The new administration’s decision to eliminate funding for LCCs in fiscal year 2018, along with the call for “other partners” to step up to support collaborative conservation, has created uncertainty for the GCP LCC. While Congress debates whether to accept the President’s budget or restore LCC funding, discussions have continued among Steering Committee members about ways to build on the positive work of the LCC to date. Steering Committee Members are exploring options for leadership and operation of our partnership(s), which may lead to the need for a face-to-face meeting this winter.
To date, partners have proposed at least three viable models to sustain our momentum. These include:
Similar discussions are happening elsewhere within the LCC network. For example, in early November the Alaska Conservation Foundation is hosting a meeting of the steering committees of all five LCCs that cover Alaska and northwest Canada to develop a vision for the future of collaborative conservation in that region. Consistent with the nature of LCCs as “self-directed partnerships,” the Northwest Boreal LCC is already moving to fill a Partnership Coordinator position held by the Wildlife Management Institute to replace the former LCC Coordinator who recently resigned from the Fish and Wildlife Service. In addition to coordinating the work of the NWB LCC, this position will work to expand and broaden funding and support for the partnership.
The Chinese symbol for “crisis” can be interpreted as a combination of “threat” and “opportunity.” The threat of elimination of LCC funding in the Department of Interior budget provides the partnership with the opportunity to chart its own course for the future. Steering Committee members appear ready to rise to the challenge.