At ceremonies held at the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania . . .
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service presented the core team that produced the Gulf Coast Vulnerability Assessment (GCVA) with the inaugural Sam D. Hamilton Award for Transformational Conservation Science
Climate, sea level rise, and urbanization are undergoing extraordinary rates of change and are expected to have large effects on natural resources—particularly along the Gulf of Mexico coastline (Gulf Coast). Management decisions to address these effects (i.e., adaptation) require an understanding of the relative vulnerability of various resources to these stressors.
To meet this need, the four Landscape Conservation Cooperatives along the Gulf Coast—Gulf Coast Prairie, Gulf Coastal Plains & Ozarks, South Atlantic, and Peninsular Florida LCCs— initiated the project in collaboration with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance and more than 50 partners.
The GCVA provides an unprecedented look at the vulnerability of four Gulf Coast ecosystems and 11 associated species to assess their susceptibility to future change and aid in developing adaptation strategies. The ecosystems are mangrove, oyster reef, tidal emergent marsh, and barrier islands. The species are roseate spoonbill, blue crab, clapper rail, mottled duck, spotted seatrout, eastern oyster, American oystercatcher, red drum, black skimmer, Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, and Wilson’s plover.
The GCVA will guide future conservation and restoration efforts by helping conservation partners across the Gulf identify vulnerable areas where they can focus critical resources and maximize the efficacy of limited conservation funding. In addition, the GCVA team’s report pinpoints additional research needed to better anticipate impacts to coastal ecosystems and species along the northern Gulf of Mexico.
TPWD’s Ross Melinchuk recognized nationally for conservation impact
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – March 18, 2016 – Ducks Unlimited announced the winners of the 2016 Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards during the 81st North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference held in Pittsburgh, Pa. This year’s recipient in the state employee category is Ross Melinchuk, Deputy Executive Director for Natural Resources for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Mr. Melinchuk currently serves as an alternate Steering Committee member from TPWD for the Gulf Coast Prairie LCC.
Texas A&M-Kingsville professor recognized nationally for conservation impact
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – March 18, 2016 – Ducks Unlimited announced the winners of the 2016 Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards during the 81st North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference held in Pittsburgh, Pa. This year's recipient in the research/technical category is Dr. Bart Ballard, professor and research scientist in the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. Dr. Ballard has provided significant scientific support to both the GCP LCC and the Gulf Coast Joint Venture. He is a principal investigator on two Gulf Coast Prairie LCC projects: Conserving the Mottled Duck in Louisiana & Texas and Evaluating a Mottled Duck Habitat Decision Support Tool for Improved Outcomes.