Conservation Partners connecting working lands conservation from the Gulf of Mexico to the High Plains with the vision of a sustainable landscape of natural resources resilient to the threats and stressors associated with our changing world.

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Conservation Coordinator 

Wrapping up on coarse filter landscape conservation design; planning for science needs

Date: 05/24/16

The Gulf Coast Prairie LCC Science Team recently met to (1) complete the coarse filter (habitat-centric) landscape conservation design (LCD) effort approved by the Steering Committee in June 2015, and (2) focus on processes to identify, compile, and further develop science needs in preparation for future funding opportunities.

At the May 17-19 meeting held at the NOAA Estuarine Habitats and Coastal Fisheries Center in Lafayette, LA, fifteen individuals participated -- including five Science Team members, three Science Team nominees, four invited guests, and four LCC support staff. 


Coarse Filter LCD

The Science Team and LCC staff invested considerable time over the last ten months creating and refining a rule set through which projections of broadly defined habitats have been created across the LCC geography.  Blair Tirpak presented a detailed overview of the ruleset for Tallgrass Prairie and provided clarification on data sources and data treatment, as well as the process for how rules are combined to create final projections of broadly defined habitat types.  These habitat projections show where on the landscape each broadly defined habitat is likely to be aggregated when taking into consideration future anticipated development and a projected sea level rise scenario.  The team reached a consensus on the rule set at the meeting after making slight adjustments. 


Blair presented draft projections for ten of the seventeen broadly defined habitats, to which team members provided feedback and recommended changes to rulesets for certain habitats.  The Science Team reached a consensus on these draft projections after making slight adjustments to a few.  They also reached consensus on an approach for projecting agricultural lands, primarily focusing on aquatic land uses (rice and aquaculture) that can provide critical habitat for Tier 1 focal species listed in the GCP LCC Science Strategy There was some discussion that two of the remaining habitats (caves and aquifers, springs and spring-runs) lack sufficient data to make projections, although no consensus was reached during the meeting.


The team began defining desired future conditions for the four remaining aquatic broadly defined habitats. Team members will work closely with Blair and Ben Kahler over the next month to further define these conceptual models and translate them into projections using regional and national data sets. 


Finally, the team reached a consensus that all the final coarse filter products will be packaged for submission to the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy Blueprint.  Blair, Ben, and Amie Treuer-Kuehn will prototype approaches in the coming weeks and engage the Science Team for input and feedback with a goal to reach consensus by early July.


Science needs

The Science Team also received updates on LCC-funded projects and used that to frame a discussion around identifying science needs that are suitable for “next up” status.  The team decided to combine all science needs that have been identified by the LCC from the many places they are currently documented (e.g., Science Strategy, Instream Flow Science Strategy).  Team members will make a comprehensive list of science needs over the next few weeks, and members members are encouraged to champion ideas on the list and develop them into more clearly defined project ideas ready for funding through the LCC or through external funds (i.e., grant submissions).  Team members are creating a template for more fully developed science projects, which will eventually be posted and publicly available on the GCP LCC Science Strategy page.


Finally, the Team reached a consensus to use Griffin Groups as a creative space to interact and as a warehouse of documents pertinent to long-term coordination and delivery of Team tasks.