.  We also congratulate the other individuals recognized at the training for their outstanding service. 

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The geospatial data community is moving fast in providing new and updated geospatial data products to the conservation community. Hard to keep up? The LCC can help by highlighting new data and information releases we think would be relevant to you. This time we're highlighting the new update to the Protected Areas Database, which we've got on the agenda for an August 22nd webinar with the GCPO Geomatics Working Group. We've also provided links to a newly released downscaled climate model,…
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The long-awaited National Wetlands Inventory Version 2.0 has recently been released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  NWI 2.0 promises to be more comprehensive including over 32 million features nationally under a consistent classification standard.  NWI 2.0 includes original digital wetlands combined with new smaller wetland/surface water polygons, supplemented with data on hydrography, and all presented together for the first time.  It also includes the conterminous U.S. states plus U.S. island territories, and is available both via the NWI 2.0 mapper and via the GCPO CPA. 

The NWI 2.0 dataset and Wetlands Mapper can be found via USFWS at:

We've also incorporated NWI 2.0 into the GCPO CPA to help meet your conservation planning needs:

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We are pleased to announce that the Gulf Coastal Plains and Ozarks and Gulf Coast Prairie LCC are coming together to host the first ever Joint GCP/GCPO LCC Geospatial Science Meeting January 19-20, 2016 in Jackson, MS.  This will be a fantastic opportunity for LCC partners working in the geospatial data community to gather in person, and we've got an agenda packed with presentations and ample discussion time on LCC and partner geospatial data needs, data integration, communication and data delivery. 

The draft agenda is available here: GCP/GCPO LCC Joint Geospatial Science Meeting Agenda.pdf

Please contact Kristine Evans ( or Blair Tirpak ( for more information. 



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We here at the GCPO LCC are proud to highlight the great work that our conservation partners are doing and strive to sing our partners’ praises whenever we get the chance.  This time we’re excited to announce that we’ve added four new top-notch geospatial datasets produced by our partners to the GCPO LCC Conservation Planning Atlas.  The datasets described below are now available for mapping and download on our CPA for incorporation into your conservation planning efforts.  Enjoy!

Louisiana Pine Snake Potential Habitat Data

 The Louisiana Pine Snake (LPS) is an extremely rare, range-restricted reptilian species, now limited in distribution to seven small populations in east Texas and west-central Louisiana.  Researchers at Quantitative Ecological Services in partnership with the USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station, and with financial support from the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk, set out to better understand LPS habitat requirements, particularly identification of suitable soils.  As much of the LPS’s historic range has been altered by forest management  practices, especially exclusion of frequent fire, identification of suitable soils would facilitate identification of areas of high conservation value.  The researchers used historical range-wide LPS location data to develop resource selection functions to better understand how the snakes select soil resources, hypothesizing that the snakes would select soils similar to those preferred by their primary prey, the Baird’s Pocket Gopher.  The best range-wide model was validated using an independent dataset of recent LPS telemetered locations.  They then applied the best model to soils maps throughout the species’ historic range to produce maps of LPS potential habitat.  They found soils with greater permeability and depth to ground water were preferred by the snakes.  The model demonstrates that the distribution of LPS on the landscape is strongly influenced by edaphic factors (i.e., natural soil characteristics), which are unlikely to be changed at a landscape scale by human activities.  Ample area of suitable soils remains available to support the species throughout its historical range in western and central LA and east TX, and the resulting maps may be used to target restoration of suitable forest conditions.  The spatial data has already been used to delineate a proposed conservation area for the Bienville LPS population, identify a repatriation site in Louisiana, and direct forest management for LPS on public lands.   The paper titled “Modeling Louisiana Pine Snake (Pituophis ruthveni) Habitat Use in Relation to Soils” was recently published in a special issue of Southeastern Naturalist and presented during the West Gulf Coastal Plain and Big Thicket Science Conference in Nacogdoches, TX this past April.  The spatially-explicit potential habitat data accompanying this publication is now available for mapping and download on the GCPO Conservation Planning Atlas.

