Scenic desert landscape of Big Bend National Park showing river with mountains in the background.
Big Bend National Park, Texas. Photo by turcottes78/Flickr. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

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.

Increasingly, we’ve been asked to brief conservation leaders in agencies and organizations outside of the Southeast. These opportunities demonstrate the interest in and need for approaches similar to SECAS in the Northeast, Midwest, and West. Of course, we don’t advocate that one size fits all and the SECAS approach and format can be transferred in whole cloth to other regions. Rather, as an example of successful collaborative landscape conservation, SECAS can serve as a model for other regions to consider as they adapt and tailor individual approaches in recognition of their own unique circumstances and regional differences. We’re happy that SECAS can be one example of how other parts of the country might advance their landscape conservation actions–and provide connections through the Southeast Blueprint to conservation efforts closer to home.

These briefings also provide the opportunity to demonstrate linkages between SECAS and recent recommendations relating to landscape conservation partnerships coming from the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA). Beginning with a 2018 white paper on Landscape Conservation Collaboration, and extending to a specific resolution on landscape conservation and a task force report on landscape partnerships, AFWA has been a national leader for thoughtful and consistent approaches to landscape conservation partnerships throughout the country. SECAS has benefitted from these efforts, most recently in conducting a holistic partnership review and developing a series of recommendations, consistent with the AFWA guidance, to sustain value and enhance momentum toward achieving the SECAS conservation goal.

“Getting the word out” through briefings has become an effective way to build momentum and advance conservation impact as SECAS continues to evolve and refine its approaches to define and achieve the sustainable landscape of the future for the Southeast.