LCC News

Draft Dataset of Known Prairie Patches in the GCPO available for review

Gulf Coastal Plains & Ozarks LCC News -

Introduction: While never a dominant feature in the landscape, natural grassland systems once formed an ecologically cohesive and important “archipelago” or “shifting mosaic” of patches of open grasses and broad-leaved herbaceous flowering plants called forbs, usually on calcareous soils in belted formations, across much of the East and West Gulf Coastal Plains and, more rarely, in parts of the Ozark Highlands and Gulf Coast. About 99% of these landscapes have been converted to other land uses or have transitioned into forested conditions due to fire suppression and ecological succession.

Summer Vacations, and Landscapes Transformed

Gulf Coastal Plains & Ozarks LCC News -

​ I went on Shore, & passed thro the plain passed Several noles to the top of a high artificial Noal from the top of this noal I had an emence , extensive & pleaseing prospect, of the Countrey around, I could See the meandering of the Little River for at least 10 miles winding thro  a meadow of 15 or 20000 acres of high bottom land covered with Grass about 4 1/ 2 feet high, the high lands which rose irregularly, & were toped with Mounds or antent Graves which is to me a Strong evidence of this Countrey haveing been thickly Settled.  Captain William Clark,  July 12, 1804 (excerpt from The Journ

Recalling the GCPO/GCP/GOMA Meetings in Baton Rouge, LA

Gulf Coastal Plains & Ozarks LCC News -

A few takeaways from last month’s GCPO/GCP/GOMA joint meeting: The Tuesday joint sessions on the Gulf and Bottomland Hardwood systems were well-attended, and certainly showed a high level of interest in what’s going on with LCC-associated projects. For the Gulf session, it was an opportunity for us to highlight some of the research that LCCs have been involved with over the last several years, and which have recently come to a conclusion.

Plenty to ruminate on at the Mid-South Prairie Symposium

Gulf Coastal Plains & Ozarks LCC News -

A couple of weeks ago I was able to attend the  Mid-South Prairie Symposium  at Austin Peay State University (APSU) in Clarksville, Tennessee. The symposium was organized by Dwayne Estes, professor of APSU’s Center of Excellence for Field Biology at APSU and botanical explorer for the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT). Dr. Estes’ research interests include biogeography, threatened and endangered species, and plant communities of Tennessee and neighboring states. Dr.

Creating a Shared Vision in the GCPO LCC

Gulf Coastal Plains & Ozarks LCC News -

Few, if any, forces in human affairs are as powerful as shared vision.  Peter Senge   Next month, the GCPO and Gulf Coast Prairie LCCs will be convening in Baton Rouge, LA, to engage in Steering Committee discussions.  It’s our annual spring/summer retreat, where we really dig into the most important questions and issues facing the GCPO partnership, and I’m looking forward to getting together once again with our Steering Committee and other partners.  This year, we'll be meeting in conjunction with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance’s All-Hands Meeting, which will provide our Steering Committee an ex

Ohio River Basin Fish Habitat Partnership FY 2018 Call for Project Proposals

Appalachian LCC News -

The Service and the ORBFHP recognize that a substantial amount of the protection, restoration and enhancement of aquatic habitat will be done at the local level by local watershed associations, municipalities, tribes, states and nongovernmental organizations. The Service and the ORBFHP will work with organizations to encourage local conservation actions that fit within the ORBFHP’s Strategic Plan priorities. A “project” is defined as an action that will protect, restore or enhance Ohio River Basin fish/mussel habitat. Project proposals will be reviewed and ranked by the ORBFHP Steering Committee. The Service will use the recommendations provided to them by the ORBFHP in making final decisions regarding project funds, and anticipates making final decisions regarding project selection by spring 2018.

Please use the following guidelines in this RFP to submit your proposal to Donovan Henry (Donovan_Henry@fws.gov) and Collin Moratz (Collin_Moratz@fws.gov) by October 6, 2017. For questions, please email or call Donovan or Collin, USFWS, at 618-997-6869, ext. 104 or ex. 122, respectively.

The Ohio River and its basin are of national significance in both geographic scope and the fish and mussel resources contained within them. The Ohio River is the second largest river in the United States as measured by its annual discharge. The basin also contains at least 350 species of fish and more than 120 mussel species, including a number that are federally listed.  Sportfishing is a major recreational activity with over 2.5 million angling hours recorded and 2.8 million fish caught within just the main-stem Ohio River during past surveys. It was with these resources in mind, that the Ohio River Basin Fish Habitat Partnership (ORBFHP) coalesced from a meeting of approximately 50 federal and state agencies, NGOs, and academic representatives interested in the aquatic habitat of the Ohio River Basin.