Oklahoma Ecological Systems Data

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Great Plains LCC, and Gulf Coast Prairie LCC in collaboration with geospatial researchers at the Missouri Resource Assessment Partnership (MoRAP, University of Missouri), and Oklahoma Biological Survey (University of Oklahoma) have recently released an updated land cover data layer for the entire state of Oklahoma.  This product maps 10 m resolution pixels across the entire state to a refined vegetation classification that can be rolled up to the NatureServe’s Ecological System Classification.  Oklahoma Biological Survey staff led the extensive field data collection effort and MoRAP staff used a combination of field-collected vegetation data, aerial imagery, three dates of Landsat imagery, and several other layers of soil, hydrology, and landform data to perform a supervised classification in concert with segmentation of image objects from NAIP imagery to assign patches of land cover to one of 165 ecological system classes.  Since being made publicly available, the GCPO LCC has already incorporated Oklahoma land cover (and neighboring Texas land cover) data into the ecological assessment of natural grassland and open pine systems in the West Gulf Coastal Plain led by LCC GIS Analyst Toby Gray.  The technical publication titled “Oklahoma Vegetation Classification Project: Interpretive Booklet” was recently made available via the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation website.  The spatially-explicit Oklahoma Ecological Systems data accompanying this booklet is now available for mapping and download on the GCPO Conservation Planning Atlas.

Louisiana-Mississippi Conservation Delivery Network Data

In 2013 the Lower Mississippi Valley Joint Venture (LMVJV) - in partnership with the Louisiana-Mississippi Conservation Delivery Planning Working Group (including partners from Ducks Unlimited [DU], Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) - released the geographically-based Conservation Delivery Network for the Louisiana-Mississippi portions of the Mississippi Alluvial Valley.  This work used a partnership and data-driven approach to develop a geospatially explicit Delivery Prioritization Tool based on existing priorities delineated in the DU Wetland Restoration Suitability Model, LMVJV Forest Breeding Bird Decision Support Model, and DU Easement Protection Priority Model.  Densely concentrated priority areas from this model compilation effort were used to identify HUC-12 watersheds of focus where partners can collaborate to maximize conservation efforts, but they are meant as a guide and not intended to limit where partners do conservation work.  The GCPO LCC is incorporating all Conservation Delivery Network data into LCC conservation blueprint 1.0.  More detailed information including links to CDN reports can be found on the LMVJV Louisiana-Mississippi Conservation Delivery Network page.  The spatially explicit LMVJV LA-MS CDN data is now available for mapping and download on the GCPO Conservation Planning Atlas and also available for interactive mapping on the LMVJV MAV Conservation Layers Planning Tool website.

 North American River Width v.0.1 Data

Data on river length is readily available, but until now there have been no attempts to assess incremental river width using consistent methodology at a continental scale.  Research led by the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of North Carolina has now produced the first continental-scale survey of river width in North America.  The Version 0.1 of the North American River Width dataset (NARWidth) used 1,756 Landsat scenes to calculate a modified normalized difference water index and then used the software RivWidth to determine width of rivers at mean discharge for rivers >30m wide and in river segments >10 km in length.  The result was 6.7 million geospatially-explicit measures of river width across all of North America.  Since made publicly available the GCPO LCC has already incorporated river width data into the ecological assessment of big river systems in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley, led by LCC Aquatics GIS Analyst Yvonne Allen.  The paper titled “Patterns of River Width and Surface Area Revealed by the Satellite-derived North American River Width Data Set” was published in 2015 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.  The spatially explicit river width data accompanying this publication is now available for mapping and download on the GCPO Conservation Planning Atlas and available for bulk and tiled download on the UNC North American River Width webpage.

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The next installment of the GCPO LCC Ecological Assessment project is soon to be out for review.  Draft 1 of the assessment of estuarine tidal marsh along the GCPO Gulf Coast is currently wrapping up and in a matter of weeks will undergo a series of reviews by LCC staff and coastal marsh experts in the GCPO partnership. 

The GCPO LCC is working to identify, build, and sustain healthy landscapes through the development of desired ecological states for nine major habitat systems across our region.  The GCPO LCC draft Integrated Science Agenda (ISA) sets out to define those desired ecological states through a series of endpoints related to landscape features and species indicative of a healthy ecological system.   The first step toward ISA implementation is an understanding of landscape features relative to those desired ecological states via a current assessment of landscape endpoints (i.e., expert-defined metrics of habitat quality) related to amount, configuration, and condition of priority ecosystem types.  The ongoing Ecological Assessment project is using existing LCC-wide digital geospatial data sets to assess three basic themes as they relate to desired ecological states of each ecological system: How much of the ecological system is in the desired ecological state?  How much more is needed?  Where is the system already in the desired ecological state and where are opportunities to manage for these conditions? 

