Register for a virtual workshop to review draft Southeast Conservation Blueprint 2023
Once again, we’ve hit an exciting milestone in the development of the Southeast Conservation Blueprint–it’s workshop time! Visit the workshops page to learn more and register.
This year, the 2023 Blueprint is expanding consistent methods and indicators to the U.S. Caribbean and the offshore U.S. waters of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. Check out Rua’s blog for more details on the 2023 Blueprint update. We need your feedback on the draft Blueprint!Read more...
Likely Blueprint improvements for 2023
As you might remember, the big focus for the 2023 update is expanding consistent Blueprint methods from the contiguous Southeast to the U.S. Caribbean and remaining parts of the Gulf and Atlantic. Other than improved consistency, here are some of the improvements likely to make it into the 2023 Blueprint.
- Updated and expanded marine indicators in the Atlantic Ocean: Marine mammal, marine birds, hardbottom, and deep-sea coral related indicators are now updated based on newer data. They also extend all the way down to the southern tip of Florida.
Engaging private landowners at the National Association of Conservation Districts annual meeting
The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) held their 77th annual meeting last month in New Orleans, and I had the pleasure of attending on behalf of SECAS. The NACD is a group of local representatives from every single county (or parish, if you’re in Louisiana) in every single state and territory across the country. They provide feedback to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) about the needs of the local agricultural community, which has a direct effect on Farm Bill allocations. These groups were formed in response to the “Dust Bowl” and have had a long-standing relationship with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in addition to the USDA.Read more...
Spring 2023 Third Thursday Web Forum schedule
Here’s the flyer for the spring SECAS Third Thursday Web Forum schedule! This webinar series is held on the third Thursday of each month at 10 am Eastern time.
During the March web forum, I will talk about new ways to access the Southeast Conservation Blueprint data online. The April webinar will showcase an amazing Southeast living shoreline success story. In May, as part of a bigger series of virtual workshops, Rua and other members of SECAS staff will host a workshop to review the draft Blueprint 2023 priorities in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Please note, that workshop webinar will last an extra half-hour (10:00-11:30 am ET, instead of ending at 11:00 as we usually do). It will also require advance registration and use special connection information. More details on workshops will be available in the next newsletter.Read more...
New features added to the Blueprint Explorer viewer
We recently added two new and exciting features to the Southeast Conservation Blueprint Explorer viewer: filtering the Blueprint by the underlying indicators, and viewing different data layers on the map. As a reminder, the Explorer is a simple online interface designed to make it easy to discover how a particular area is scoring in the Blueprint, and why. Back in December, I talked about the new pixel data mode that allows you to drill into the smallest unit of the Blueprint analysis–a 30 m by 30 m square pixel–and find out what’s driving the priorities.Read more...
Caribbean Community of Practice kickoff meeting in Christiansted, St. Croix
This month, some SECAS staff traveled to St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands for a Caribbean Community of Practice (CoP) kickoff meeting. The meeting, organized in conjunction with the Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center (SE CASC), had over 45 attendees from 13 different agencies and organizations and spanned two days. The goals for this meeting were to:
- Support the development of a strong community of practice in the Caribbean by creating opportunities to learn about existing work across the region,
- Elicit feedback on the developing Caribbean Blueprint indicators and draft priorities, and
- Engage in discussions about the data inequities and conservation challenges that are unique to the Caribbean.
A tale of two partnerships - How SARP and SECAS work together
Have you heard about SARP? I think of SARP as the sibling to SECAS.
The Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership (SARP) began in 2001 as a collaborative effort among organizations, agencies, and individuals working to conserve aquatic resources in the Southeast region of the United States. For the past 20+ years, SARP’s partners have experienced the value of working together at the landscape scale to leverage resources, build trust, and learn from one another. SARP was officially designated as one of the nation’s first Fish Habitat Partnerships and supports a variety of regional initiatives to restore and protect aquatic habitats for the many imperiled aquatic species across the Southeast.Read more...
2023 National Coastal Resilience Fund RFP now open
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) has released its request for pre-proposals for the 2023 National Coastal Resilience Fund. Pre-proposals are due on Wednesday, April 12, 2023.
According to the RFP, “NFWF will award up to $140 million in grants to create and restore natural systems in order to increase protection for communities from coastal hazards, such as storms, sea- and lake-level changes, inundation, and coastal erosion, while improving habitats for fish and wildlife species.” NFWF prioritizes projects that are community led or incorporate direct community engagement and benefit underserved communities facing disproportionate harm from climate impacts.Read more...
1st Annual Rivercane Gathering coming up April 4-7 in Tahlequah, OK
Did you attend the February Third Thursday Web Forum last week? If so, you heard Roger Cain, Tribal Ethnobotanist with the Office of Environmental Services and Historic Preservation of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee in Oklahoma, talk about the importance of rivercane and some of the ongoing efforts to restore it. If you missed that amazing presentation and subsequent discussion and Q&A session, here’s a video of the recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6ORbCeodAA&feature=youtu.be
In his webinar, Roger mentioned the upcoming Rivercane Gathering scheduled for April 4-7 in Tahlequah, OK, which is being held in-person for the first time.Read more...
Winter Third Thursday Web Forum flyer
The winter Third Thursday Web Forum flyer is now available! The January web forum next week will feature a project exploring the overlap between the Blueprint and predicted suitable habitat for many imperiled species. The February web forum will focus on work by the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee in Oklahoma and their partners to sustain rivercane, a culturally and ecologically important species of cane indigenous to North America.
These webinars and other SECAS events are available on the SECAS event calendar.
The Third Thursday Web Forum is held on the third Thursday of each month at 10 am Eastern time. We hope you’ll join us. »Click here for an interactive pdf of the flyer, with functioning links.Read more...
NFWF Coral Reef Conservation Fund 2023 RFP now available
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Coral Reef Conservation Fund has released its 2023 Request for Proposals! This grant program is intended to improve the health of coral reef systems. According to the RFP, “grants will be awarded to reduce land-based sources of pollution, advance coral reef fisheries management, increase capacity for reef-scale restoration and to support management in their efforts to increase the natural recovery and resiliency of coral reef systems.”Read more...
The Southeast Blueprint Explorer - Now with more to explore!
In my blog last month, I highlighted the new features of the Southeast Conservation Blueprint Explorer viewer that were already available, and previewed a few more that were coming soon. The Explorer is a simple online viewer that’s intended to make the Blueprint easy for anyone to access without high-tech software or GIS expertise. One of those new functions is now available: pixel mode! One of the most frequent questions we here from users is, “why is this place right here purple?” Pixel mode can help answer that question.Read more...
Opportunity to review early indicators for the Caribbean in January 2023
As I mentioned in my blog last month, extending the consistent methods and indicators used in the 2022 Blueprint to the Caribbean is a major focus of the 2023 Blueprint update. Indicator development is well underway, and we’d like to get feedback on a few draft indicators during the first three weeks of January.
We’ve scheduled two calls to review a handful of terrestrial indicators (e.g., Caribbean landscape condition and Caribbean island habitat), and a third to review some aquatic and coastal indicators (e.g., Caribbean natural landcover in floodplains and Caribbean coastal shoreline condition).Read more...
Southeast Blueprint changelog updated to 2022
The changelog for the Southeast Blueprint has been updated to include the improvements made in Blueprint 2022! In the tech world, a changelog is an easy-to-read document that captures the significant changes made in each version of a project or software program. So, every year, we update the Southeast Blueprint changelog to capture the major changes made in the latest version of the Blueprint. It serves as a helpful resource for SECAS staff, and we hope it also helps you understand what changed and why.Read more...
The plan for the 2023 Southeast Conservation Blueprint
The 2022 Southeast Conservation Blueprint now covers almost all of the Southeast with consistent methods and indicators. What’s next for 2023?
The plan is to focus on extending those consistent methods to the places we couldn’t quite get to this year. That includes Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and additional marine areas in places like the Gulf of Mexico and parts of the Atlantic. Lots of folks have been asking for the consistent Blueprint methods to include those areas, so making that happen is going to be a major focus for 2023.Read more...
Southeast Blueprint Explorer viewer updated with 2022 data
The Southeast Blueprint Explorer has been updated with the latest data for Southeast Blueprint 2022! This easy-to-use online viewer is a great place to start exploring the Blueprint and the underlying data–no GIS experience or fancy software licenses required! The Explorer is a big part of our commitment to making the Blueprint accessible to everyone.
Huge thanks to Brendan Ward with Astute Spruce for his oustanding work designing the Explorer and updating the data! Now you can see the new Blueprint priorities, indicators, corridors, threats, and more summarized by 12-digit HUC subwatershed and marine lease block. You can export reports for those summary areas or upload your own shapefile and create a custom report full of detailed maps and analysis.Read more...
SECAS at SEAFWA 2022 – Back in-person after three years!
This year’s Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) conference was full of opportunities for SECAS to focus on in-person engagement around landscape scale conservation topics. Over the course of four days, SECAS staff participated in dedicated briefings, technical sessions, committee meetings, Blueprint demonstrations, and informal networking all in support of the SECAS partnership.Read more...
Southeast Conservation Blueprint 2022 is now available!
The latest update to the Southeast Conservation Blueprint, version 2022, is now available!
Big thanks to the 234 people from 80 organizations who attended workshops and provided feedback on the draft version. Part of that feedback was spatial comments on where the Blueprint could be improved. In the final version, we managed to either fully or partially fix about 40% of them (88 total!). The known issues we couldn’t fix this year are now documented on the website and included in the Blueprint development process.Read more...
SECAS symposium at the SEAFWA conference focuses on applying the Southeast Conservation Blueprint across scales
The 76th Annual Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) conference kicks off on October 24th in Charleston, West Virginia. On the first afternoon, the SECAS symposium will bring together multiple partners to talk about the Southeast of the future and the role that we each play in achieving our shared vision of a connected lands and waters that support thriving fish and wildlife populations and improved quality of life for people. To reach that vision, SECAS partners are leveraging both the framework and tools of the initiative to make significant conservation accomplishments in the Southeast. The SECAS symposium will focus on specific examples of how the Blueprint has been successfully applied across regional, state, community, and local scales.Read more...
