We now have an active partnership in place consisting of agencies, organizations, and individuals who are engaged in the success of the South Atlantic LCC. In the formal sense, we have a steering committee consisting of leaders from fourteen organizations. As I consider this list I am excited by the diversity of perspectives and energized by the depth of commitment. These leaders have coalesced because they have the belief that by working collaboratively they can more strategically target and implement actions that satisfy their missions as well as landscape conservation priorities shared by LCC partners.

By undertaking this audacious mission these leaders have agreed to invest what they can of their organization’s capacity to obtain the information, science, and analysis required to develop the vision and ultimately to support its implementation. This leadership team will serve an important role in the partnership. They are the ultimate decision makers for the partnership. They will develop the strategic direction as the partnership evolves and adapts to new information and opportunities. They will set the priorities that will guide the establishment of a sustainable landscape vision. They will help to sort out the inevitable challenges posed by competing priorities. Perhaps more importantly than all of these responsibilities will be the leadership these folks will demonstrate by participating in and advocating for a new conservation approach. This approach seeks to collaborate across organizations, across professional disciplines, across partnerships, across habitats, and across geography.

Although the Department of Interior introduced the concept, established some basic structural underpinnings to facilitate the emergence of a national network, and has invested significant resources as leverage to catalyze the network, it has not asserted a decision-making role in LCC’s above any individual partner. Decision-making at each LCC belongs to the organizations that choose to invest in the vision of collaboratively developed priorities and strategies to adapt to future change in the interest of sustaining natural and cultural resources. I am inspired by the vision that has been established and by the leadership of the SALCC for taking up the reins to move the vision to reality.

Of course leadership comes in many forms and at many levels. The SALCC is fortunate to have a wealth of leadership helping to further the mission through the Partnership Committee and Communications Committee. In addition the LCC staff is responsive to the leadership’s charge to engage regularly with a variety of individuals to seek advice and input on the challenges and direction of the LCC. These folks have been instrumental in the formation and evolution of the partnership and will continue to do so even as we seek additional perspectives. The partnership is also strengthened by the 300+ individuals who engage through the interactive SALCC web forum. This is an exciting aspect of the partnership that will continue to be developed and refined to meet the needs of the community.

As I take a breath to consider the strong and diverse partnership that has formed, I am reenergized. It is your interest, perspective, ideas, and support that will make this a successful partnership. The LCC staff is dedicated to connecting with you all to seek your input and advice on the work of your partnership.