blueprintpieOctober is my favorite month of the year.  I love knowing that the leaves are starting to change back in the beautiful Western North Carolina mountains where I was born.  I love the crisp smell in the air when I ride my bike to work in the morning.  I love the exploding market for all things pumpkin spice flavored.  And I really, really love the State Fair.  I’m sure many of my Raleigh colleagues are planning to attend the NC State Fair this month to eat their way across the fairgrounds, enjoy the view from the Ferris wheel, and win their sweetheart an enormous stuffed animal by throwing things at other things using some very Midway-specific type of hand-eye coordination.  Maybe some of you are even planning to enter one of the contests at your local fair for baking, canning, or growing Vegetables of Unusual Size.  If you’re looking to dazzle the judges, I have a recipe for you to try.

You could say that it’s as easy as Blueberryprint pie.

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Next, identify a conservation decision that the Blueprint could help you with.  Then, use the Blueprint to make your decision.  Reflect on how well the tool worked for you—what did you like, and what would you change?  Finally, send Louise and me your feedback at or 919-707-0252.  Bake for at least 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.  Then enjoy!

I’d like to wrap up with a round of applause for this month’s Blueprint user.  A colleague of our NOAA Steering Committe rep used the Blueprint in a proposal to justify the selection of a Southeast NOAA Habitat Blueprint Focus Area.  The current Focus Areas under consideration for the Southeast Region are:  the Cape Fear River in North Carolina, the Lower Winyah Bay in South Carolina, the Lower Altamaha River Drainage in Georgia, and the South Florida Coastal Marine Ecosystem.  The Blueprint designates all three of the proposed Focus Areas within the South Atlantic geography as highest priority for shared action.

This is probably a good opportunity to point out that, despite the similar name, the NOAA Habitat Blueprint is quite different from the South Atlantic LCC’s Conservation Blueprint.  The NOAA Blueprint “provides a forward looking framework for NOAA to think and act strategically across programs and with partner organizations to address the growing challenge of coastal and marine habitat loss and degradation.”  It is intended to increase the effectiveness of NOAA’s efforts to “improve habitat conditions for fisheries, coastal and marine life, along with other economic, cultural, and environmental benefits our society needs and enjoys.”  Your Cooperative’s Blueprint is not specific to any one agency, but rather reflects all the partners’ shared vision of the future.