The Nature Conservancy uses the Blueprint to help inform low impact solar siting in Georgia
Rapid deployment of large-scale solar energy projects is critical to accelerate the transition to a cleaner energy future. Unfortunately, these projects currently require significant quantities of land. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) supports the acceleration of large-scale solar development when responsibly sited in areas of low environmental impact. Low impact siting principles help protect our most sensitive habitats while also providing more certainty for developers earlier in the process. Research indicates that using low impact siting principles can decrease reputational risk for developers and save money by avoiding project delays and public opposition. TNC in Georgia has worked together in partnership with conservation groups, developers, and utilities to launch a publicly available tool that can support Georgia decision-makers as they seek win-win outcomes for both conservation and decarbonization. The GA Low Impact Solar Siting Tool (GA LISST) is available to the public at http://bit.ly/GALowImpactSolar.Read more...
Southeast Conservation Blueprint 2022 on track for final release this fall
We’re still on track to release Southeast Conservation Blueprint 2022 this fall. We’re planning to make it available by late October in time for the annual conference of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA). We’re just finalizing the data and documentation and making everything publicly available online. Here’s what you can expect from this year’s release:Read more...
Fall 2022 Third Thursday Web Forum flyer
The fall 2022 Third Thursday Web Forum flyer is now available! The September web forum will feature a project to assess dynamic patterns of floodplain inundation across the United States using Landsat imagery. The October web forum will focus on a case study demonstrating how carbon and stormwater credits, as well as equity benefits, can help drive private investment in parks and greenways. In November, Rua will summarize the improvements in the latest version of the Southeast Conservation Blueprint, which uses consistent methods and indicators Southeast-wide.
These webinars and other SECAS events are available on the SECAS event calendar.Read more...
SECAS for the people: A conversation with the team working to empower communities
Shared from an article in the “Wild Weekly” newsletter of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
With the release of Biden’s Executive Order 13990 and the 2021 report, Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful, there’s a new emphasis on locally led landscape scale conservation across the Service. With various interpretations and unique regional dynamics, identifying what work is already being conducted within the Service and what opportunities remain untapped within locally led landscape scale conservation can be complicated.Read more...
Meet three new members of the user support team
Over the past couple of months, SECAS has welcomed three new staff members working on user support for the Southeast Conservation Blueprint. Here you can get to know them a little bit better! If you want to reach out to someone on the user support team to get help using the Blueprint, you can find contact information on the SECAS staff page.Read more...
How the Blueprint is helping support conservation and the military mission
The intersection of conservation and the military mission has emerged as a prominent theme in our recent work with user support. The user support team has assisted with several use cases lately where the military community has used the Southeast Conservation Blueprint and other complementary data to strengthen proposals to establish new Sentinel Landscapes, and to inform conservation planning to better sustain both natural and cultural resources and the military mission. I thought this would be a good topic for a “user story roundup” to share some examples of how the Blueprint can help advance shared goals in this arena!Read more...
Progress update on addressing Blueprint workshop comments
All those comments from the recent Blueprint workshops have been super helpful in figuring out what to improve before finalizing this year’s version. As I mentioned during the workshops and in my blog from last month, we’re improving what we can this year and documenting issues we can’t fix so we can cue them up for next year’s update cycle. Here’s a sense of some improvements to expect in the final version.Read more...
Summer 2022 Third Thursday Web Forum flyer
The summer Third Thursday Web Forum schedule is now available! We host this web forum on the third Thursday of each month at 10 am Eastern time. We have some great speakers lined up for June, July, and August.Read more...
June Third Thursday Web Forum showcases Atlantic Coast Joint Venture
The next webinar in the Third Thursday Web Forum series will feature an update from the Atlantic Coast Joint Venture (ACJV) on their coastal marsh conservation efforts.
Collaborative conservation of coastal marsh systems - A science update from the Atlantic Coast Joint Venture
Mo Correll, Science Coordinator, Atlantic Coast Joint Venture
June 16th, 10 am Eastern timeRead more...
Results from draft Blueprint review at workshops and next steps
Thanks so much to all the folks who came to the recent Blueprint 2022 workshops. All the great feedback is going to significantly improve this and future versions of the Blueprint. If you want to learn more about who came, check out Hilary’s blog.
We got more than 400 spatial comments on the draft version of Southeast Conservation Blueprint 2022. Some were questions, some were underprioritized or overprioritized areas, and others were places that looked good. Those comments, and others in the workshop chat, are guiding what improvements we work on for the Blueprint. We’re hoping to be able to incorporate some of those improvements before finalizing this version of the Blueprint later this year. For things we can’t fix, we’ll document them in the known issues and prioritize them for improvements in next year’s Blueprint.Read more...
Blueprint workshop attendance and wording poll results
The SECAS staff team had such an exciting and thought-provoking three weeks of virtual workshops to review Draft Southeast Conservation Blueprint 2022! Huge thanks to the 234 people from 80 organizations who attended and provided feedback. The chart above shows how attendance broke out across different sectors of the conservation community.
The primary focus of the workshop was gathering spatially explicit comments on where the Blueprint is underprioritizing, overprioritizing, or correctly prioritizing important areas for conservation. If you want to learn more about the spatial feedback provided by workshop attendees, and the fixes we’re hoping to implement this year based on that input, check out Rua’s blog.Read more...
America the Beautiful Challenge 2022 Request for Proposals now open!
Have you heard about the new 2022 America the Beautiful Challenge? America the Beautiful is a national call to action to conserve, connect, and restore at least 30% of our nation’s lands and waters by the year 2030. In a nutshell, this new challenge program “will invest in the restoration of watersheds, forests, and grasslands while also working toward other goals consistent with the America the Beautiful Initiative, including strengthened resilience, equitable access to the outdoors, workforce development, migration corridors, habitat connectivity and collaborative conservation.”
The Request for Proposals is now live! It’s being administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Federation with a vision to “streamline grant funding opportunities for new voluntary conservation and restoration projects around the United States.”Read more...
Blueprint workshops start next week - Don't forget to register!
Blueprint workshops start next week! Have you signed up yet? It’s not too late! Visit the workshop page to learn more and register. 260 people have signed up so far–and the more, the merrier!
As I explained in my blog last month, SECAS is hosting 16 virtual workshops during the next 3 weeks to review draft Southeast Blueprint 2022 across 15 states. There’s no cost to attend, and all you’ll need to participate is a reliable internet connection.Read more...
Spring Third Thursday Web Forum schedule released
The spring Third Thursday Web Forum flyer is now available! On the April webinar, Rua will provide a progress update on the development of Southeast Conservation Blueprint 2022. The May web forum will feature a dataset that will be incorporated as an indicator of stable marsh in that upcoming Blueprint update!
These webinars and other SECAS events are available on the SECAS event calendar.Read more...
A conservation plan for the people
The Blueprint, by the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy, is helping to make collaborative conservation a reality across the South
Shared from an article in the “Wild Weekly” newsletter of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The Panhandle needed all the help it could get in 2018 after Hurricane Michael barreled through with killer, 160 mph winds. Mexico Beach was almost wiped off the map. Other towns along Michael’s path were pummeled, too. Countless fields and forests in-between suffered major damage.Read more...
Register for a virtual workshop to review draft Southeast Conservation Blueprint 2022
We’ve reached an exciting milestone in the development of the new and improved 2022 version of the Southeast Conservation Blueprint–it’s workshop time! Check out the workshop page to learn more and register.
SECAS is hosting a series of 16 workshops during the first 3 weeks of May to review draft Southeast Blueprint 2022 across 15 states. Each workshop will last 1.5 hours and be hosted via Zoom. The workshops will focus on either a group of states or a subregion.Read more...
Upcoming webinar on 3/17 - Forest conservation priorities for landbirds in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley
The next webinar in the Third Thursday Web Forum series features two datasets from the Lower Mississippi Valley Joint Venture that will be incorporated as indicators in this year’s update to the Southeast Conservation Blueprint! Don’t forget, you can now see these upcoming webinars and other SECAS events on the new SECAS event calendar.Read more...
First blog from the new SECAS Coordinator
This is my first blog of what is sure to be many as the incoming SECAS Coordinator. I am excited to join a team of incredibly talented and smart conservation professionals, and to serve the partnership of 15 states and 2 territories as we continue to build on the previous decade of landscape-scale conservation successes. I am looking forward to applying my experience with multi-stakeholder, landscape-scale conservation planning and implementation efforts among over 30 partners from Alaska and Northwest Canada, including federal agencies, four states/provinces, Indigenous communities, research institutions and non-governmental organizations. I have also worked with over a dozen states and 19 countries to help organizations, communities, and governments better understand, manage, and adapt to social and ecological changes. Most recently, I have been coordinating the Strategic Conservation Assessment of Gulf Coast Landscapes from my home base in New Orleans, Louisiana.Read more...
Two upcoming webinars on 1/20 and 2/17 - Update to TNC's resilience analysis and latest EPA Coastal Condition Assessment results
The two upcoming webinars in the Third Thursday Web Forum series feature datasets that will be incorporated as indicators in the 2022 Southeast Conservation Blueprint! Don’t forget, you can now see these upcoming webinars and other SECAS events on the new SECAS event calendar.Read more...
This is Mallory Martin, SECAS Coordinator, signing off
This is my last blog post as your SECAS Coordinator; I’ll be happily sailing off into retirement by the time many of you read this. So, it’s an appropriate time for reflection on the past and anticipation for the future, not only for me but also for the SECAS partnership.
While there’s a lot about SECAS to reflect on, and I could never recount all the conservation triumphs of SECAS since its inception in 2011, I’ll mention two recent accomplishments that I think set the stage for continued relevance to advance landscape conservation in the Southeast in 2022 and beyond.Read more...
New events calendar on the SECAS website
This month, we added a new events calendar to the SECAS website. You can access it from the top menu icon labeled–perhaps unimaginatively–“events”. It uses an embedded Google Calendar.
This lays the groundwork for shifting two recurring events under the banner of SECAS: the Third Thursday Web Forum and Triangle Climate and Conservation Coffee. Until now, these events have been hosted by the South Atlantic Blueprint team. As SECAS moves toward the more consistent 2022 Southeast Blueprint planned for Fall 2022, and away from maintaining many of the current subregional inputs, we are winding down several standalone South Atlantic Blueprint resources and transitioning the relevant ones over to SECAS.Read more...
Apply to join the Southeast Blueprint User Support Team - posting closes 12/29
SECAS is hiring up to three new Blueprint user support staff in the Southeast region! You can apply via USAJobs. The posting closes on 12/29.
