What’s more fun that an LCC Steering Committee meeting? How about two LCC Steering Committee meetings at the same time? That’s right, earlier this week your South Atlantic LCC Steering Committee met with the Peninsular Florida LCC in joint sessions near St. Augustine, Florida.

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South Atlantic LCC Steering Committee members used poker chips to vote on areas to focus for the 2016-2017 work plan.

The joint sessions were designed to celebrate shared conservation successes of both LCCs and to plan for future conservation action at multiple scales- local, regional, and national. One particular area of focus was the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS) initiative, which involves collective action across the Southeastern United State and Caribbean, including six southeastern LCCs (www.secassoutheast.org). Other shared successes included updates from the Southeast Climate Science Center and the Southeastern Aquatic Resources Partnership, as well as focal area presentations on the impact of wildland fire resilient landscapes funding on longleaf and Gulf of Mexico RESTORE actions resulting from the recent BP Deepwater Horizon settlement. Staff and steering committees of both cooperatives prepared a joint “press release” summarizing some of the highlights of the joint Steering Committee meetings.

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The newly elected Chair and Vice Chair, Rick Durbrow with EPA and Jon Ambrose with Georgia DNR.

Each LCC Steering Committee also held separate business meetings to conduct its own governance actions. Your cooperative elected Rick Durbrow with the Environmental Protection Agency as Chair for the next two years, and Jon Ambrose with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources was elected Vice Chair. Your Steering Committee also approved revisions to the South Atlantic LCC Charter, and reviewed funding and investment in your cooperative for the coming year. Considerable discussion focused on prioritizing your cooperative’s working capacity among the categories of Promoting, Supporting, and Improving the Conservation Blueprint. Your Steering Committee approved an outline of priority work areas for 2016-2017 that form the basis of our annual work plan.

The Steering Committee gave draft Blueprint 2.1 a positive reception, calling for two minor changes–adding marine and estuarine corridors, and making some cosmetic tweaks to the display of priorities. Blueprint 2.1 is still on track for formal approval and full release in July.

Overall the joint LCC meeting concept proved very productive and may be an approach we will want to use again. Who knows, maybe next year we’ll bring in the North Atlantic and Gulf Coast Plains & Ozarks LCCs and have four LCC meetings at once!