Estuarine Tidal Marsh

Estuarine tidal marsh is one of two Initial ISA-defined priority systems along the GCPO Gulf Coast (the other being beaches and dunes).  The desired ecological state for estuarine tidal marsh is defined as “stable marsh systems comprised of native vegetation and limited open water conditions occurring in large blocks with natural hydrology present”.  Landscape endpoints indicative of this desired state relate to measures of emergent and submergent vegetative cover, coverage of open water, presence of native vegetation and barrier islands, connectivity and contiguity of marsh in large blocks with moderate edge, and reflecting natural gradients of salinity, freshwater flow, and tidal influence.  Species identified as limited by one or more of these landscape endpoints include oceanic/marsh nekton species (penaid shrimp, oyster, speckled trout, black bass), seasonal or resident avian species (clapper rail, king rail, scaup, redhead), and resident or transitory mammal species (manatee, river otter, mink, black bear).    

Through the assessment we estimate there are 202,253 acres of estuarine tidal marsh within the GCPO portions of the Gulf Coast, which includes the western Florida Panhandle. Alabama and Mississippi, and coastal and inland portions of southeastern Louisiana.  Of that amount we estimate 40% (81,721 acres) is currently protected.  Marsh increases in concentration in the more western portions of the GCPO LCC, with concentrations peaking in southeast Louisiana (Fig. 1).  We estimate a net loss of 15,116 acres of estuarine tidal marsh in the GCPO from 1996-2010, with the majority attributed to loss to open water, primarily in Louisiana (Fig. 2). 

We found 4,089 patches (171,010 acres) of “unbroken” marsh exhibiting >70% emergent vegetative cover, with 110 large unbroken patches >250ac in size.  We estimate 77% of all unbroken marsh acreage is found within 2.7% of marsh patches in the GCPO Gulf Coast, thus a relatively small number of large patches hold a disproportionate amount of unbroken tidal marsh acreage.  We estimate 57% of the large unbroken marsh patch acres are currently not protected.  We found marsh types within patches to be sufficiently interspersed suggesting interdigitation was adequately reflective of typical marsh vegetation zonation patterns, though these varied by geography, with marshes in Louisiana exhibiting slightly greater marsh type diversity compared to those in Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.  We also found the majority of large patches exhibited “moderate” amounts of edge, though marshes in southeastern Louisiana demonstrated greater edge densities compared to other states (Fig. 3). 

Open water coverage within marsh patches was on average 9.4% in large marsh patches, and well within the targeted ISA condition of <20% (Fig. 4).  We also estimate nearly 60,000 acres of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) with greater abundance observed in the less-turbid waters of the eastern portions of the GCPO geography.  We estimate 10 of the 110 large estuarine marsh patches contain 15-30% SAV coverage within 500 m of the patch, with greatest prevalence in the Mobile Bay estuary system in Alabama and the St. Andrew Bay and Apalachicola Bay estuaries in Florida.

Landscape Endpoints

We are currently finalizing our examination of tidal marsh areas that meet defined landscape endpoint thresholds to determine which marshes in the GCPO geography might be in or close to ISA-defined desired ecological states, in addition to determining which marshes may be most vulnerable to system stressors related to development and climate change. 

This information will provide a vital foundation to GCPO science efforts to aid Gulf Coast conservation practitioners in making informed decisions regarding where and how much conservation action is needed to support healthy Gulf tidal marsh systems.  It will also provide the baseline information by which habitat relationships among priority species and landscape characteristics can be assessed and from which the decision context to implement a robust conservation design in the GCPO geography will unfold.  This assessment is also intended to identify regional information gaps and data needs, whereby the GCPO LCC could work within the greater partnership to set the course for addressing information needs.   

Our intent is that the GCPO tidal marsh assessment will also be contributory to the ongoing and forthcoming multi-institutional Gulf Restoration efforts in helping define and design areas for targeted marsh restoration.  We’d love to hear your feedback when the assessment is released for review!

