Lately I’ve been helping the Southeast Regional Partnership for Planning and Sustainability (SERPPAS) improve the mapping of their priorities. SERPPAS is a six-state partnership comprised of state and federal agencies that promotes collaboration in making resource-use decisions supporting conservation of natural resources, working lands, and national defense. A big focus of the partnership is facilitating actions in places where all three can benefit. To do that, it’s important to have good maps that show where and how natural resources, working lands, and national defense priorities relate to each other.
Why am I helping with this? Blueprint users want to better communicate how conservation can benefit military training—particularly since helping sustain national security can be a powerful motivator for some private landowners and a number of conservation funders. Improving the way we communicate conservation benefits will also be important in achieving the goal of a 10% or greater improvement in health, function, and connectivity of southeastern ecosystems by 2060.
There isn’t a good regional, multi-state layer right now depicting military priorities, especially off-base. That’s what I’m helping with. Some layers, like military training routes, are now publicly available but they cover a large area of the South. The reality is that some of those training areas are more important than others. I’m hoping to get to a rough and imperfect layer in about a year and a much better layer a year after that. This wouldn’t replace more detailed, base-specific information, but rather be more of a broad multi-state depiction of military interests. I’ll keep you updated as things progress. In the meantime, we’ll be folding in more information on military benefits in our Blueprint user support as it becomes available.