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Tools developed by neighboring LCCs expand conservation possibilities in the Northeast region

As LCCs increasingly collaborate to develop resources across boundaries, practitioners will benefit from tools that encompass broad geographic ranges. See a snapshot of three tools developed by the neighboring Appalachian and South Atlantic LCCs that can be used for action on the ground in the North Atlantic region.

Like the 21 other LCCs in the Network, the North Atlantic LCC helps to address critical conservation challenges by fostering collaboration among  diverse regional stakeholders.

But just as individual LCCs are fortified by the partnerships in their areas, the strength of the LCC Network comes from its collective resources. Initiatives and tools that cross LCC borders represent the best of both worlds: designed to reflect and inform local, state and regional conservation actions, but offering even greater context and broader impact.

Below is a snapshot of three emerging tools from neighboring LCCs that can be used to inform actions in the North Atlantic LCC region that may also contribute to conservation goals on a Network scale:

 

Riparian Restoration Decision Support Tool - Developed by the Appalachian LCC

  • What conservation need does it address? For a cold-water dependent species like eastern brook trout, seemingly small changes in water temperature can have major ripple effects for populations. Given the implications that climate change has for increasing the temperatures in freshwater bodies. from lakes to rivers to streams, resource managers need to act strategically to mitigate the impacts on aquatic communities.
  • How does it work? Using data on land cover, elevation, aspect, and the presence of cold-water dependent species, this web mapping tool identifies streams and rivers that have potential to maintain cold water in the face of rising air temperature but lack adequate tree cover to shade water from increasing solar radiation.
  • Who can use the tool, and how? Resource managers can use the tool to locate the best places to plant trees along stream and river banks to maximize shading over critical cold-water habitat.
  • How does it apply to the North Atlantic LCC? The coverage area of the Riparian Restoration Tool includes all of the Appalachian LCC and can be extended to the rest of the Northeast or the rest of the Eastern Brook Trout range in the U.S.  
  • Learn more: http://applcc.org/conservation-design/gis-planning/gis-tools-resources/riparian-restoration-decision-support-tool

 

Assessing Future Energy Development - Developed by the Appalachian LCC

  • What conservation need does it address? Millions of acres of temperate hardwood forest, unmatched diversity of terrestrial and aquatic life, high connectivity between intact ecosystems, drinking water supplies for 22 million people - the Appalachian region encompasses critical natural resources that communities of both wildlife and humans depend upon. However, the region also encompasses reserves of coal and natural gas, and prime sites for developing wind farms  - energy potential that may be at odds with ecological interests. In order to keep the integrity of the Appalachians intact while meeting the growing demand for energy, the best strategy is to anticipate where energy and environmental interests may overlap, and plan in advance to ensure all needs are balanced.  
  • How does it work? Using data on trends in energy development, the tool predicts where potential coal, natural gas, and wind developments will intersect with areas of high natural value, such as intact forests and vital watersheds.  
  • Who can use it, and how? Resource managers can download model results and overlay them with natural resource data specific to their goals in order to see potential risks to species, systems, and ecological services. With a means of visualizing both environmental and energy needs, the tool provides invaluable information to industries, agencies, and environmental organizations to initiate productive dialogue and collaboration in order to balance energy development and natural resource conservation.
  • How does it apply to the North Atlantic LCC? The coverage area of Energy Assessment tools includes the Appalachian part of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. It could be applied to energy development in additional parts or all of the Northeast region.
  • Learn more: http://applcc.org/conservation-design/gis-planning/gis-tools-resources/assessing-future-energy-development-1

 

Conservation Blueprint 1.0  - Developed by the South Atlantic LCC

  • What conservation need does it address? Climate change is already having an impact on the landscape - saltmarsh dieback, flooding, invasive species - yet the extent of the impacts remains uncertain. In the context of a changing climate, conservation goals become moving targets. In order to adapt to these impacts and mitigate the resulting harm to natural and human communities, resource managers need a spatial plan that is both consistent across the region, but also designed to adapt. 
  • How does it work? By combining sea-level rise and urbanization models with data on cultural resources and natural indicators for terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems - selected by representatives from more than 50 organizations in the region - the Conservation Blueprint identifies the highest priority sites for immediate action. A living spatial plan, the blueprint is designed to be updated and refined to reflect user feedback and new data.
  • Who can use it, and how? Resource managers, conservation practitioners, urban planners, cultural resource professionals, nonprofits, and community organizations across the region can use the plan to see the highest priority sites for conservation actions and adaptation measures in their jurisdictions.
  • How does it apply to the North Atlantic LCC? The coverage area of the Conservation Blueprint extends into Virginia, and the plan itself serves as a model for developing a regional landscape conservation design based on stakeholder input. The LCCs will work together to crosswalk designs across the border and learn from different design approaches
  • Learn more: http://www.southatlanticlcc.org/page/conservation-blueprint

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