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Bracing for the Southern Megalopolis

As human populations and their capacity for mobility expands, people are spreading, or “sprawling” into natural landscapes surrounding urban areas.  However, the benefits of connecting people to each other comes at the cost of loss and fragmentation of natural habitats within those areas.  It’s therefore critical for conservation planners to predict and understand where and to what degree spread of the urban landscape will influence natural landscapes in the Southeast. 

A SLEUTH model projecting urban growth

A paper released in the journal PLOS One in July by Adam Terando and his research group at the USGS Southeast Climate Science Center and North Carolina State University takes the first “step” toward understanding how the growing urban footprint will change the Southeastern U.S. landscape.  In the paper titled “The Southern Megalopolis: Using the Past to Predict the Future of Urban Sprawl in the Southeast U.S.," the collaborative research group developed a set of  “flexible cellular automata urbanization growth models” (a.k.a. SLEUTH models) and used repeated model simulation over 50 years to explore urban area expansion relative to spatial data on past urban growth and transportation networks across the Southeast.  The model also incorporates other factors like topographic or regulatory barriers into a resistance layer reducing urban expansion likelihoods in a certain area and explores four different patterns of urban growth (e.g., spontaneous growth, edge growth, etc.).

More than double by 2060

Outcomes from the SLUETH model suggested land dedicated to urban use would more than double by 2060 in the Southeast with the greatest change in the Piedmont region, including the Atlanta and Charlotte metro areas, and the Southwest Appalachian region.  The area of least predicted urban growth is in the Southern Florida Coastal Plain region.  The primary form of land conversion is predicted to be from agricultural to urban land use, though the model predicts the loss of 7-17% of forests and grasslands to urbanization. 

Knowing our successors may be working in a Southeastern landscape with substantially less habitat that is more fragmented begs the question – what can we do now to minimize these losses?  Predicted data on urban spread like that provided by the Southeast SLEUTH model is of critical importance and should be incorporated into models of comprehensive conservation design in the Southeastern landscape.  Our end goal, of course, is that developers, local government planners, and other more “nontraditional” partners ultimately make use of our landscape design and apply these models to grow toward a desirable future.  

Incorporating spatial outputs from SLEUTH

The GCPO LCC and its partners are already incorporating spatial outputs from SLEUTH models as part of the collaborative Ozark Highlands Comprehensive Conservation Strategy project to help delineate areas of best conservation opportunity while preparing for proposed urbanization.  We plan to continue and expand this effort with the use of SLEUTH model outputs in the remaining GCPO LCC subgeographies. 

Interested in exploring the future urban landscape in your area?  Check out the SLEUTH model data on the Gulf Coastal Plains and Ozarks LCC Conservation Planning Atlas.  Also see recent articles in the Washington Post and Atlanta Business Chronicle highlighting the outcomes of the investigation.

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Last year the GCPO LCC Adaptation Science Management Team released a draft of the Integrated Science Agenda (ISA), which uses a Strategic Habitat Conservation (SHC) approach to outline and prioritize science needs within the broad GCPO partnership.  The end game is to work with the LCC partnership using the priorities identified in the ISA to develop a comprehensive conservation design for the GCPO geography.  This SHC-based design will aid partners in strategic targeting and pooling of resources to maximize effectiveness and efficiency of conservation actions.  We’re not quite there yet, but we are pleased to report that we are well on our way. 

You don’t know what you need until you know what you’ve got

The GCPO LCC ISA provides an outline of 9 priority habitat systems based on NatureServe/USFWS’s “broadly-defined habitats” within parts of the GCPO LCC geography.  Within each habitat system the Adaptation Science Management Team (ASMT) worked with scientific experts to define hypotheses related to desired landscape endpoints and the priority species associated with those endpoints.  The GCPO LCC staff are now in the process of assessing what ecological conditions exist on the landscape with respect to those endpoints defined in the ISA.  The process is based on the simple premise that you don’t know what you need until you know what you’ve got. We are working towards that end goal of conservation design by first clearly defining what is presently available within each system (i.e., amount), how that system is configured (e.g., patch size, connectivity, etc.), and what condition the system is in (structure and composition).   

