This will be the final newsletter as we have come to know it - we will continue to communicate among our partners in various ways and means yet to be determined
Merry Christmas to all our many partners in the Southern Great Plains! We have many conservation activities progressing, some of which are noted in this newsletter. Collaboration takes time; it takes commitment and communication – we have built firm relationships among 18 agencies and organizations, and we hope to continue as best we can, informing our conservation partners across the Southern Great Plains of the many positive activities going forward for conservation. We want to ensure that we work together and collaborate, share our resources, and develop that common landscape vision for the Southern Great Plains.
Since 2010 we have accomplished much, but it is hard to believe it has been almost one year since our “Cooperative” met for business as a steering committee. Indications are that we will not meet again as a formal steering committee, conducting business within the GCP geography. After the DOI direction to cease LCC business meetings, it has come to me, slowly but surely, that change is upon us and we need to embrace change and move forward. In the past 6 months, we have worked collectively to develop an LCC path forward without "stoppage." Not knowing exactly how the future will unfold, we press on, building upon the relationships we have forged, encouraging a new vision for our partnership that is no longer under the LCC umbrella. We expect more conservation collaboration discussion in the coming year among our state partners. Moving forward, FWS Leadership will be working with the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies to discuss shared collaborative conservation interests. In the meantime, we will continue to be patient, maintain communication, foster relationships, and see what future options develop though these continuing discussions.
Though we as a partnership have not been able to formally meet, conduct business, or interact, many of you continue to provide good news for conservation, and many of us have actively participated in meetings, conferences and field events. In this newsletter, you will see these many activities our partnership has participated in, and the conservation discussions we have helped to facilitate. Partners in the Southern Great Plains have contemplated a variety of actions to attempt to maintain communications and cooperation among our respective partner networks. I especially would point you to the connected efforts of the Mussel Summit, the Landscape Conservation Design (LCD), the Southern Great Plains Monarch meetings, and the America’s Grasslands Conference.
In closing, I think it is fair to state that in the future, the GCP LCC will look different than it has these last 7 years. Collaborative conservation will continue, and together we are much stronger and more effective than any one of us is individually, but our partnership may have a different name with different staff and leadership. Regardless of how this
partnership evolves, what we have accomplished will remain as an example of collaboration for landscapes. We have built a body of science with experts who continue to provide a conservation vision for our ever-changing natural world, and we’ll maintain communication as partners in the Southern Great Plains. As always, your ideas and thoughts are welcome.