After one and a half years of meetings, conference calls, data calls, flow charts, number crunching, map prototypes, consultations, and revisions, version 1.0 of the GCPO LCC’s Conservation Blueprint is ready. You can find all the data sets and documentation freely available in the Blueprint Gallery on the GCPO’s Conservation Planning Atlas.
All the pretty partners
The Blueprint has really been a team effort! We set out to take our shared vision of achieving “landscapes capable of sustaining natural and cultural resources for the 21st century” and develop a tangible set of tools to help us achieve that vision. Approximately 60 people worked with the LCC staff to bring it all together. In addition, 128 people from 50 organizations attended the workshop series earlier this year to provide input on the process and the products. Through the input of so many people, the Blueprint is beginning to fulfill its role as a common framework and a common language for the partnership as it wrestles with the challenges of 21st century conservation.
There were two main outcomes that emerged from all these discussions. The first was a process for getting from lofty statements about what we want to what we can do. The vision of the GCPO talks about sustainable landscapes and the Integrated Science Agenda outlines a picture of what we want habitats to look like. The Blueprint builds on these by creating assessments of what could be done to achieve those conditions and where it might be best to do so. In developing that process, we knew we wouldn’t get it right the first time. So we focused on transparency and developing working prototypes to test and refine over time.
The second thing to emerge was that set of prototypes. In all, 114 spatial data sets make up Blueprint v1.0. These products are linked together in that they build upon the Integrated Science Agenda to assess landscape condition and identify which landscapes may be closest to sustainable conditions now. These are the data that were integrated into the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy’s Conservation Blueprint, unveiled in October 2016 at SEAFWA.
Miles to go and promises to keep
The release of Blueprint v1.0 is an important milestone for the partnership, but like Thursday’s child we have far to go. To really help us achieve sustainable landscapes, we’ll likely need to refine and adapt both the process and the products of Blueprint v1.0. The current Blueprint has its flaws – some we know about and some we don’t. In 2017, the LCC staff will be working on improvements and expansions, with a focus on increasing the defensibility of the assessments and strengthening the linkage to conservation delivery. We may come calling on you to help us determine what kinds of conservation decisions the Blueprint can help us address.
But there’s no need to wait on us! You can help us by trying to apply the Blueprint to your work. Use it, bend it, break it. And tell us all about it. If we know where it helps and where it doesn’t, we can figure out how to make the Blueprint more useful. Plus, it’s very likely that the kinds of decisions you need to make are ones someone else in the partnership is working on as well. If the Blueprint can become a tool to help us work more collaboratively then it will have met our expectations.
As always, if you have questions or comments regarding the Blueprint feel free to contact me at 573-355-0753 or firstname.lastname@example.org.