In the first installment of the “State of the GCPO” we will use the best available geospatial data to assess each aquatic and terrestrial landscape endpoint outlined in the Science Agenda.  We will follow this with a second installment that assesses relationships among priority species and their associated landscape endpoints.  These assessments will help provide clear linkages among habitats and species in priority systems within the GCPO geography, help the LCC identify and prioritize data needs, and lay the necessary groundwork for a comprehensive conservation design strategy in the GCPO.      

Seeking input on available datasets and processing tools

We are already making progress on several endpoints and wanted to share an example with you (see the draft assessing forested wetlands amount in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley).  Over the next 6 months we will be focusing on fleshing out the remaining aquatic and terrestrial landscape endpoints for inclusion in a full “State of the GCPO” landscape endpoints report.  In addition, the spatial data products we produce through this assessment will be publicly available via the GCPO Conservation Planning Atlas

We are seeking your input on available datasets and processing tools that can improve the accuracy of our assessment.  For more information or to provide suggestions please contact Yvonne Allen (aquatics) or Kristine Evans (terrestrial).  

Assessment of Forested Wetland Amount in the MAV

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GCPO LCC welcomes new Geomatics Coordinator

I am thrilled to have recently accepted the position of Geomatics Coordinator with the Gulf Coastal Plains and Ozarks LCC and can’t wait to officially come on board in mid-April.  I’ve been affiliated with the LCC from its early days, and the timing was perfect for me to take the next step and transition to full-time LCC staff.  It was an easy decision to make, since I have worked for the past several years directly in a collaborative environment with  >30 state and federal agencies, universities, and non-profit organizations developing, implementing, and evaluating coordinated monitoring, and scientific planning across regional and national scales.  You could say partnership-based work like that of the LCC is part of my DNA at this point!

I received my B.S. from Ohio University in 2000 with a major in Wildlife Biology and a minor in Environmental Studies.  I then went on to complete my M.S. in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture at Mississippi State University in 2004 studying genetic interrelationships of northern bobwhite.  After brief stays in Maryland and North Carolina and the birth of one child I returned to MSU in 2007 as a Research Associate coordinating both spatial and data management and analysis components of the National CP33 Monitoring Program and the Northern Bobwhite Restoration Projects (spanning more than 14 states and 10 physiographic regions).  While at MSU we had our second child and I worked toward and completed a Ph.D. (in my spare time!) in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture in 2012.  I also transitioned in 2012 to a position as Assistant Regional Data Manager with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Wildlife Refuge System, Southeast Region Inventory and Monitoring Network.  I worked with an exceptional team of peers to coordinate and integrate spatial and relationally-structured non-spatial data on several regional, multi-regional, and national FWS and LCC partnership projects, including the Mobile Acoustical Bat Monitoring project that spans 11 states and 5 physiographic regions. 

I believe whole-heartedly in the partnership-based vision necessary to address landscape-scale ecological sustainability, and I am excited to continue expanding my knowledge and experience with the GCPO LCC.  The Geomatics Coordinator is in a unique position to provide cutting-edge spatial decision support tool technologies to the resource partnership represented by the GCPO LCC.   Through my affiliation with the LCC I already have the distinct advantage of being familiar with GCPO LCC projects and applications such as the Conservation Planning Atlas, Landcover Database, and Forest Characterization Database tool.  I also served on the CPA Advanced Applications team and as a reviewer on the recent 2013 LCC RFP targeting objectives of the Integrated Science Agenda.  As Geomatics Coordinator I plan to work with the Geomatics Working Group and the entire LCC community to synthesize and integrate spatial conservation design, delivery and assessment applications that contribute to strategic delivery of conservation across our shared GCPO LCC landscape. I will emphasize turning emerging applications and outcomes from spatial data integration into tangible products useful in conservation planning and assessment. 

If you can’t tell already, I’m excited and ambitious about the Geomatics Coordinator position with the GCPO and ready to work with the excellent folks on the LCC team to get some great and smart conservation work done.  It is an exciting time to work in the conservation field, a time that requires us to think smarter, more efficiently and more strategically.  It is a time when technology has allowed us as conservationists to answer questions that we could not have imagined just a few years ago.  It is a time of change and adaptation.  I consider myself very fortunate as Geomatics Coordinator to have the opportunity to contribute to and learn from the adaptive vision of today’s conservation community.  

Looking forward to working with you all!

Kristine Evans


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