Two weeks ago, I went down to the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center for a SE Climate Science Center science meeting. For this first year, all Climate Science Center funds are going to go to projects headed by either USGS or NC State investigators. So, the original intention of this meeting was to bring together USGS/NC State scientists and science staff from the 7 Southeastern LCCs to figure out what capacity those scientists had to address major information needs that cross LCC boundaries based on the 6 climate science center themes. There are powerpoints from all the talks now available here.
Due to some increasingly tight USGS funding deadlines (this sure seems to happen a lot), the meeting also ended up including prioritization of potential projects by most of the science implementation panel. The science implementation panel includes science staff from each of the Southeastern LCCs and a few researchers that will not be applying for funds this year. I sat down with science staff from the Appalachian, Peninsular Florida, Gulf Coast Plains and Ozarks, and Caribbean LCC to talk about shared information needs that crossed LCC boundaries and would help all of the Southeastern LCCs eventually roll up their conservation plans to form a Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy. It was a great discussion and I think we came up with some great topics. A request for statements of interest on a number of topic areas based on that discussion is available here.
I would’ve much rather gotten more feedback from the partnership so hopefully the process next year will be better. I’ve also been assured that the proposal request will be open to everyone next year. Given the tight timeline, I leaned heavily on science gaps that are most limiting in SALCC conservation planning and are preventing the cooperative from answering the numerous conservation questions I’ve gotten from managers and policy makers both at the field and regional level. If we’ve sat down and talked or you’ve filled out a note card when I’ve given a presentation those are the questions I’m talking about. As nerdy as it sounds, I even have those questions on a spreadsheet on my phone!
In the end, though, I think we came up with some really good focus topics. There was also some really great collaboration across all the staff of the LCCs. It makes me really optimistic that we’ll all be able to connect the planning and products from the southeastern LCCs much sooner than I’d originally thought.