I am excited to report that your Cooperative’s shared Conservation Blueprint will connect to a much broader effort to build the conservation landscape of the future.  As you know, your Cooperative has already been working to integrate our conservation planning effort with those of the other LCCs in the southeast to support a Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy.  The South Atlantic and Peninsular Florida LCCs have already agreed to connect our respective blueprints by spring 2015 and the entire southeast should have connecting plans by 2016.

In January, the 22 LCC coordinators agreed that the LCC Network should facilitate the design of an ecologically connected international network of landscapes capable of sustaining natural and cultural resources as defined (1) in the National Fish, Wildlife and Plant Adaptation Strategy?  This is a significant development for the Network.  The LCC coordinators team has been working to identify a unifying agenda for the Network of Cooperatives. LCC Coordinators, from the Pacific Islands to Alaska, to the Caribbean, all agree that an ecologically connected network of wildlands, waters, and seascapes, are an essential outcome of the LCC enterprise, and the future health of our nation’s fish, wildlife, plants, and cultural resources.  In undertaking this effort the LCC Network can fill a role that it is uniquely suited for.  The National Fish, Wildlife, and Plant Climate Adaptation Strategy recognized LCCs as providing “useful forums for multiple jurisdictions and partners to better work together to define, design, and deliver sustainable landscapes at a regional scale.”

To support this effort the LCC science coordinators are including landscape conservation design as a key component of the Network’s science agenda.  The LCC coordinators are beginning to work with the management team of the Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy to help clarify and communicate the role of the Network in supporting the Strategy.  The LCC Network will be forming a community of practice to share efforts in building towards an ecologically connected network of landscapes. In addition, a number of LCCs beyond the southeast are already working on the building blocks of such a network within their areas.

I see this as a critical step forward for the Network. It is exciting to know that the work we have all been doing to develop the South Atlantic LCC Blueprint will have connections way beyond our geography and contribute to sustaining our nation’s natural and cultural heritage for generations to come.

(1)NFWPCAS Strategy 1.1.  Identify areas for an ecologically-connected network of terrestrial, freshwater, coastal, and marine conservation areas that are likely to be resilient to climate change and to support a broad range of fish, wildlife, and plants under changed conditions.