The ORBFHP’s focus is embodied in its mission statement:  The Ohio River Basin Fish Habitat Partnership focuses protection, restoration, and enhancement efforts on priority habitat for fish and mussels in the watersheds of the Ohio River Basin for the benefit of the public.

The Ohio River Basin Fish Habitat Partnership will accept proposals for

Fiscal Year 2018 aquatic habitat projects in the Ohio River Basin as follows:

Priority Areas:

Fish habitat protection and restoration projects that are within ORBFHP priority areas will be given primary consideration. Projects outside of these areas are still eligible (see map below):

Eligibility:

  • Projects must be within the Ohio River Basin.
  • Ohio River Basin Fish Habitat Partnership (ORBFHP) funding requests typically range between $10,000 and $40,000, but larger project requests can be submitted and will be considered depending on funding levels.
  • Federal agencies, states, tribes, tribal authorities, local governments, non-profits, for-profits, and private individuals can all apply.
  • Match and partner contributions of 3:1 are encouraged, but others will be considered. In-kind and federal match is allowed.
  • Post-project monitoring is required. This requirement can be met by using existing state, fed, local, or other monitoring programs.
  • Incomplete applications will not be accepted.
  • Applications submitted after the deadline of midnight, October 6, 2017 will not be accepted.


Fund Request Restrictions: ORBFHP funding cannot be used for:

  • Realty costs (e.g., lease or purchase interests in real property or to make rental or other land use incentive payments to landowners).
  • Operation and maintenance of facilities or structures.
  • Actions required by existing regulatory programs, except that funds may support activities under voluntary agreements that exceed regulatory requirements for conserving habitats (e.g., hydropower licensing in which the licensee enters into a voluntary agreement to restore habitat that exceeds regulatory requirements).

 

Priority will be given to projects that address these factors in your online application:

  • Projects in priority areas and directly related to the focus of the ORBFHP’s Strategic Plan (Appendix 1).
  • Address conservation or restoration actions where ORBFHP signature species are present (Appendix 1).
  • Consider watershed-scale ecological and hydrological processes that affect fish habitat and fish populations.
  • Are part of a watershed restoration effort that works to provide permanent solutions to the root cause of habitat decline.
  • Are integrated and aligned with other conservation plans (e.g. State Wildlife Plans, Watershed Management Plans, etc.).
  • Evaluate their actions on target habitats, ecosystem processes and fish populations over time.
  • Leverage resources from partners.
  • Provide benefits to broad spatial scope of aquatic resources, beyond the immediate project site (e.g. reconnects multiple miles of river)
  • Identify measures of success and performance targets that are observable and amenable to pre- and post- project monitoring.
  • Include an outreach/education component in the local community.
  • Where applicable, incorporate best management practices that:
    • Ensure they will not spread invasive species
    • Use the most current science and technology for project design.
    • Incorporate climate change adaptation.

 

Other Considerations:

  • If you have multiple projects that are different project types, please submit separate proposals for each project type. For example, a project that will restore fish passage in one stream or watershed in three different locations is considered one project, but a project that removes a fish passage barrier and restores a wetland downstream of the barrier is considered two projects.
  • Fund recipients must follow federal requirements for accounting, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Endangered Species Act, State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), and other applicable laws.
  • Please note that additional information may be REQUIRED at a later date.

 

Additional Information about the Online Application Process

Please include the following information in your proposal.  Section titles are guidelines based off the previous website-based application.

Overview

  •  Project title and type.
  •  Provide a project abstract in 500 characters or less.
  •  Identify project location. If your project includes multiple sites in a watershed, select a latitude and longitude for one of those sites. You can provide additional information about project locations later in the application.
  •  Select the 12-digit Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC) for your project location. You may select more than one watershed.
  •  Identify the state/federal agency responsible for fish management.
  •  Is land ownership Federal, State, County, City, Tribal, Private, or Other?
  •  Will public fishing access is available at the project site?
  •  Please include your congressional district as well as all congressional districts in which physical activities of the project will occur.
  • Has NEPA been initiated? If so, to what extent?
  • Has federally threatened/endangered species review with USFWS and/or state natural resource agency been completed?
  • Has historical/cultural review with SHPO been completed?

Contacts

Provide contact information for the project officer for this proposal, and co-officer if appropriate.

If known, please include DUNS number and EIN

Funding

If federal funding has been received in the past, provide a general list of federal funding sources in 350 characters or less.

 Were you required to submit an A-133 single audit for last fiscal year?

 Is your SAM.gov profile currently active?

 Are you enrolled in ASAP (Automated Standard Application for Payments)?