- Federal employees: https://www.usajobs.gov/job/627184400
- Open to anyone: https://www.usajobs.gov/job/627220300
Below you’ll find additional background information to give you a sense of what user support does. You can also check out this 3-part blog series from Louise Vaughn for a more in-depth look (March 2021: “Ask me Anything”, April 2021: We’re here to help”, and May 2021: “Breaking down barriers to conservation action”).Read more...
Summary of SWAP alignment survey results
If you want to know how Southeastern states or territories approach their State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAPs)—what tools and resources they use, what elements they find most challenging—click here to find out! SECAS staff work to clear barriers to conservation actions across jurisdictional boundaries and have been working with the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) Wildlife Diversity Committee (WDC) to develop potential opportunities to align State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAPs) in the Southeast. You can check out some of my previous blogs that describe this effort and share the raw results of the survey.Read more...
Southeast Blueprint 2021 now available
The latest update to the Southeast Conservation Blueprint, version 2021, is now available! This year’s Blueprint is a stepping stone to the bigger improvements in store next year, as we move toward consistent methods and indicators across most of the region.
The major improvements over the last version include:
- Incorporating the newest South Atlantic Blueprint data
- Correcting a scoring issue in the Middle Southeast
2021 SECAS goal report is now ready
The 2021 SECAS goal report is now up on the website. It looks at recent trends in Southeastern ecosystem indicators and whether they’re on track to meet the SECAS goal.
This year’s report includes updated data for:
- Bird indicators
- Coastal condition
- Prescribed fire
It also has new indicators for:
- Working lands conservation
- Salt marsh area
- Undeveloped land in corridors
Chance to join Blueprint indicator teams - Southeast grasslands and longleaf pine
We’re making good progress on the new approach for the 2022 Southeast Conservation Blueprint. A big focus right now is on expanding and improving indicators for use in the new Blueprint. For some indicators, we’re only working directly with data providers and a select group of experts. With others, we’re also opening up the review teams to anyone who’s interested. The first two of those are indicator teams for Southeast grasslands and longleaf pine.Read more...
2021 Report to the SEAFWA Directors
Each year at the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) annual conference, SECAS provides a briefing to the SEAFWA Directors on achievements for the past year and directions for the upcoming year. I wanted to share the 2021 report to SEAFWA Directors that was presented by SECAS Steering Committee Chair Robert Boyles last month. Excerpts from the full report are below.
SECAS achieved several notable accomplishments in the last year, contributing to a national focus on the partnership and SEAFWA as a model for voluntary, collaborative, landscape scale conservation for the 21st century.
Perhaps most notable was the establishment, by the SEAFWA Directors at the 2021 Spring Director’s meeting, of the SECAS Executive Steering Committee as an official “Directors Committee” of SEAFWA. The purpose of the Steering Committee is to provide oversight and strategic direction to the SECAS partnership. This is a unique governance arrangement that formalized a state-federal oversight board, with participation from 5 State Directors and 1 Federal agency Regional Director to help guide, direct, and sustain the efforts and accomplishments of this important landscape scale conservation initiative.Read more...
The Water Institute of the Gulf releases final reports for suite of SECAS projects
Last month, the Water Institute of the Gulf wrapped up a series of projects funded by a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service entitled “Advancing the goals of SECAS: A program to improve Southeast Conservation Blueprint utility in the Gulf of Mexico.” The broader goal of this effort is to increase the utility and application of the Southeast Conservation Blueprint in the Gulf by collecting, improving, and coordinating existing datasets. This work meets a need in the northern Gulf of Mexico for actionable, science-based tools due to both natural and anthropogenic threats to key habitats and ongoing large investments in land management, conservation, and restoration.Read more...
The SWAP survey says...
One of the aims of SECAS is to clear barriers to conservation actions across jurisdictional boundaries. This is why SECAS staff are working with the SEAFWA Wildlife Diversity Committee (WDC) to help develop potential opportunities to align State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAPs) in the Southeast. This follows guidance and recommendations from the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) President’s Task Force on Shared Science & Landscape Conservation Priorities and the AFWA State Wildlife Action Plan & Landscape Conservation Work Group. The WDC, the AWFA Task Force, and the AFWA Work Group recognize that aligning SWAPs is an efficient and effective way to support cross-jurisdictional conservation actions and sustain Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN).
The SEAFWA WDC established a subcommittee to help identify potential recommendations for Southeastern states to align their SWAPs. As I mentioned in my previous blog, the subcommittee sent a survey to each SWAP coordinator in the Southeast region (15 states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands). The survey sought to elicit information about how each state or territory (the states) approaches their SWAP, what tools they use, and what elements of SWAP revision they find most challenging.
And the results are in!Read more...
A brief summary of the SECAS symposium at SEAFWA
SECAS sponsored a special symposium at the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) annual conference titled SECAS and 30x30: Identifying opportunities and defining outcomes in the Southeast. More than 85 virtual attendees participated in the first formal and inclusive dialogue among fish and wildlife agencies and other conservation professionals in the Southeast around potential outcomes of the America the Beautiful campaign. The symposium set the stage for further examination to align priorities to take advantage of momentum created through this national initiative.Read more...
Fall 2021 updates to the Southeast Blueprint and SECAS Goal Report - Webinar on November 18th
- Title: Fall 2021 updates to the Southeast Blueprint and SECAS Goal Report
- Speakers: Rua Mordecai, Coordinator, Southeast & South Atlantic Conservation Blueprints
- Date: Thursday, November 18th
- Time: 10:00 am Eastern
- Connection information: Join the Microsoft Teams meeting (Note - no registration required, just click to join the webinar when the time comes!)
Fall is upon us, and that means it’s time for an update to the core products of the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS)! We’ve already released the 2021 SECAS Goal Report, which uses the most recent 3-6 years of data from existing monitoring programs to tracks progress toward the SECAS Goal: a 10% or greater improvement in the health, function, and connectivity of Southeastern ecosystems by 2060. A 2021 update to the Southeast Conservation Blueprint is coming soon, and will incorporate the latest priorities from the 2021 South Atlantic Blueprint.Read more...
October 18th SECAS symposium at SEAFWA now fully virtual - Don't forget to register!
Make plans to attend the virtual SECAS symposium at the upcoming Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ (SEAFWA) annual conference, on Monday, October 18 from 1:20 - 5 pm Eastern. The symposium, SECAS and 30 by 30: Identifying Opportunities and Defining Outcomes in the Southeast, examines the potential of the America the Beautiful conservation initiative and the national goal to conserve 30 percent of the nation’s lands and waters by 2030. The symposium format features key conservation leaders and practitioners seeking common understanding and demonstrating complementary approaches for conservation achievement in the Southeast. A concluding session with facilitated breakouts will identify next steps and recommendations for scaling up collaboration to achieve common conservation goals through SECAS.Read more...
Characterizing spatial distributions of Southeast Atlantic deep-sea corals and hardbottom habitats - Webinar on October 21st
- Title: Characterizing spatial distributions of deep-sea corals and hardbottom habitats in the U.S. Southeast Atlantic
- Speakers: Matt Poti and Arliss Winship, NOAA National Centers for Coastal and Ocean Science
- Date: Thursday, October 21st
- Time: 10:00 am Eastern
- Connection information: Join the Microsoft Teams meeting (Note - no registration required, just click to join the webinar when the time comes!)
The October South Atlantic Third Thursday Web Forum is coming up on October 21st! Matt Poti and Arliss Winship with the NOAA National Centers for Coastal and Ocean Science will present on an exciting project to develop spatial predictive models for deep-sea corals and hardbottom habitats in the U.S. Southeast Atlantic to inform and support environmental risk assessments, environmental impact statements, and other decision documents related to the review of proposed offshore energy development in the region.Read more...
SECAS is hiring a new coordinator
SECAS is hiring a new coordinator! Our current coordinator, Mallory Martin, plans to retire at the end of this year. Please check out the job posting below and circulate with anyone who might be interested.
Announcing an EXCITING career opportunity in collaborative landscape conservation working in regional partnership to advance the vision and goals. of the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS).Read more...
Aligning Southeast State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAPs)
When working with state partners to get conservation actions on the ground, there is no better place to start than with State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAPs). Since 2005, SWAPs have been required for states to receive federal funding for conservation actions designed to sustain states’ Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN).
SWAPs are based on science, research, monitoring, and public input. They also represent each state’s unique landscape, opportunities, and challenges. And while each SWAP adheres to eight required elements laid out by the U.S. Congress, each SWAP within the Southeast is different. Because many of the impacts to species are caused by landscape-level changes, like climate change and urbanization, it is important for states to find ways to work together across jurisdictions. This helps ensure that important conservation actions recommended in SWAPs are conducted at scales that are meaningful for sustaining species and appropriate for conservation goals to be achieved.Read more...
Will the marsh stay or will it go? September 16th webinar co-hosted with Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center
- Title: Will the marsh stay or will it go? Coastal wetland transformations in the South Atlantic Basin
- Speakers: Michelle Moorman, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (U.S. FWS)
- Date: Thursday, September 16th
- Time: 10:00 am Eastern
- Connection information: Register for the webinar via Zoom (Note - advance registration is available but not required; if you register at the time of the webinar, you will join the meeting automatically)
Progress toward a more consistent Southeast Blueprint in 2022
You might remember the blog from a few months ago where I talked about the more consistent approach for the Blueprint in 2022. We’ve been making good progress since then. We’re starting to get a better idea of timelines, methods, potential indicators, etc. We’re calling this new Southeast Blueprint input, which uses consistent methods and indicators across 12 states of the SECAS geography, the “Base Blueprint”–because it will form the base of the Southeast Blueprint.
This winter, you’ll get a chance to be part of indicator teams, which help review and provide feedback on draft indicators. A draft of the Base Blueprint using the indicators should be ready for workshops by May 2022. Getting your thoughts–in the workshops, on the indicators teams, or both–is super important for making the best possible Blueprint in 2022.Read more...
SECAS - Getting the word out...across the Southeast and beyond
In the last six months or so, SECAS staff have presented well over a dozen briefings and overviews to various agencies, organizations, and partners interested in the SECAS approach to landscape conservation. Typically we provide a high level overview of the SECAS vision, purpose, and goal, followed by a deeper discussion of the Southeast Blueprint and Blueprint user support functions that help inform conservation decisions. These briefings help spread the word about SECAS and the Southeast Blueprint, and help educate and inform existing and future partners about how SECAS can contribute to landscape conservation accomplishments in the Southeast. Downstream outcomes include establishing new relationships and collaborative pathways with professionals and organizations, and identifying potential new uses of the Southeast Blueprint for conservation decision-making. It’s exciting to see this surge of interest in collaborative conservation across the region.Read more...
