The South Atlantic LCC Indicator Selection Team has been busy discussing the indicators it will recommend for the terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems of the South Atlantic. After a number of one-on-one conversations and two online meetings, the team has identified a small list of potential indicators to go out for further expert review. That means everything’s on schedule in the Natural Resource Indicator Process for a steering committee decision on indicators and targets for the entire LCC in March.

The expert review is going to start this week. Through a combination of individual interviews and online surveys, ecosystem experts from all over the South Atlantic will be providing feedback to the South Atlantic LCC Indicator Selection Team. During an in person meeting on Feb 20-21, the indicator selection team will be reviewing that feedback and making a recommendation on indicators and targets for the entire LCC.

Here’s a quick reminder of who’s on the Indicator Selection Team

  • Joe DeVivo – NPS
  • Tim Pinion – NPS
  • Brian Watson – VA DGIF
  • Beth Stys – FL FWC
  • Wilson Laney – FWS
  • John Stanton – FWS
  • Maria Whitehead – TNC
  • David Whitaker – SC DNR
  • Mark Scott – SC DNR
  • Breck Carmichael – SC DNR
  • Billy Dukes – SC DNR
  • Reggie Thackston – GA DNR
  • Jan MacKinnon – GA DNR
  • Jimmy Evans – GA DNR
  • Jon Ambrose – GA DNR
  • Duke Rankin – USFS
  • Roger Pugliese – SAFMC
  • Ryan Heise – NC WRC
  • Scott Anderson – NC WRC
  • Lisa Perras Gordon – EPA

Here are the potential indicators that are going out for review. Expert reviewers are also receiving additional information on each indicator (e.g., why selected) and ecosystem (e.g., crosswalks to natureserve and CMECS habitat standards)

Ecosystem indicators being sent for review

Marine

  • Index of coastal condition (includes water quality, sediment quality, benthic habitat quality, coastal wetlands and fish tissue contaminants)
  • Area of submerged aquatic vegetation
  • Abundance of sea turtles collectively
  • Abundance of marine mammals collectively
  • Abundance of seabirds collectively
  • Abundance of red drum
  • Abundance of american shad
  • Abundance of atlantic menhaden
  • Abundance of gag grouper
  • Threats to Essential Fish Habitat – Habitat Areas of Particular Concern (EFH-HAPC) from development activities (e.g, SAV, Deep water corals, etc)


Estuarine

  • Index of coastal condition (includes water quality, sediment quality, benthic habitat quality, coastal wetlands and fish tissue contaminants)
  • Acres of submerged aquatic vegetation
  • Acres of phragmites
  • Index of estuarine dependent species
  • Miles of tidal creek armored shorelines
  • Acres of shellfish harvesting locations that are fully open to harvest (i.e., not impaired or conditionally open)
  • Estuarine wetland bird index (Seaside Sparrow, Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow, Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow, American Black Duck, Wood Stork, Redhead, Canvasback)


Beaches and dunes

  • Number of loggerhead sea turtle nests
  • Number of successful loggerhead sea turtle nests
  • Abundance of american oystercatcher
  • Abundance of wilson’s plover
  • Abundance of red knot
  • Abundance of piping plover
  • Acres of beach
  • Beach bird index (Piping plover, American Oystercatcher, Wilson’s plover, Red knot, Least tern)
  • Miles of armored beach


Landscapes (Terrestrial habitat connections)

  • Area of forest interior habitat
  • Abundance of black bear
  • Occurrence of timber (canebrake) rattlesnake
  • Occurrence of eastern “diamondback” rattlesnake
  • Occurrence of box turtle
  • Area of unique geophysical settings in natural condition
  • Index of connectivity based on “naturalness” of landcover (Theobold et al)


Waterscapes (Connections between freshwater and marine)

  • Miles of fish access to rivers and streams
  • Acres of lakes, reservoirs, and estuaries with fish access
  • Abundance of american eel
  • Abundance of atlantic sturgeon
  • Abundance of american shad
  • Abundance of blueback herring
  • Abundance of striped bass


Freshwater aquatic (Streams, lakes, ponds)

  • Percent impaired waterbody segments per the EPA 303(d) list (water quality)
  • Percent of land within 100ft of rivers and streams that is non-urban/non-agriculture (riparian buffers)
  • Annual rate of increase in established non-indigenous aquatic species
  • Percent of rivers with > 20% change in high/low flows or > 60-day change in flow timing since the 1970s (Flow alteration)
  • Abundance of american shad
  • Abundance of blueback herring
  • Percent of stream / reaches w/ threatened and endangered mussel, fish, crayfish, or snail occurrence
  • Percent of stream / reaches w/ endemic mussel, fish, crayfish, or snail occurrence
  • Number of states with adopted instream flow policy
  • Index of upstream fish representing clean substrate


Scrub-shrub (includes cliffs and outcrops)

  • Abundance of northern bobwhite
  • Abundance of painted buntings
  • Percent of acres with invasive species
  • Area with disturbance mechanisms to promote habitat (e.g., acres in timber management)
  • Shrub-shrub bird index (Northern Bobwhite, Field Sparrow, Loggerhead Shrike, Prairie Warbler, Henslow’s Sparrow, American Woodcock, Bachman’s Sparrow)


Pine woodlands, savannas, and prairies

  • Abundance of northern bobwhite
  • Abundance of red-cockaded woodpecker
  • Abundance of bachman’s sparrow
  • Pine woodland, savanna, and prairie bird index (Brown-headed nuthatch, Bachman’s sparrow, Red cockaded woodpecker, Northern bobwhite, American kestrel, Red-headed woodpecker, Prairie warbler, Henslow’s sparrow, Loggerhead shrike)
  • Percent of acres with invasives (e.g., cogongrass)
  • Occurrence of flatwoods salamanders
  • Occurrence of georgia aster


Upland hardwood forests

  • Acres of upland hardwood interior habitat
  • Percent of acres with invasive species presence
  • Abundance of wood thrush
  • Abundance of acadian flycatcher
  • Mean tree DBH (Tree size)
  • Abundance of wild turkey
  • Upland hardwood bird index (Acadian Flycatcher, Louisiana Waterthrush, Kentucky Warbler, Swainson’s Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, Hooded Warbler)


Forested wetlands

  • Abundance of swainson’s warblers
  • Occurrence of rafinesque’s big-eared bat
  • Abundance of black bear
  • Forested wetland bird index (Prothonotary Warbler, Swainson’s Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Wood Duck, Swallow-tailed Kite, Cerulean Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Northern Parula, Chuck-will’s-widow, Red-headed Woodpecker, Red-cockaded Woodpecker)
  • Acres of forested wetlands
  • Number of carolina Bays in agricultural use
  • Acres of forested wetland interior habitat


Tidal and nontidal freshwater marshes

  • Abundance of king rail
  • Abundance of wood stork
  • Acres of tidal freshwater marsh
  • Percent of acres with invasive species
  • Tidal and nontidal freshwater marsh bird index (King Rail, American Black Duck, Northern Pintail, Least Bittern, Whimbrel, Wood Stork)
  • Acres of marsh drained or converted