Enter your project funding request and match. Applicants are encouraged to meet a three to one match for proposed projects. Matching funds may be federal or non-federal, in-kind or cash that has been applied to the proposed project within 2 years of the start date of this proposal.  Letters of intent may be requested from contributing partners before obligating funding.

To provide budget information, you may use the federal form SF 424a for non-construction projects or form SF 424c for construction projects. Please include a budget justification, including calculations for personnel allocation and descriptions of other expenses for all budget categories.  Forms available at: http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/forms/sf-424-family.html#sortby=1

Alternately, you may attach a file indicating how ORBFHP funding money would be spent using an excel spreadsheet. Please itemize costs and rationale for costs with as much detail as possible (e.g. purchase of 100’ bottomless culvert = $22,500; labor for backhoe operation and planting vegetation (100hrs @ $25/hour) = $2,500). Please do not inflate or underestimate costs. Indirect costs cannot exceed 10% unless applicants have an indirect cost agreement established with the federal government. We encourage minimizing indirect costs (10% or less).

 Identify one or more ORBFHP priorities that your project addresses.

 Enter the aquatic species that your project benefits. Be sure to include all applicable

ORBFHP Signature Species (Appendix 1).  Included species must be near enough project to be directly affected.

 Describe project objectives and methods using SMART format (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time bound).

Enter metrics that will be used to measure success for assessment and/or conservation projects: conservation actions taken, number of aquatic populations assessed, total miles of in-stream/riparian habitat assessed, number of aquatic organism passage barriers removed or bypassed, number of acres of upland/wetland habitat assessed, number of miles reopened to fish passage.

 What are the root causes of habitat degradation? Use up to 250 characters to describe the root causes of habitat degradation in the project area and the causes your project will address.

 

Management

 What is your desired start date and anticipated project duration?

 Describe how the project is part of a watershed scale effort in 1,000 characters or less.

 Describe how the project will be monitored in 1,000 characters or less.

You may provide additional information you feel is relevant to your proposal and not covered elsewhere in 1,000 characters or fewer. Provide a map and photos of your project site.

 Please answer the following in fewer than 1,000 characters each:

1. Describe why you feel you and your organization are qualified to successfully complete all aspects of this project.

2. Describe any planned outreach or educational component(s) and partner(s) involved.

3. What methods will you use to promote the project if it is funded?

4. Will the project prevent the spread of invasive species, and if so, please describe how.

5. Describe how the project will use best management practices and/or use most current science/technology.

6. Does the project incorporate strategies that will respond to climate change? You may include additional information that you feel is relevant to your proposal, including planning documents, additional information on project sites, project fact sheets, etc. Please limit uploaded materials to 10 pages total. Links to a website that has additional information are welcome.

 

Partnership Info

Please include existing plans that your project addresses or is integrated with.  Links to websites of partnering organizations are appreciated.

Please send your completed proposal to Donovan Henry (Donovan_Henry@fws.gov) and Collin Moratz (Collin_Moratz@fws.gov).  Please e-mail or call, (618) 997-6869, with any questions.

FY 2018 Brook Trout Conservation Funding Opportunity

Appalachian LCC News -

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture (EBTJV) are jointly requesting project proposals that are focused on Brook Trout conservation actions. Federal funding available under the Service’s National Fish Habitat Action Plan (NFHAP) budget allocation will be used to support top ranked proposals. All proposed projects must be developed in coordination with the appropriate U.S Fish and Wildlife Service Sponsoring Office.

The maximum award amount for an individual project is $50,000. These funds can only be used for on-the-ground habitat conservation and restoration projects and related design and monitoring activities; they may not be used for research projects or acquisitions in fee or easements. Applicants are encouraged to review the Service’s guidelines for the use of NFHAP funds.  All projects must also have a minimum of a 1:1 contribution from other funding sources.  If your project involves removing more than one barrier to Brook Trout movements, a separate application is required for each individual barrier.

To ensure available funding is being directed most effectively, proposed projects must be geared toward meeting the EBTJV’s range-wide habitat goals and objectives.  Project applications will be reviewed and ranked by the EBTJV based on their ability to meet other key factors that can be found in the EBTJV’s 2018 Project Scoring Criteria.

Project application requirements:

2018 Project Application Form

Letter of Support from the State Fisheries Management Agency - Please obtain a letter of support from the appropriate State Fisheries Management Agency for your project.  This letter should be from the individual that represents the state in the EBTJV (i.e., EBTJV State Contact).

Photographs and USFWS Photo Release Form -Photographs in JPEG or TIFF format should be uploaded into your project folder independently of the application.  A photo release form needs to be completed and uploaded for each photo submitted.