July 15th webinar on using fire regimes as ecosystem indicators
- Title: Using fire regimes as ecosystem indicators: SEFireMap, Southeast Conservation Blueprint, and other applications
- Speakers: Joe Noble and Eli Simonson, Tall Timbers Research Station, and Rua Mordecai, South Atlantic and Southeast Blueprints
- Date: Thursday, July 15th
- Time: 10:00 am Eastern
- Connection information: Join Microsoft Teams meeting (Note - no registration required, just click to join the webinar when the time comes!)
2021 SECAS symposium update
Make plans now to attend the SECAS symposium at the upcoming SEAFWA annual conference to be held October 17-20, 2021 in Roanoke, VA. The symposium is titled SECAS and 30 X 30: Identifying Opportunities and Defining Outcomes in the Southeast and is intended to be the collaborative forum for examining perspectives and guiding directions related to the “America the Beautiful” initiative and the 30 X 30 national goal in the Southeast. The annual conference is expected to be an in-person event with additional online options for attendees, creating the opportunity for very wide exposure. Stay tuned to the SEAFWA website for further developments.Read more...
SECAS organizational factsheet now available
Ever wonder how SECAS is organized, who the partners are, or how the information flows? To help answer some of these questions, SECAS developed a one-page factsheet detailing the organizational structure of the SECAS partnership, including descriptions and roles of the executive steering committee, SECAS staff, and designated Points of Contact.Read more...
Join conversation about the future of Blueprint corridors in June 17th webinar
Join the conversation on June 17th @ 10 am Eastern time to talk about many interesting issues related to corridors in the 2022 Southeast Blueprint.
Next month’s South Atlantic Third Thursday Web Forum will discuss some options and ideas for corridors to inform the 2021 version of the South Atlantic Blueprint (which will serve as an input to the 2021 Southeast Blueprint, coming this fall). Even if you don’t work in the South Atlantic region, you’re welcome to participate if you want to get a head start talking about some issues that will also be important for next year’s larger Southeast Blueprint update using consistent methods and indicators across 12 states.Read more...
SECAS Steering Committee update
The SECAS Steering Committee met this week to consider a number of SECAS activities and accomplishments and to employ its charge of providing oversight and strategic direction to the SECAS initiative.
Leading the agenda was an overview of progress to date on several overarching recommendations coming from last year’s SECAS Futures Project. The five recommendations address immediate improvements in SECAS governance by strengthening core processes, improving communications, and broadening engagement. Progress has been made in each category, and the Steering Committee will continue to be engaged in supporting the implementation.Read more...
Breaking down barriers to conservation action - The role of Blueprint user support
We need more–more people, groups, and organizations putting conservation actions on the ground. We’ve lost too much, and there’s more to lose if we don’t take advantage of our biggest resource to connect lands and waters, which is people. Conservation tools, especially spatial plans, help us organize actions so we can make progress towards connecting lands and waters to support ecosystem function, connectivity, and health. But sometimes those tools fail to be accessible, equitable, and actionable.Read more...
The Southeast Blueprint helps inform local planning in the heart of the Southern megalopolis
In the conservation world, we often think of urban growth as a threat, a stressor, a driver of land-use change. And it undoubtedly is. But that expanding urban frontier also represents an opportunity to work with communities who want to grow sustainably, protect their natural resources, and ensure their residents have access to green space.
The predicted emergence of the Southern megalopolis really illustrated the magnitude of urbanization we’re facing in our region, with its map of “Charlanta”, a giant city linking Charlotte, NC to Atlanta, GA along the I-85 corridor. Based on more recent real estate and development trends, urbanization is showing no signs of losing its momentum, even during the pandemic. So how does Charlanta fit into the ecologically connected network of lands and waters called for in the SECAS vision? How can SECAS confront this challenge and seize the corresponding opportunity to plan for a future that leaves room for people and critters and ecosystems and everything in between?Read more...
Southern Appalachian Blueprint User Support Team hits the ground running
In 2020, the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy added five new Southeast Blueprint staff throughout the region. Three of those team members–Emily Granstaff, Daniel Adams, and Chris DeVore–were placed in Cookeville, TN to be co-located with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Tennessee Ecological Services Field Office. The new Cookeville team was put in place to improve Southeast Blueprint user support and GIS capacity in areas of the Southeast with plenty of opportunity to meet SECAS goals and priorities. The team’s primary focus areas in 2020 were the Southern Appalachians (KY, TN) and Middle Southeast (MS, AL) geographies.
Despite the atypical work environment of the last year, the Southern Appalachian team hit the ground running and formed valuable relationships in the region to support several projects. The team’s goal for this first year was to start by complementing existing efforts in the region or helping guide new efforts in need of landscape-scale direction.Read more...
Explore the Southeast Blueprint in the new beta viewer!
Have you ever wanted a quick and easy way to explore the Southeast Blueprint and learn more about the underlying data for your area? The online viewer for the Southeast Blueprint is designed to help you do just that, and a beta version is finally ready for public release!
You can access the beta viewer here. It’s mobile friendly, so you can even check it out on your phone! It’s linked from the Blueprint and Resources pages of the SECAS website. Here are some of the things you can do with this beta viewer!
- Get a detailed pdf report including custom maps and analysis of the Blueprint, underlying plans, indicator datasets, threats, and protected lands information—just upload a shapefile!
- Learn what subregional plans are driving conservation value in your area. In some subregions (Florida, South Atlantic, and Nature’s Network), you can dig deeper into the underlying indicators that are driving those priorities.
- See how urbanization and sea-level rise are predicted to impact your area, as well as the conserved status and ownership of protected lands.
SECAS evaluation report now available
The final report from a comprehensive evaluation of the SECAS partnership is now available for download here. “SECAS Futures: Structuring Governance to Achieve Landscape-scale Conservation Outcomes” is the product of a year-long effort to examine how SECAS is adding value to partner organizations and sustaining progress toward meeting its vision and goal.
The SECAS Futures project was requested by the interim SECAS Steering Committee in 2019 to evaluate existing governance structures, operational processes, and to make recommendations that will sustain and enhance delivery of value from the partnership into the future. While existing structures and processes were found to be effective as a regional forum for collaboration and as an information hub for science delivery and decision support, a number of overarching and complementary recommendations for sustaining value were identified in three main areas:
- strengthening core governance and process elements
- improving communications and outreach
- broadening and deepening engagement
SE FireMap 1.0 now available
There’s some great new mapping data on fire across the 9-state longleaf range now available. It’s what we’re using for the 2021 update to the regularly burned indicator used in the South Atlantic Blueprint, which will be incorporated into Southeast Blueprint 2021 this fall. While it’s certainly not perfect, it’s a big improvement over what we had before for fire. In some early test runs of the 2021 South Atlantic Blueprint, this new data is helping highlight some great longleaf on private and public lands that was missed in the current Blueprint.Read more...
May 20th webinar will explore modeling process for Southeast Blueprint 2022
Spatial conservation planning with Zonation
Thursday, May 20th
10:00 am Eastern
»Join Microsoft Teams meeting (Note - no registration required, just click to join the webinar when the time comes!)
Next month’s South Atlantic Third Thursday Web Forum will focus on Zonation, the modeling software program used to create the South Atlantic Blueprint, one input to the Southeast Blueprint. Rua has already blogged about the new approach planned for the Southeast Blueprint in 2022. Starting next year, we’ll start using Zonation to prioritize a larger swath of the Southeast using a consistent suite of terrestrial, freshwater, and marine indicators. This approach draws on data, best practices, and lessons learned from the South Atlantic Blueprint, Appalachian NatureScape Design, and Middle Southeast Blueprint, as well as the Oklahoma and Texas CHAT and Gulf Hypoxia Blueprint. This webinar presents a great opportunity to learn more about the technical details of the modeling approach for Southeast Blueprint 2022–how the algorithm prioritizes, how indicators are weighed, and more. There will be plenty of time to discuss and ask questions.Read more...
We're here to help--wait, come back!
Science is something that we hope can help us do better tomorrow what we couldn’t do today. The Southeast Conservation Blueprint is a science product, a tool, meant to help us create a specific future outcome–a connected network of lands and waters that supports thriving fish and wildlife populations and improved quality of life for people. But to get to that future place, we need to not just solely focus on the tool and the science that drives it, but also the people who will use it.Read more...
Mechanics of the Southeast Conservation Blueprint
In collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Water Institute of the Gulf has led development of a collaborative report entitled “Mechanics of the Southeast Conservation Blueprint.” The report discusses the overall framework of SECAS and the Southeast Conservation Blueprint and examines the history, governance structure, framework, and methodology that underpin five of its subregional blueprints. The blueprints examined are those which include the geography of the northern Gulf of Mexico coast: Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool (Texas), Middle Southeast Blueprint, South Atlantic Blueprint, Florida Conservation Blueprint, and Florida Marine Blueprint.Read more...
Upcoming webinars include preview of new beta viewer for the Southeast Blueprint - this Thursday March 18th
The next three webinars scheduled for the South Atlantic Third Thursday Web Forum are particularly relevant to the SECAS community! Mark your calendars!
THIS THURSDAY, March 18th: Preview the new beta viewer for the Southeast Blueprint
10:00 am Eastern
Louise Vaughn & Hilary Morris, User Support for the Southeast and South Atlantic Blueprints
A beta version of an online viewer for the Southeast Blueprint is nearly ready for public release! This easy-to-use online viewer will allow you to explore the Southeast Blueprint, learn what underlying data is driving the priorities in different subregions, and generate a custom report with maps and analysis for your area of interest. Tune in this Thursday for an overview and live demonstration of the current beta viewer, and a preview of new features in the works. You’ll also have the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback!Read more...
SECAS Steering Committee now a permanent committee of SEAFWA
At their March 2nd business meeting, the Directors of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) took formal action to establish the SECAS Steering Committee as an official committee of the Association. This action formalized a state-federal oversight board for the SECAS partnership working across jurisdictions among Southeastern state fish and wildlife agencies, federal agencies with natural resource management responsibilities in the Southeast, and nonprofit organizations and other conservation partnerships in the region. The committee was charged to provide oversight and strategic direction to SECAS to strengthen collaboration for landscape scale conservation across the Southeast.Read more...
