What’s one of the biggest barriers to implementing the Blueprint? Money, right? That’s why using the Blueprint to bring new conservation funds to the region is one of the major Blueprint use cases. It’s also a continuing focus of the yearly South Atlantic LCC work plans. Now that there’s been an official announcement, I can share with you a great example of the Blueprint helping to bring in new implementation dollars.

It all started with the new Wildland Fire Resilient Landscapes Program in the Department of the Interior (http://www.doi.gov/pmb/owf/HFR.cfm). This was a fast-moving opportunity in a new program. They wanted to make a big impact working through large and diverse partnerships. They also wanted explicit metrics beyond just acres treated.

In the first year, only a few proposals would be sent in through each Bureau within the Department of the Interior. So, I worked with some super awesome people at the Fish and Wildlife Service Fire Program (Vince Carver, Clay Ware, Terri Jenkins, and others) to see how the Blueprint could help. Janet also got in touch with folks in the Park Service to see which parks might have a shared interest in prescribed fire and wanted to be part of the proposal.

ProjectareaThe final proposal used the South Atlantic LCC as the partnership and included a potential project area covering large parts of the longleaf range within the South Atlantic. The picture on the right shows that area in yellow. It includes areas that are: 1) a priority in the National Cohesive Wildlands Fire Strategy, 2) a priority in Blueprint 1.0, and 3) three hours or less of driving time from longleaf refuges and parks where temporary staff will be stationed. Spoiler alert: the project was approved for $770,000 in this first pilot year. These funds will go to temporary staff, training, and aerial support. The project will be supporting fire not just on public lands but also on state, nonprofit, and private lands, too.

As far as metrics go, we’ll be using the ecological indicators and State of the South Atlantic for reporting impacts. The Blueprint also helped out with a number of other proposal questions like impacts on aquatic systems and resilience to climate change. According to the national folks reviewing proposals, those metrics and impacts were particularly important for this program.

This example is just the beginning. With your help, we can make the South Atlantic the next big “go to” location for national investments. Fire is just one of the areas where national groups are “under-investing” in the South Atlantic (and the South in general). Aquatic conservation? Marine ecosystems? Working with municipalities? If you think the Blueprint can help you bring new implementation dollars to the region, feel free to get in touch with any of your staff here at the South Atlantic LCC. We’d be glad to help.