Coordination with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Sponsoring Office - Applicants are required to develop their projects in coordination with their local Service Fisheries Office that will sponsor the project in advance of the application deadline. Sponsoring Fisheries Offices must enter the project in the Service’s database for funding consideration.  Additionally, they can provide technical assistance to applicants during project development, the application process, and during project implementation and monitoring.

Applications must be submitted electronically via the EBTJV website in the folder labeled "Add and Upload required materials for your 2018 Application Submission".

The deadline for submitting project applications is 5;00 p.m. Eastern time on September 22, 2017. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Applicants will be notified of their project’s ranking and funding status as that information becomes available. The amount of funding and time of availability is unknown at this time.  All projects that receive Service NFHAP funding are required to provide annual progress reports to the Service and project completion forms, with after project photos, to the EBTJV.

For questions, please contact:

Stephen Perry, Coordinator

Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture

Phone: (603) 528-1371

Email: ebtjv.coordinator@gmail.com

If not for the GCPO LCC, ............

Gulf Coastal Plains & Ozarks LCC News -

“In baseball, you don’t know nothing.” - Yogi Berra If you haven’t heard the news, LCC’s are targeted for elimination in the Trump Administration’s FY18 federal budget, which was submitted to Congress a few weeks ago, and would (theoretically) begin October 1, 2017. From a federal budgeting perspective, it’s like the opening pitch in a 9-inning baseball game, and Congress is up to bat next. Ultimately, Congress has the responsibility of passing a federal budget and submitting it to the President for his signature.

Curve Balls and the Long Arc of U.S. Conservation History

Gulf Coastal Plains & Ozarks LCC News -

"This country has gotten where it is in spite of politics, not by the aid of it. That we have carried as much political bunk as we have and still survived shows we are a super nation." - Will Rogers (1932) Well, the world of conservation was certainly thrown a curve ball on November 8, 2016. The election of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States was unexpected by many people. For those of us in the conservation profession, it raises many questions on what the new President-elect’s priorities will be for our country.

More New Data Galleries on the Conservation Planning Atlas

Gulf Coastal Plains & Ozarks LCC News -

If you somehow missed the more-than-100-dataset Blueprint gallery in Todd’s blog, check it out here. Murrow’s black bear habitat model for AR and LA is up . The upland hardwood assessment gallery (part of the Blueprint) also has some new data layers . The Northern Gulf of Mexico Sentinel Site Cooperative (NGOM SSC) is a partnership focused on sea-level rise and inundation in the northern Gulf of Mexico.  The NGOM SSC gallery contains the Surface Elevation Table (SET) inventory and a new dataset of “continuously operating reference stations” (CORS) for the northern Gulf .

Changes afoot for GCPO Geomatics Staff

Gulf Coastal Plains & Ozarks LCC News -

Just shy of three years ago, I took a bold leap and joined the GCPO LCC team as Geomatics Coordinator.  I can now say without a doubt that it was one of the best decisions of my life.  When I first introduced myself as LCC staff I said “I believe whole-heartedly in the partnership-based vision necessary to address landscape-scale ecological sustainability.”  That sentiment is even stronger today as we’ve made such tremendous progress working toward the first LCC conservation blueprint, and subsequently, the first iteration of the Southeastern Conservation Adaptation Strategy.

Draft Dataset of Known Prairie Patches in the GCPO available for review

Gulf Coastal Plains & Ozarks LCC News -

Introduction: While never a dominant feature in the landscape, natural grassland systems once formed an ecologically cohesive and important “archipelago” or “shifting mosaic” of patches of open grasses and broad-leaved herbaceous flowering plants called forbs, usually on calcareous soils in belted formations, across much of the East and West Gulf Coastal Plains and, more rarely, in parts of the Ozark Highlands and Gulf Coast. About 99% of these landscapes have been converted to other land uses or have transitioned into forested conditions due to fire suppression and ecological succession.

Summer Vacations, and Landscapes Transformed

Gulf Coastal Plains & Ozarks LCC News -

​ I went on Shore, & passed thro the plain passed Several noles to the top of a high artificial Noal from the top of this noal I had an emence , extensive & pleaseing prospect, of the Countrey around, I could See the meandering of the Little River for at least 10 miles winding thro  a meadow of 15 or 20000 acres of high bottom land covered with Grass about 4 1/ 2 feet high, the high lands which rose irregularly, & were toped with Mounds or antent Graves which is to me a Strong evidence of this Countrey haveing been thickly Settled.  Captain William Clark,  July 12, 1804 (excerpt from The Journ

Recalling the GCPO/GCP/GOMA Meetings in Baton Rouge, LA

Gulf Coastal Plains & Ozarks LCC News -

A few takeaways from last month’s GCPO/GCP/GOMA joint meeting: The Tuesday joint sessions on the Gulf and Bottomland Hardwood systems were well-attended, and certainly showed a high level of interest in what’s going on with LCC-associated projects. For the Gulf session, it was an opportunity for us to highlight some of the research that LCCs have been involved with over the last several years, and which have recently come to a conclusion.