Ask me anything
At some point in our lives, we learn that just because something is free doesn’t mean we should take it. Sometimes it means there’s a different kind of price to pay. I once had a roommate try to convince me that a decrepit couch was really a well-made piece of furniture. It was not. It was ugly, uncomfortable, and covered in a fabric that looked like the consummation of burlap and cigarettes. But, it was free.
Many years later, I find myself advertising about a free service – help using the Conservation Blueprint. Along with what we provide on our website, spatial data viewers, webinars, etc., there are actual people whose job is to help others use the Conservation Blueprint. And the Blueprint–with its underlying datasets, connectivity analysis, and regular updates–can be overwhelming. Sometimes people don’t have the time to dig into large amounts of information and tease out what they need, or sometimes they do and still have questions.Read more...
Resist-Accept-Direct - A framework for the 21st-century natural resource manager
National Park Service news release cross-posted with permission
News Release Date: January 19, 2021
Contact: Jeff Olson
The National Park Service and several federal land management agency partners recently published a report titled Resist-Accept-Direct (RAD)—A Decision Framework for the 21st-century Natural Resource Manager. The report presents and explores a simple set of distinct management options that decision makers can consider when responding to ecosystems facing the potential for rapid, irreversible ecological change. In so doing, the report provides a framework that encourages natural resource managers to consider strategic, forward-looking actions, rather than structure management goals based on past conditions.Read more...
New approach to Southeast Blueprint in 2022
More consistency in methods and indicators is one of the most requested improvements for the Southeast Conservation Blueprint. This is becoming increasingly important as more people are now wanting to use the Southeast Blueprint across large multi-state areas. In 2022, there’s going to be a big leap forward in that consistency. We’re going to use the same indicators and methods across most of the Southeast.
The new approach will build off of lessons learned in the Middle Southeast Blueprint, Appalachian NatureScape, Texas and Oklahoma CHAT, Gulf Hypoxia Blueprint, and the South Atlantic Blueprint. In 2022, the area covered by all those inputs will all be run with consistent indicators and methods. Collectively those inputs cover the entire Southeast with the exception of Virginia, West Virginia (covered by Nature’s Network), Florida (covered by the Florida Blueprint), and Puerto Rico (covered by the Caribbean Landscape Conservation Design).Read more...
Preliminary recommendations from the SECAS Futures Project
Over the last 12 months, considerable effort has been directed toward a formal examination of the SECAS partnership, known as the “SECAS Futures Project.” The need for this examination has been building for several years, notably due to changes in partnership governance that occurred following changes in Landscape Conservation Cooperatives back in 2017. The need was also underscored last fall in a report by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ Task Force on Shared Science and Landscape Conservation that emphasized the importance of periodic examination of structure and function of landscape partnerships to maintain their effectiveness.Read more...
Welcoming new SECAS staff
Over the past year, several new staff members have joined the SECAS team to help support the Southeast Blueprint. Here you can learn a little bit more about them and their work!Read more...
Two upcoming webinars - Evaluating the economics of game lands and results of the SECAS Futures project
Two upcoming webinars hosted by the South Atlantic Blueprint team as part of the Third Thursday Web Forum series may be of interest to the SECAS community.Read more...
2020 - This year in review
2020 has been a challenging year in a lot of ways. I think it’s safe to say that most people won’t spend much time fondly reminiscing about it. It’s been the kind of year that makes me want to look forward, not back. Nevertheless, SECAS accomplished some great things in 2020, so let’s review some of the highlights!Read more...
Panhandle rising - How small cities in Florida are working together to rebuild for resilience
An update on Louise’s blog, “The Blueprint and building resilience”, from September 2020
From face masks to flooding, 2020 has changed our ideas of what’s normal. As the this year’s record-breaking Atlantic hurricane season ends, many coastal communities find themselves preparing for a climate future that shares few resemblances with the past. While some larger coastal cities are already employing strategies to mitigate rising seas and more intense storms, other towns don’t have the resources to invest in expensive actions like building sea walls or protecting hundreds of acres of marshlands. But storms don’t care about who has resources or the best-laid plans.Read more...
Southeast Blueprint 2020 now officially complete
It’s October, and that means an updated version of the Southeast Conservation Blueprint.
Significant improvements over the last version include:
- Major improvements to the inland area covered by the South Atlantic Blueprint including finer resolution and a more connected network of priorities.
- Improvements to the area covered by the Middle Southeast Blueprint including updated data and an approach to overall area prioritized that will make comparisons across the Southeast more consistent.
- Better integration in areas where the South Atlantic Blueprint overlaps with the Florida Blueprint and with Natures Network.
Recent trends in Southeastern Ecosystems (2020) now available
This year’s report on progress toward the SECAS goal, Recent trends in Southeastern Ecosystems (2020), is now complete.
Significant improvements over the last version include:
- A new indicator for areas without invasive plants
- An improved approach for water quality trends based on state data
- Updated data for bird indicators and the prescribed fire indicator
- New maps and summaries showing bird indicator trends by Bird Conservation Region
SECAS at the 2020 Conference of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
Make plans to attend the virtual SEAFWA Annual Conference in two weeks – October 25-28, and in particular the special SECAS Symposium: Recent Progress – Future Directions on Tuesday, October 27 at 2 pm central.
The symposium will feature specific presentations on recent improvements to the products and tools of SECAS, including:
- recent updates to the Southeast Conservation Blueprint
- a viewer to explore underlying Blueprint indicator condition
- reporting feature to help summarize specifics of Blueprint priority areas
- implications of climate change on prescribed fire
- and much more
The Blueprint and building resilience
The sheer number and magnitude of the natural disasters in 2020 is breathtaking. While choosing just one catastrophe out of the cornucopia of calamities is hard, the record-breaking hurricane season must surely be toward the top of the list.
For the first time in recorded history, two hurricanes formed in the Gulf of Mexico at the same time in late August. For only the second time on record, the National Hurricane Center burned through its regular list of 21 names for tropical storms and hurricanes and began assigning names based on the Greek alphabet. But as bad and historic as this year’s hurricane season has been, previous years’ storms were just as devastating to many of our coastal communities.Read more...
Updates from the SECAS Coordinator
Back in July, I reported on new membership for the SECAS Steering Committee, and since change is the constant in life, the Steering Committee is adjusting once again. I’m pleased to announce Robert Boyles, Director of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources was appointed to replace Chuck Sykes, who withdrew from the Steering Committee due to numerous prior commitments. Following almost a year of interim service, Robert was appointed SC DNR director in February 2020. He brings a strong management and marine science perspective to the SECAS Steering Committee. Robert is also an enthusiastic SECAS supporter due to South Carolina’s long record of participation and success in landscape conservation action.Read more...
Connecting Forest Action Plans to State Wildlife Action Plans
Across the nation, state forestry agencies are preparing to publish their comprehensive Forest Action Plans. The purpose of Forest Action Plans is to determine the status of forest resources through an assessment (e.g., what’s there, who owns it, how is it threatened) and develop strategies and actions to address challenges facing forest resources. Forest Action Plans set the foundation for how state forestry agencies can leverage internal resources to develop strategic partnerships and procure external funding. Forest Action Plans are analogous to State Wildlife Action Plans in that these plans have a ten-year planning horizon, establish places and actions of priority, and enable state agencies to be eligible for a number of federal grants.Read more...
2020 and 2021 updates to the Southeast Conservation Blueprint
It’s almost October and that means an updated version of the Southeast Conservation Blueprint is coming soon!
Here’s what’s new for this year.
- Big improvements to the inland part of the South Atlantic Blueprint - Improvements include better indicators, finer resolution, new methods for a more connected network of land and water, better cross-ecosystem integration, and better integration with other neighboring inputs into the Southeast Blueprint. Learn more and access the new data https://www.southatlanticlcc.org/blueprint/.
Stakeholder analysis of the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy
As the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS) continues to prepare for the future, it is important to take a look and create a baseline of stakeholders’ thoughts and opinions in order to continue serving them in a thoughtful, intentional manner. As part of a formal examination of governance and conservation outcomes, the SECAS Futures project focuses on what the stakeholders of SECAS see as important, identifying potential improvements, and describing current and future needs for supporting the partnership.Read more...
SECAS Steering Committee membership changes
Many of you are aware of the tremendous contributions to conservation made by former TN Wildlife Resources Agency Director Ed Carter. One of Ed’s significant accomplishments was his strong and unwavering support for the SECAS initiative. Ed was one of the initial champions in the Southeast for collaborative landscape-scale conservation, and provided compelling reasons and support for the creation of SECAS by the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) in 2011. Ed continued his support and guidance for SECAS, including service on the SECAS Steering Committee, until his retirement last month.Read more...
Last Summer Science Series webinar - Perspectives on prescribed fire management in longleaf pine ecosystems
As you probably know by now, the Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center and the South Atlantic Blueprint team have been collaboratively hosting a webinar series on the third Thursday of each month.
The final webinar in this series is coming up on July 16th at 10 am Eastern! It will feature Dr. John Kupfer with the University of South Carolina presenting on “Perspectives on prescribed fire management in longleaf pine ecosystems: The context of landscape transformation and anthropogenic climate change”. Registration is open:Read more...
Where the wild things
arewill be - Mapping the South’s future forest landscapes & the wildlife that depend on them
As development pressures increase, climatic patterns shift, and sea levels rise, the South’s forest resource is increasingly faced with fragmentation, degradation, and loss from land use conversion. Forestlands play a critical role in providing clean drinking water, wildlife habitat, and recreation opportunities, and in supporting rural economies based on traditional and non-traditional forest products. To conserve and sustain forestlands, a multitude of conservation action, recovery, and prioritization plans have been developed by federal and state agencies, land trusts, public-private partnerships, and others. The Keeping Forests as Forests initiative developed the “Mapping the South’s Forests of the Future” project to examine spatial priorities of these myriad plans in consultation with more than 50 conservation-minded entities.Read more...
Three organizations in SC use the Blueprint to support successful grants!
One of the most common ways folks often use the Blueprint is to strengthen their grant proposals. Often, funders want to know how a proposed project contributes to regional objectives and partner priorities, and the Blueprint can serve as that shared strategy! The underlying data can also help tell a compelling story about what makes an area special.
Several organizations in South Carolina recently found out that they received funding from grant proposals supported and informed by the Southeast Blueprint!Read more...
Third Summer Science Series webinar - Clarifying science needs for Southeastern grasslands
Lately, I’ve been blogging about the SE CASC & South Atlantic Spring/Summer Science Series of webinars. The Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center and the South Atlantic Blueprint team are hosting them on the third Thursday of each month at 10 am Eastern, through July.
