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Connecticut River Watershed Pilot begins to visualize actions

Featuring more than 100 data sets representing a suite of habitats, species, ecological processes, and environmental conditions across the Northeast, the North Atlantic LCC's Conservation Planning Atlas offers an invaluable conservation resource for regional partners. Now the Connecticut River Watershed Pilot's Core Team is putting this tool to use by creating and comparing maps to inform the project's Landscape Conservation Design process.

After a months-long build out by North Atlantic LCC Information Management and Science Delivery staff, the North Atlantic LCC's Conservation Planning Atlas on Data Basin has become a rich source of spatial data for the Northeast conservation community, with 100 data sets and counting. Now the conservation community is putting this resource to use as a means of visualizing actions through live maps and simulations, rather than static documents.  

During a meeting of the Connecticut River Watershed Pilot Core Team in September, North Atlantic LCC Science Coordinator Scott Schwenk and GIS Coordinator BJ Richardson showed what the Conservation Planning Atlas has to offer, unveiling a set of eight draft scenarios that enable partners to compare and contrast various conservation decision points.

The simulations provide a clear picture of some of the complex models that are informing the Pilot’s Landscape Conservation Design process, including "Terrestrial and Wetland Ecosystem Core Areas" and "Aquatic Resiliency" models.

Members of the Pilot’s Terrestrial subteam have already started to use the Conservation Planning Atlas to review data sets and models, and provide feedback to the Information Management team - a key advantage of the close collaboration.

The North Atlantic LCC will be distributing instructions to members of the Core Team on accessing the Conservation Planning Atlas, and will be conducting a webinar on how to use various tools to review, edit and save maps.

The North Atlantic LCC’s portal is part of a network of Conservation Planning Atlases being developed by LCCs network-wide as part of the Integrated Data Management Network Project. The multi-LCC data management research project involves multiple government agencies, non-profit organizations, and university researchers, all coordinating efforts to investigate best practices in data management, and provide recommendations for LCCs moving forward. The project is in the final stages, soon to manifest in two forthcoming resources: 1. A Static PDF, and 2. A web page on the national LCC Network website that will serve as a living document.

In conjunction with this network-wide initiative, painstaking effort went into establishing and refining the North Atlantic LCC's Conservation Planning Atlas site, both in terms of the validity and documentation of the scientific content, and the storage and delivery of the data. The work related to the Integrated Data Management Network Project will be presented at the Large Landscape Conference on October 23rd and 24th in Washington, D.C.

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