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Momentum for collaborative conservation grows at gathering of regional conservation partnerships

During an annual gathering of agencies, non-profits, land trusts and organizations involved in regional conservation, North Atlantic LCC staff and partners showcased projects that have fostered collaboration around shared conservation goals.
Momentum for collaborative conservation grows at gathering of regional conservation partnerships

Brian Hall, Harvard Forest

From regionally consistent data sets to landscape conservation designs, the North Atlantic LCC is developing tools to address big picture conservation goals across the region. Increasingly, these tools are getting into the hands of partners who can use them to make decisions on the ground.

At a November Regional Conservation Partnerships Network Gathering focused on fostering cross-sector collaboration, staff and partners of the North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) showcased efforts that are doing just that.

United by the conviction that long-term conservation success cannot be achieved in isolation, Regional Conservation Partnerships (RCPs) are a prime audience for the collaborative resources made possible by the North Atlantic LCC. Comprising networks of agencies, non-profits, land trusts, and private organizations, RCPS are instrumental for realizing long-term conservation goals in 39 areas across New England and eastern New York.

With 150 participants in attendance, the gathering in Nashua, N.H., provided an opportunity to network with new partners, learn about innovative science and tools, and rally around a common vision.

In the opening plenary on “breaking down silos”, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Assistant Regional Director for Science Applications Ken Elowe helped set the stage by describing landscape conservation design as both a product and a process that can inform collaborative decisions about conservation.

In three subsequent workshops, staff and partners of the North Atlantic LCC presented efforts underway to put the best-available conservation science in the hands of those who can use it.

Steve Fuller and Andrew Milliken of the North Atlantic LCC, and Brian Hall of Harvard Forest, led a session describing the approach, information and tools being developed by the LCC for conservation planning and design at multiple scales in the Northeast Region.

Abigail Weinberg from the Open Space Institute - a recipient of a Science Delivery grant from the North Atlantic LCC - led a workshop on how specific data sets can be used to address climate resiliency and biodiversity.

And Nancy McGarigal, lead Natural Resource Planner for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region, and Scott Schwenk, Science Coordinator for the North Atlantic LCC, provided a detailed look at landscape conservation design in action through a tour of the Connecticut River Watershed Landscape Conservation Design Pilot.

Together the presentations provided a sense of the breadth of resources available through the North Atlantic LCC, and provided guidance on how collaborators like RCPs can make use of them.

“This is part of how we have envisioned landscape conservation’s success,” explained Andrew Milliken, explaining that the RCP gathering provided a great opportunity to reach new collaborative partners. “Outreach through existing partner networks is much more effective way of delivering information and tools to those who need them, and of getting meaningful feedback.”

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