The third webinar is coming up on June 18th at 10 am Eastern! It will feature a team of presenters discussing “Clarifying science needs for Southeastern grasslands: The Piedmont, Coastal Plain, and beyond”. Registration is open:Read more...
Register for Gulf coast adaptation course!
Register for this free online course by June 1st
Adapting to a Changing Gulf Region: An Online CourseRead more...
Learn to apply key concepts, science, and tools in climate change adaptation to your regional conservation work through a new interactive course hosted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Limited spots are available and applications for registration will be reviewed on a rolling basis and by geographic location. Registration closes on June 1st!
Second Summer Science Series webinar - Building adaptive capacity in a coastal region experiencing global change
Last month, I mentioned the SE CASC & South Atlantic Spring/Summer Science Series of webinars. The Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center and the South Atlantic Blueprint team are hosting them on the third Thursday of each month at 10 am Eastern, through July.
The second webinar is coming up on May 21st at 10 am Eastern! It will feature Southeast CASC researcher Mitch Eaton as he presents on “Building adaptive capacity in a coastal region experiencing global change.” Registration is open:Read more...
Landowner compliance with management incentives
A recent paper from Kentucky provides a really interesting look at landowner compliance with terms of a grassland conservation program. We talk about landowner adoption rates of programs quite a bit, but there are less often estimates of the rate at which landowners follow the terms of the incentives.Read more...
Improving the utility of the Southeast Blueprint in the Gulf of Mexico
In support of the SECAS goal of improving the health, function, and connectivity of southeastern ecosystems by 10 percent in the next 40 years, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is working with The Water Institute of the Gulf through a cooperative agreement titled, “Advancing the goals of SECAS: A program to improve Southeast Conservation Blueprint utility in the Gulf of Mexico.”Read more...
The Southeast CASC & South Atlantic Spring/Summer Science Series
The team that develops the South Atlantic Blueprint is partnering with the wonderful folks at the Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center (SE CASC) to put on a great webinar series this April through July! These webinars will take place in the usual South Atlantic Third Thursday Web Forum Series time slot, on the third Thursday of every month at 10 am Eastern time.
In light of that, we’re calling it the SE CASC & South Atlantic Spring/Summer Science Series! How’s that for alliteration?Read more...
SECAS products in the works for 2020
As you probably know by now, we try to have updated or new products ready in October for the Southeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) meeting. Here are the things we plan to have ready for this October:
- Update of the Southeast Conservation Blueprint: There are lots of cool improvements in the works for the various regional Blueprint inputs, including finer resolution in the South Atlantic, improved marine indicators in Florida, and much more.
SECAS is more than the Blueprint
Personal note from Mallory: During these extremely unusual times, I want to acknowledge the far-reaching breadth of challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I also want to send my best wishes for safety and health to you and your families, organizations, and communities. We’re all in this together.
If you’ve been involved in SECAS very long, you’re probably aware that the SECAS partnership is more than the Blueprint. Most SECAS partners recognize the Southeast Conservation Blueprint as the primary product of SECAS, but it’s not the only product. In fact, there are a number of other products of SECAS that add to the value of the partnership.Read more...
SECAS for the future
Last October, the SECAS Steering Committee endorsed a research project to examine governance structures and clarify direction of the SECAS initiative to sustain the partnership’s value and benefits into the future. This “SECAS Futures Project” is now underway with expected completion in Fall 2020.Read more...
New short videos on Piedmont prairies ready to share
I’ve always been a sucker for the Piedmont. It’s constantly overlooked in favor of the mountains and the coast. It’s an underdog with a really interesting and poorly understood ecological history.
The fact that most people don’t know what the Piedmont used to look like is limiting conservation action in the Blueprint and is a barrier to achieving the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy goal. The first report on progress toward the SECAS goal showed that one of the biggest places we were off-track is in grasslands outside of the longleaf range. Most people think that uplands in the Piedmont are supposed to be the thick forests we see today. They don’t realize that before European arrival, Piedmont uplands were mostly grasslands, some mixed with trees and some without, that were maintained by regular fire and grazing by bison and elk.Read more...
Who used the Blueprint in 2019 - A Southeast Blueprint user roundup
Let’s ring in the new year by looking back at who used the Southeast Blueprint in 2019! We’ll get into a few stories in detail, but first, as NPR’s Kai Ryssdal says on Marketplace, “let’s do the numbers.”
So far, over 150 people from 70 different organizations have used, or are in the process of using, the Southeast Blueprint—and that’s just the folks we know about! That gives me the tough job of choosing a few highlights, since I can’t squeeze them all into one blog post. I narrowed it down to four that span the Caribbean, Middle South, South Atlantic, and Appalachian subregions.Read more...
New representation for SECAS Points of Contact
The SECAS Points of Contact (POCs) fill a vital role in the function and success of the SECAS initiative. Although the time commitment is minimal, POCs have a large influence on helping direct SECAS core functions including prioritizing staff effort, refining and improving the Southeast Blueprint, and tracking and revising the SECAS Goal report. Until now, SECAS POCs were appointed by and represented the Directors of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) and the Principals of the Southeast Natural Resource Leaders Group (SENRLG) of federal agencies having natural resource management responsibilities.Read more...
Habitat suitability maps for at-risk herpetofauna species in the longleaf pine ecosystem
New data release!
Through a massive, collaborative effort with Federal, State, and other partners, we have completed range-wide habitat suitability models (also called species distribution models) for five at-risk species of herpetofauna associated with the longleaf pine ecosystem. These species are the gopher tortoise, gopher frog, striped newt, southern hognose snake, and Florida pine snake.Read more...
Upcoming webinars in the new year
The team that develops the South Atlantic Blueprint (one of the subregional inputs to the Southeast Blueprint) hosts a webinar series on the Third Thursday of each month. The next two webinars are particularly relevant to the broader SECAS community!Read more...
The Nature Conservancy’s Resilient Coastal Sites for Conservation in the South Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico
Our coastal and estuarine environments are key areas to build and sustain resiliency in the face of climate change. These places provide important habitats for wildlife and provide vital ecosystem services like shoreline stabilization, water filtration, food production, and recreational opportunities. Estuaries also contribute to the national, state, and local economies. Yet our coastal and estuarine systems are rapidly changing and transitioning due to sea-level rise, flooding, and extreme storm events. If extreme predictions for sea-level rise prove true, 77% of the South Atlantic region’s tidal habitats could be lost to rising waters, along with 98% of tidal habitats in the Gulf of Mexico.Read more...
Southeast Blueprint 4.0 finalized
Update: Looking for the latest Southeast Blueprint data? Visit the Southeast Blueprint 2020 Data Gallery.Read more...
Southeast Blueprint Version 4.0 is now finalized! It was presented and reviewed at the Southeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) annual meeting a couple of weeks ago. Since no one raised any concerns or caught any mistakes, it’s officially ready to use.
SECAS at the Southeastern Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA)
The Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS) was featured prominently at the recent SEAFWA conference in Hilton Head, SC.
Most notably, a half-day symposium attended by more than 75 people focused on in-depth discussion of the SECAS 10% Goal, current conservation accomplishments, baseline status of ecosystem conditions, and trends for reaching the goal by 2060. Much of the background for the symposium’s panel- and facilitated-discussions came from the SECAS goal 2019 progress report entitled Recent Trends in Southeastern Ecosystems: Measuring Progress toward the SECAS Goal, which provides an initial assessment of ecosystem condition using data from existing monitoring programs.Read more...
A changelog for the Southeast Blueprint
We’ve added something new to the release of Southeast Blueprint 4.0—a changelog. As always, we like to borrow best practices from the tech world to make the Blueprint more useful. A changelog is an easy-to-read document that captures the significant changes made in each version of a project or software program. So, the Southeast Blueprint changelog captures the major changes and improvements made in each version of the Blueprint. We always provide an overview of the improvements in a blog when each Blueprint is released, but the changelog goes into a lot more detail.Read more...
Report on recent trends in Southeastern ecosystems now online
You may remember that, last year, SECAS officially adopted a goal of a 10% or greater improvement in the health, function, and connectivity of Southeastern ecosystems by 2060. One of the near-term metrics for that goal was a 1% improvement every 4 years. So, how are we doing so far?
The 2019 report on SECAS goal progress, Recent Trends in Southeastern Ecosystems, is now online.Read more...
Draft Southeast Blueprint 4.0 now available
This year’s draft update of the Southeast Conservation Blueprint is now up and ready for you to explore. We made lots of great improvements this year, including:
- Fixed the overprioritization in Texas, Oklahoma, and the mountains of West Virginia and Virginia
- Improved priorities in the Lower Mississippi Valley, Louisiana marshes, and the Southern Appalachians
- Updated inputs from Florida and the Middle South
- Expanded marine coverage to fully include state and federal waters around Florida
- Hubs and corridors layer now includes all of Florida
Priorities for conservation in Southeastern states - Newly created list of “Regional Species of Greatest Conservation Need”
To provide greater clarity and focus for regional conservation and multi-state collaborations, a new “Regional Species of Greatest Conservation Need” list is now available for use in the Southeast and in support of SECAS. The National Wildlife Federation (NWF), as part of the Vital Futures project funded by the U.S. Geological Survey, initiated a process for identifying a set of regional priority species from the very large number of species collectively identified as priorities in the 15 Southeastern State Wildlife Action Plans. Over the past year, the Wildlife Diversity Committee of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) collaborated with NWF and other partners to evaluate these species and produced a list of 960 regional priority species, or “Regional Species of Greatest Conservation Need” (RSGCN).Read more...
Strategic forest and wildland fire management is necessary to safeguard urban water supplies
Forest landscapes are key resource areas for urban water supplies. All forests combined generate an estimated 57% of runoff worldwide, and provide water for more than 4 billion people. Water supply is one of several critical water services provided by forests—other water services are hydropower, providing cooling water for electric power plants, water for irrigation, and reducing flood risk. But forests are at the same time vulnerable ecosystems, and their ability to provide clean water is experiencing increased pressure from urbanization and the effects of human encroachment on the forest.Read more...
Recent trends for forested wetland birds
This is a sneak peek at the draft report titled Recent Trends in Southeastern Ecosystems: Measuring progress toward the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS) Goal. Forested wetland birds is one of the 12 indicators covered in the report. There’s more background about the goal on the goal page of the SECAS website.Read more...
