A fine-scale LCD for the Edwards Plateau to the Gulf is underway
The Gulf Coast Prairie LCC identified focal species and associated habitats to help focus partnership efforts on priority conservation needs, specifically the development of landscape conservation design products that aid decision-making for conservation delivery actions. The priority area chosen for focusing this “fine-scale” planning was the Edwards Plateau to Gulf region, which encompasses watersheds of the Lower Colorado, Guadalupe and San Antonio rivers. After assessing Statements of Interest for this project, the GCP Technical Review Team has unanimously recommended, and the GCP LCC Steering Committee has approved, a proposal from Drs. Green, Jensen, and Hardy at Texas State University to receive this grant.
Drs. Green, Jensen, and Hardy clearly demonstrated the requisite knowledge, expertise, and process for completing the desired outcomes of the Conservation Design RFP. The methods they proposed are fully developed, transparent, incorporate existing LCC platforms, and would yield products designed for maximum transparency and accessibility (i.e., use of DataBasin with detailed spatial data products). Of particular note, the use of Open Standards for Conservation, a well-documented, standardized approach for eliciting and managing expert information, and the use of professional facilitators were notable strengths of their proposal.
This process culminates approximately 2 years worth of planning among stakeholders and Steering Committee members to define both a geographic focal area and a scope of work that the LCC could undertake to fill the need for synthesis and collaboration across many partners. This will be an 18 month project, and we anticipate final products by winter of 2018. More details will be forthcoming in future news.
Congratulations to our new PIs!
Monarch & Pollinator Conservation Projects Approved
Two projects have also been approved in response to the GCP LCC’s fall 2016 Request for SOIs.
1. In Texas, Janis Bush with the University of Texas, San Antonio (UTSA) will conduct surveys along the I-35 corridor of milkweed, monarch butterfly populations, and associated habitat characteristics in support of the National Monarch Monitoring Protocol. The data will be analyzed to to determine the predictive value of habitat characteristics for monarch eggs, number and stage of monarch larvae, number of milkweed plants, and number of milkweed stems.
2. In Oklahoma, Kristin Baum with Oklahoma State University (OSU) will conduct Monarch-pollinator monitoring, tracking and evaluation of grassland habitat and management practices in the southern plains. She will also implement the National Monarch Monitoring Protocol and use it to evaluate and make revisions for the purposes of assessing habitat restoration effectiveness and Monarch/ pollinator population use.
Red River and Oklahoma Land Cover projects move forward
Two projects approved in 2016 are moving forward:
1. The GCP LCC has hired DJ Case to assist in the “Red River Basin Stakeholder Engagement” project, working in continuous collaboration with the South Central Climate Science Center (SC CSC). This initiative will convene stakeholders in the Red River Basin of Oklahoma and Texas, with the goal of uncovering areas of concern and future needs relative to climate change impacts on water supplies, farming techniques, cultural posterity, regional economies and more.
2. The University of Missouri’s Resource Assessment Partnership (MoRAP) will conduct the GCP LCC project entitled “Connecting Advanced Land Cover for Improved Biological Planning and Conservation Design.” This project will improve existing land cover data through edge matching between TX and OK and developing an enduring features dataset for Oklahoma (similar to the one Texas already has), a process for updating land cover maps, and field data collection on grasslands to improve the accuracy of grassland land cover.
Expect more on each of these projects in the future!