As you probably know by now, we’re always working on ways to improve the South Atlantic Ecosystem Indicators. With a South Atlantic Blueprint update on the horizon for next year, we’re putting some extra focus on those indicator improvements. We have a prioritized list of things to work on based on feedback from Blueprint users and the known issues in the Blueprint that many of you have helped identify.

  • Big improvements in coastal priorities: We have a number of improvements in the works addressing known issues on the coastal and nearshore marine environment. One of those is integrating the The Nature Conservancy’s newly released data on resilient coastal sites. This is the project from last month’s web forum.
  • Modified approach for floodplain boundaries: Using Active River Area, which isn’t available across the entire Southeast, means we can’t use a floodplain definition consistent with the rest of the Southeast Conservation Blueprint. Active River Area is also causing some issues with upland priorities in the Piedmont. There are a few new ways of looking at floodplain boundaries that weren’t available when we initially decided to use Active River Area, and we’re looking into those as potential replacements now.
  • Improved approach for habitat patches: The current indicator looking at low-road density areas has a number of issues, including how well it defines the edge of patches. There’s some new data from ESRI and the Green Infrastructure Center that could lead to an improved indicator.
  • Lots of other things, including: finer resolution, improved and expanded open space index, a Piedmont prairie indicator, improved historic landscape boundaries, and more!

Not everything we’re working on will make it into the next South Atlantic Blueprint update, but I am expecting some really nice improvement that I think you’ll be happy about. There will, of course, be chances for you to take part in the review of the Blueprint and likely some of the indicators as well. There’ll be more info on that in the next month or so!