New partnership focused on Piedmont prairies
More and more people seem to be talking about Piedmont prairies lately. It’s another ecosystem that has gone through huge declines, but is starting to come back—thanks to the work of many dedicated people throughout the Piedmont. With all the interest in pollinators, history, and greenspace, it’s also great way to connect with the growing urban communities of the Piedmont.Read more...
Arkansas Game and Fish Commission drafts Conservation Opportunity Areas using the Southeast Blueprint
Identifying Conservation Opportunity Areas
In their Best Practices for State Wildlife Action Plans, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies recommends spatially depicting “Conservation Opportunity Areas” that offer the best opportunities for conserving Species of Greatest Conservation Need. Not all states have followed this recommendation, but that is changing for Arkansas! The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission intends to use the Conservation Opportunity Areas, or COAs, to guide allocation of State Wildlife Grant funds.Read more...
Sharing science to support climate adaptation
On November 13-15, 2019 the Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center will be hosting a Regional Science Symposium in New Orleans, Louisiana. This symposium is intended for researchers and managers working in the southeastern United States, including the U.S. Caribbean, on climate impacts and adaptation for fish, wildlife, habitat, and cultural resources. Decision makers and practitioners from state fish and wildlife agencies, federal organizations, Tribal Nations and Tribal organizations, and NGOs are encouraged to attend.Read more...
NFWF Emergency Coastal Resilience Fund
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is hosting a webinar next month about their new Emergency Coastal Resilience Fund. It aims to increase the resilience of coastal communities within federally declared counties impacted by hurricanes Florence and Michael and wildfires in 2018 (as well as Typhoon Yutu, but that’s not as relevant to the South Atlantic region). On the webinar you can learn about the funding opportunity and how to submit a competitive grant proposal.Read more...
Guess some trends in Southeastern ecosystem indicators
I’ve been having a great time synthesizing recent trends in Southeastern ecosystem indicators. It’s part of this year’s report on progress toward the SECAS 10% goal, which is a major part of the upcoming symposium at SEAFWA this fall. There are lots of interesting results that you’ll hear about soon.
In the meantime, here’s a fun activity based on two of those indicators. Hopefully, you’ll see two different graphs below. You start by guessing the trend, then you can see what the data say, and then what other folks guessed.Read more...
Don’t miss the SECAS goal symposium at SEAFWA!
The fall SEAFWA annual conference is right around the corner: October 27-30th in Hilton Head, SC. The Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS) will be featured in multiple ways throughout the meeting. If you’re planning to attend, you won’t want to miss the special symposium on the SECAS goal called “The SECAS 10% Goal: How Do We Get There?”. This symposium will focus on recent trends and progress toward the goal, as well as strategies for integration with existing conservation initiatives. Mark your calendar for Tuesday, October 29th from 8 am – 12 noon.Read more...
A brief history of SECAS
In case this is your first time reading about SECAS with the launch of the newsletter, here is a quick recap of where SECAS has been and where it’s going. Read on to catch up on the history of this initiative!Read more...
The first SECAS newsletter
This month marks the start of the SECAS newsletter! The newsletter combines all the blogs written here on the SECAS website during the previous month. It’s intended to share the latest information about SECAS and upcoming opportunities to get involved. You can expect it to arrive in your inbox toward the middle to end of each month. We’ve started out with a pretty simple design and format, but we may add more bells and whistles in the future. If you have suggestions for how to improve the newsletter, contact me at email@example.com!Read more...
Southeast Blueprint improvements in the works this year
Here are a few improvements we’re working on getting into the next update of the Southeast Conservation Blueprint. We’re hoping to have a draft of Version 4.0 of the Southeast Blueprint in October and finalize it by the end of the year.Read more...
The Southeast Blueprint will be showcased at the 2019 Gulf of Mexico Alliance all-hands meeting
The All Hands meeting for the Gulf of Mexico Alliance is coming up next week in Gulf Shores, AL. The Southeast Blueprint is one of the mapping tools that will be showcased at a Tools Cafe session during the conference. The Tools Cafe is scheduled for Monday, June 10 from 5:30-8:30 PM.Read more...
Improving the Blueprint and user support through the SERPPAS Good Map
Last month, Addie’s blog talked about the Southeast Regional Partnership for Planning and Sustainability (SERPPAS) Good Map project. The idea is for the Good Map to serve as a visual way for diverse partners to identify overlapping interests and areas for collaboration where they could get mutual benefits. Sounds familiar, right? Mallory and I have been involved in SERPPAS for awhile, but this project in particular seemed like a perfect fit for the Blueprint. Addie already mentioned that the Blueprint is being included in the Good Map, but I thought I’d follow up with some more detail on the benefits to the Blueprint and Blueprint users.Read more...
SECAS special symposia at the fall SEAFWA annual conference
This fall’s SEAFWA annual conference will be held from October 27-30th in Hilton Head, SC. This year, the conference will include three special symposia with connections to SECAS. If you’re thinking of attending, consider marking your calendar!Read more...
Workshop - Aligning conservation priorities in Tennessee
written with support from:
Greg Wathen, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
Mallory Martin, Hilary Morris, & Todd Jones-Farrand, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Tennessee’s forestry and wildlife agencies are tasked with managing the state’s forest and wildlife resources to meet a list of increasing demands for a growing population. Both the Tennessee Division of Forestry and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency have developed statewide assessments and action plans. These plans identify a number of shared priorities, and collaborative actions can result in synergistic accomplishments that neither agency would be able to achieve on its own.Read more...
SECAS governance - Refining an organizational model to sustain collaborative conservation in the Southeast
The SECAS initiative has achieved a noteworthy record of conservation accomplishment since its inception in 2011, including the Southeast Conservation Blueprint v.3.0, adoption of an overarching goal and step-down metrics, and successful completion of a number of symposia, workshops, and technical sessions advancing collaborative conservation across the Southeast.Read more...
Developing the Good Map for the Southeast Regional Partnership for Planning and Sustainability
The Southeast Regional Partnership for Planning and Sustainability (better known as SERPPAS) has been collaborating at the intersection of protecting military readiness, conserving natural and working lands and sustaining communities for the last 14 years. The critical equation for accomplishing this mission in the Southeast region (AL, FL, GA, MS, NC, SC) has been to build effective working relationships between the partners, which include State and Federal agencies that have responsibilities for natural resources, working lands and military readiness. This means cultivating relationships built on mutual interest, mutual gain and mutual trust. In addition to these important relationships, the Partnership also utilizes good data and good maps to ensure that good decisions are made to advance the missions of all partners. All of this equates to the identification of overlapping priorities where multiple and mutual benefits can be found for all the partners. This is where SERPPAS finds success.Read more...
Next steps for the AFWA Landscape Conservation Working Group
The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) Landscape Conservation Working Group held a special session on Collaborative Landscape Conservation as part of the North American Fish and Wildlife Conference this week in Denver. This session followed an active year for the Working Group, which included completion of a white paper and an AFWA resolution on collaborative conservation at the landscape scale.
The session brought together leaders from non-governmental organizations as well as federal, state, and private partners to focus on the following critical elements:
- Learn about past and current landscape conservation initiatives
- Provide an opportunity for diverse partners to share expertise and insights
- Identify elements of a work plan for AFWA’s landscape conservation working group
Hot off the press: User guide for the Southeast Conservation Blueprint!
A new online user guide is available to help you use the Southeast Blueprint to support grants and inform decision-making. A companion guide is also available for the South Atlantic Blueprint, one of the subregional inputs to the Southeast Blueprint. While this blog will focus on the Southeast guide, if you want to learn more about the South Atlantic guide, check out this blog post on the South Atlantic website.
The user guide compiles different examples of real Blueprint uses to provide new ideas about how to connect to this larger strategy. For the last several years, staff have been helping individuals and organizations in the conservation community use the Blueprint. We’ve learned a lot about the types of approaches, wording, and maps that work best in different situations, and we want to share those lessons with you. The guide showcases a range of case studies, grouped into a few themes that summarize the primary ways people have used the Blueprint.Read more...
Southeast Conservation Blueprint Version 3.0 officially released
Southeast Conservation Blueprint 3.0 data are now final and ready for you to use. The major improvements in this version include:
- Integration of new data from the Texas Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool (CHAT): This fills in a gap in Texas and completes full coverage of the Southeast region.
- New data layer depicting Blueprint input and overlap areas: This will help you figure out which of the subregional Blueprint inputs cover your area of interest. Each of the inputs has more detailed information than what’s captured in the Southeast Blueprint. This layer can help identify where to look for more detailed information.
- Integrated hubs and corridors layer for the South Atlantic and Appalachian subregions: This brings together the hubs and corridors from each of these assessments into a single integrated layer. Work is underway to expand this layer to cover a broader area of the Southeast in a future update.
- Threats and land use change layers: This release includes solar energy suitability, urban growth, and sea-level rise inundation
- Improved documentation: We’ve greatly improved the detail in the documentation on how the Blueprint was put together. That includes both a pdf detailing the Blueprint development process and formal metadata used by various systems and databases that host and link to the Blueprint.
Starting a SECAS blog
Up until now, news about the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS) has been scattered across multiple websites. We’re starting a SECAS blog so future updates will all come from the same place—right here! This adds a new dynamic element to the SECAS website, enabling it to capture not only static information about the initiative and the Blueprint, but also the latest progress and opportunities to get involved.
This is a fresh start for SECAS news, so if you want to take a trip down memory lane to learn more about past events, check out these archived blogs originally posted on the South Atlantic LCC website:Read more...
From the archive - SECAS at the Southeastern Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) annual meeting
The Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS) was highlighted in several ways at the recent SEAFWA conference in Mobile, AL.
Our exhibit table provided an excellent platform to show off some of the recent SECAS accomplishments, including:
- Update of the Southeast Conservation Blueprint to Draft Version 3.0
- Discussion of new threat layers for the southeast region, including sea level rise, urbanization, and a new solar layer depicting areas suitable for solar development
- SECAS website update including the most up to date information
- SECAS fact sheet and user support contact info card
- Scrolling informational slides describing recent uses of the Southeast Blueprint
From the archive - Goal for Southeastern ecosystems approved by state wildlife agency directors
A couple of weeks ago, the directors of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) unanimously approved an explicit goal for Southeastern ecosystems. This was a high priority improvement in the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS). I’ve been talking about the steps leading up to this goal in my last few blog posts.
