In last month’s newsletter, we announced that LCC staff were hosting 1-day workshops around the GCPO region to unveil draft maps that will become part of the GCPO LCC’s Blueprint for Shared Action. The purpose of these workshops is to engage partners and stakeholders in a discussion about shared priorities for maintaining, conserving, or restoring habitat.
In the workshops, participants are given an overview of the need for the Blueprint and the process the LCC has been using to develop it. The remainder of the time is spent gathered around the maps that result from that process. Participants discuss what’s working and what could be improved for each of the 9 habitat systems defined in the draft Integrated Science Agenda (ISA).
In February, we completed workshops in Lake Ozark, Missouri, Ft. Smith, Arkansas and Caddo Lake State Park, Texas. So far, 39 people from 22 organizations have participated in the discussion. This included 7 folks who’ve been a part of the Blueprint process leading up to the workshops, and 3 LCC Steering Committee members.
Folks who attended the workshops liked what they saw. They commented that the process made sense, and the Rule Sets used to develop the maps made the underlying decisions transparent. They also enjoyed the opportunity to have group discussion about the maps and learn from others in the room about ongoing conservation projects. Above all, they greatly appreciated the opportunity to provide input & influence the further development of the Blueprint.
They also identified a number of ways to improve the maps. Although the Rule Sets were transparent, they didn’t always feel that the rules were applicable to their geography. For example, the 100-acre threshold applied to grassland patches discounted some high quality natural areas in Arkansas, Texas and Louisiana. Folks identified important errors in the input data sets, provided comments regarding the species associated particular habitats, and suggested additional sources of species and partner priority area data sets.
Four to Go
The Conservation Blueprint is both a process and a set of products. For the process to be successful and the products to be useful, we need to hear from you. The local input we’ve received thus far is invaluable. We hope you will attend 1 of the 4 remaining workshops to be held in March. If you can’t attend one of the workshops, please consider reviewing the maps on the Conservation Planning Atlas. If you have questions, please contact Todd Jones-Farrand (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Cynthia Edwards (email@example.com).