On February 19 and 20, the SARP Science and Data Committee (SDC) met in Birmingham, Alabama. Many topics were discussed including determining aquatic data gaps, providing products that are applicable to the states and the best way to engage the states, and how to function better as the SDC (roles and responsibilities).
With the standing up of the LCCs the past few years, SARP has had to readjust their role in the conservation landscape. Instead of focusing as heavily on biological planning components (development of aquatic prioritization tools, for instance), these activities were now occurring at each of the LCCs. SARP is unique in that our Southeastern geography overlaps many of these LCCs and we can provide aquatic conservation consistency guidance to the larger landscape. Therefore, a revised role for the SARP SDC will be to formalize our aquatic liaisons as our mechanism of engagement in each of these LCCs, and use the tools developed in the LCCs to guide on the ground aquatic conservation actions.
A few changes to the SDC structure that were made include: aquatic liaisons serving as LCC geography leads, and a designation of a SARP SDC geographical team assisting and engaging in each of those geographies. These teams may be called upon to assist the liaison as needed, provide input and expertise on aquatic issues, draft proposals in response to RFPs, or advise aquatic delivery opportunities in the landscape. The SARP SDC will also be working on seeking additional opportunities for funding projects and leveraging resources from partners (as NFHAP allocations to each partnership decreases) to fund on the ground delivery of conservation.