- 10% or greater improvement in the health, function, and connectivity of southeastern ecosystems by 2060
- 1% improvement in the health, function, and connectivity of southeastern ecosystems every 4 years
- 1% increase in conservation actions within the Southeast Conservation Blueprint every 4 years
From the archive - Identifying ambitious but achievable ecosystem goals for the Southeast
Setting goals for the future is hard. It never feels like we have enough data and the future is so uncertain. That said, goals can be a powerful way to bring in new resources and stay focused on outcomes. A couple of months ago, I talked about assessing the state of the Southeastern ecosystems. This month’s post will be about some data being used to identify an ambitious but achievable goal for Southeastern ecosystems.
A major focus for the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS) this year has been to identify an explicit long-term and near-term goal. That leads to a big question: What’s possible in the Southeast?Read more...
From the archive - Updated website for the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy
You might remember my post back in August covering an update to the “SECAS in Action” story map. I’m happy to say the rest of the website wasn’t far behind!
The website keeps the same look and feel. We’ve just refreshed the content to reflect the most current information about SECAS, the Southeast Blueprint, how to get involved, and more. We’ve listed the user support lead for each state in the Southeast, so everyone across the region knows who to talk to if they’d like help using the Blueprint. And you can see a list of the organizations who have already used, or are in the process of using, the Blueprint!Read more...
From the archive - The Nature Conservancy in South Carolina uses the Southeast Blueprint to identify their statewide priorities
Earlier this year, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in South Carolina started using the Southeast Blueprint to inform an update of their South Carolina Conservation Vision, which is their statewide map of conservation priorities. The state of South Carolina contains two different Blueprints—the South Atlantic Blueprint and the Appalachian NatureScape Merged Design. The Southeast Blueprint provided the seamless statewide coverage TNC needed because it already integrates those subregional priorities into one priority layer.
TNC’s South Carolina Conservation Vision hadn’t been updated since 1998, so it was due for a refresh to incorporate advances in conservation planning, threat projections, and connectivity modeling. The timing of this update also coincided with the reauthorization of the SC Conservation Bank, a major funding source from the SC state legislature. An early draft of the new vision was used to help support the reauthorization, which was finalized in May.Read more...
From the archive - Updated story map for the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy
We talk a lot about how folks are using the South Atlantic Blueprint, but what about other examples throughout the Southeast? As you may already know, the South Atlantic Blueprint integrates with other regional priorities to create a Southeast-wide Blueprint as part of the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy, or SECAS.
Rua and I have been working on an update to a story map on the SECAS website entitled “SECAS in Action”. It combines the latest success stories highlighting how the Southeast Blueprint and other cross-boundary products of SECAS have helped inform strategic decision-making and bring in new resources for conservation. You’ll recognize lots of great stories from the South Atlantic, as well as other parts of the Southeast and Caribbean!Read more...
From the archive - The state of Southeastern ecosystems
How are the ecosystems of the Southeast doing? How is that changing over time? I’ve been working on integrating ecosystem assessments across the Southeast to get at those key questions, primarily to support a major task this year for the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS): developing an explicit and near-term goal.
The big idea is trying to use existing assessments to create a yearly assessment of ecosystem condition and trends. Some of these existing assessments are yearly, while others are every five years, but every year there’s some new information about how ecosystems are doing. So far, I’ve been integrating a range of assessments using broad ecosystem types and a 0 – 100 condition score based on the data-driven scores in each assessment. While this is still a work in progress and there are many ways to slice up these data, it seemed like a good time to share with you some of what I’ve found so far.Read more...
From the archive - Coming this fall in the SECAS update…
Here are a few of the updates and new resources planned for the fall Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS) update:
- Update of the Texas part of the Blueprint using new information from the Texas Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool (CHAT). With this update, the Blueprint will provide seamless coverage over most of the United States.
- Integrated threat layers covering the full Southeast.
- Integrated hubs and corridors layer covering Peninsular Florida, South Atlantic, North Atlantic, Appalachians, and possibly the Gulf Coastal Plains and Ozarks.
I’ll be talking about these updates and more on the August South Atlantic Third Thursday Web Forum.Read more...
From the archive - SECAS - A model for collaborative conservation
A special session on the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS) was presented last week at the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Norfolk, VA. The conference was held jointly with the National Military Fish and Wildlife Association. This national meeting of two major conservation audiences was the ideal venue for presenting the conservation vision for the future of natural resources in the southeast. A stellar and diverse lineup of presenters, led by Ed Carter, Director of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, and Susan Gibson of the Department of Defense Southeast Division, emphasized the momentum and success of the SECAS initiative since its inception in 2011.Read more...
From the archive - Aligning conservation capacity and need in the Southeast
Many of you are aware that Science Applications is the organizing home of LCCs within the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). In the southeast region, Science Applications includes the South Atlantic, Peninsular Florida, Gulf Coastal Plains and Ozarks, and Caribbean LCCs. Given continuing uncertainty about the status of LCCs in the federal budget, Science Applications in the southeast is examining the focus of resources and capacity in support of large-scale conservation throughout the region. Supporting the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS) has been a focal area of the southeast LCCs since 2011, and continuing to support and participate in SECAS remains a regional FWS priority.Read more...
From the archive - Paper in BioScience on the future of landscape conservation
A recent article in the journal BioScience makes a case for the importance of Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, and suggests ways LCCs can improve into the future. In particular, the paper references the South Atlantic Conservation Blueprint as an example of the power of focusing on a mission of systematic conservation planning, saying “in retrospect, LCCs that focused on landscape-scale planning (e.g., Pickens et al. 2017) have made the biggest impact.”Read more...
From the archive - 2017 SECAS symposium at SEAFWA annual conference
The Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS) was featured last week at a symposium in conjunction with the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) annual conference in Louisville, KY. The symposium, titled Aligning Actions for Success, focused on integration of State Wildlife Action Plan objectives into the Southeast Blueprint, a spatial depiction of priority areas for implementing conservation actions across the 15-state southeastern United States.Read more...
From the archive - Upcoming Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy symposium
The Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS) and the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) Wildlife Diversity Committee are developing a symposium entitled: The Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy: Aligning Actions for Success, to be held this fall at the 2017 SEAFWA Conference in Louisville, KY. The focus of the symposium is a deeper dive into how the SECAS Blueprint and various tools are being utilized. The symposium will include lots of opportunity for interactive discussion and solicitation of ideas – please do try to attend. More information on all the symposia for the SEAFWA Conference can be found online at: http://www.seafwa.org/conference/program/symposia/.Read more...
From the archive - A conservation blueprint for the nation?
Wouldn’t it be great if the South Atlantic Conservation Blueprint hooked into similar products across the entire United States? There’s already a version that covers most of the South thanks to the Southeast Conservation Blueprint. Why stop there? There’s now progress in the Northeast, Midwest, and West toward similar “blueprints”.Read more...
From the archive - Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS) coordination
Following the success of last fall’s SECAS Summit, the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS) Lead Coordination Team met March 22-23 at the JC Ralston Arboretum in Raleigh to continue improvement and refinement of the Southeast Blueprint and to increase the diversity of engagement and participation in the SECAS initiative. The meeting included participation from Ed Carter, Director of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Gordon Myers, Director of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, and additional experts in human dimensions and communications from state agencies and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.Read more...
From the archive - Southeast Blueprint now on the Southeast Conservation Planning Atlas
Version 1.0 of the Conservation Blueprint for the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS) is now available on the Southeast Conservation Planning Atlas. This spatial plan integrates the input data from 8 different LCCs to identify the highest priority areas for conservation across the Southeast. It will be updated annually to incorporate the most current information from each LCC. It currently uses the most recent version of the South Atlantic Blueprint, Version 2.1.Read more...
From the archive - The SECAS Leadership Summit
The Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS) Conservation Leadership Summit was held in conjunction with the 2016 Southeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) Conference in Baton Rouge on October 17th. The summit was well attended by state fish and wildlife agency representatives, federal agencies providing leadership through the Southeast Natural Resource Leaders Group (SENRLG), and other interested partners across the southeast.
The purpose of the summit was threefold: (1) to roll out Southeast Blueprint Version 1.0 and solidify support for its continued improvement, (2) to solicit an affirmation of continued support and engagement from the SEAFWA and SENRLG leadership, and (3) to demonstrate the breadth of engagement and accomplishment of the SECAS initiative to date.Read more...
From the archive - The Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy emerges
During the past several months, much emphasis has been focused on the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy, referred to by its acronym, SECAS. This initiative is nothing new; in fact, it began in 2011 at the urging of the Southeastern state fish and wildlife agency directors (SEAFWA) and the principal members of the federal Southeast Natural Resources Leadership Group (SENRLG). These visionary leaders understood that the scope and scale of challenges facing fish and wildlife conservation required a bold and new collaborative approach in order to define the conservation landscape of the future – and the newly-formed LCCs were just the right partnerships to help define and deliver that future landscape.Read more...
From the archive - Check out SECASsoutheast.org
Six Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) across the Southeast have joined forces with the Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to create a website for the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS). SECAS is bringing together people and organizations to design and achieve a connected network of landscapes and seascapes that supports thriving fish and wildlife populations and improved quality of life for people across the southeastern United States and the Caribbean. The website explains the need for SECAS, explains the “Blueprint” conservation design processes being carried out across the 6 LCCs, features a storymap of example projects, and more.Read more...
From the archive - Reflections on the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy symposium
Wow–what an exciting SEAFWA conference! As you probably heard, the Southeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies hosted its 69th annual conference earlier this week in Asheville, NC. The theme was “conserving large landscapes”, and with the support of the conference host (the NC Wildlife Resources Commission), your South Atlantic LCC staff, Steering Committee members, and Blueprint users had plenty of fabulous opportunities to showcase the Conservation Blueprint.
A symposium on SECAS, the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy, was held on Wednesday, highlighting the ways that conservation practitioners in the Southeast, working through the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, are developing a shared vision for sustaining fish and wildlife into the future. SECAS provides the framework to develop not only that shared vision, but a shared understanding of the threats we face, a shared approach for prioritizing conservation action to address those threats, and shared responsibilities for accomplishing our conservation goals.Read more...
From the archive - Upcoming symposium on the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy at the 69th Annual SEAFWA Conference
Mark your calendars – there will be a special symposium on the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS) at this year’s Annual Conference of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA).
This symposium will present recent progress and identify important next steps for key elements of this shared conservation adaptation strategy, including network of landscapes and seascapes, conservation collaboration, and landscape change information.Read more...