Plenty to ruminate on at the Mid-South Prairie Symposium

Gulf Coastal Plains & Ozarks LCC News -

A couple of weeks ago I was able to attend the  Mid-South Prairie Symposium  at Austin Peay State University (APSU) in Clarksville, Tennessee. The symposium was organized by Dwayne Estes, professor of APSU’s Center of Excellence for Field Biology at APSU and botanical explorer for the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT). Dr. Estes’ research interests include biogeography, threatened and endangered species, and plant communities of Tennessee and neighboring states. Dr.

Creating a Shared Vision in the GCPO LCC

Gulf Coastal Plains & Ozarks LCC News -

Few, if any, forces in human affairs are as powerful as shared vision.  Peter Senge   Next month, the GCPO and Gulf Coast Prairie LCCs will be convening in Baton Rouge, LA, to engage in Steering Committee discussions.  It’s our annual spring/summer retreat, where we really dig into the most important questions and issues facing the GCPO partnership, and I’m looking forward to getting together once again with our Steering Committee and other partners.  This year, we'll be meeting in conjunction with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance’s All-Hands Meeting, which will provide our Steering Committee an ex

Land Trusts: Bringing Landscape-Scale Resources to Local Communities

Appalachian LCC News -

“Just because we all wear tan shirts, doesn’t mean we all play in the same sand box,” said Rick Huffines, Executive Director of the Tennessee River Gorge Trust (TRGT). “It’s all about conservation work, but each entity has their own mission and way of doing business.”

For land trusts such as the TRGT that means working with and addressing the needs of the communities they serve. While other agencies rely on and interact with their local communities, Huffines explains “(Land Trusts) live and die by the community. Folks don’t have to support what we do; folks choose to support what we do.”

That sentiment is carried by land trusts throughout the Appalachians. Kelly Watkinson, now with the Land Trust Alliance and former Executive Director of the Cacapon and Lost Rivers Land Trust in West Virginia, shared Huffines community-driven philosophy, “Our primary focus is working with private land owners to protect important resources in the watershed. We’re driven by the local land owners and their strong connection to the resources of the area.”

The TRGT near Chattanooga, Tennessee is a perfect example of the unique role land trusts play in local conservation. The Trust was formed in 1981, not by a government mandate but from a dinner party at a Chattanooga resident’s home where she and her guests expressed concern about the development on the mountains bordering Chattanooga. The residents decided the 27,000-acre gorge was worth protecting and from there the Trust was born to ensure the land would remain as a healthy and productive resource for the community.

To this day, land trusts are still operated by and for the communities they serve—keeping community involvement a central theme in their efforts. The territory of focus for the Cacapon and Lost Rivers Land Trust encompasses three wildlife management areas, two state parks, and cushions up against both the Washington and Jefferson national forests—all offering ample opportunities for outdoor recreation. Within five miles of the bustling city of Chattanooga, the TRGT encourages residents to take advantage of the Gorge’s immense beauty and many recreational opportunities, offering camping, kayaking, cycling, hiking, and much more.

Many of these recreational opportunities can also offer a double purpose. For example, a new bird observatory at the TRGT encourages birding and keeps track of what birds’ visitors can expect to see. It also allows the Trust to monitor populations as they come through the Gorge. Since birds are an indicator species, monitoring their populations over time can reveal vital information about the unique ecosystems within the Gorge and their health.

The information gathered by land trusts is vital, not just to the immediate territory of land trusts, but to the landscape on a larger level. As Watkinson puts it, “It’s essential to think about how our lands fits within the larger region. If we’re not seeing that, we’re not seeing the bigger picture.”

That’s where a partnership like the Appalachian Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) comes in. It brings together a diverse coalition of scientists and resource managers from federal, state, NGOs, universities, and tribes to harness expertise, creativity, and passion to work at a larger scale and collectively tackle long-term conservation challenges.

Work on a landscape scale can mean a number of things, but the main purpose is to create a network of people that share data and information, technology and tools, and lessons learned along the way to enhance conservation collaboration and make a greater impact on the landscape. As Huffines puts it, “It’s not just people working in silos. If someone needs something, needs assistance, we should be coming together to help each other out.”

Recently Huffines and the Trust staff hosted a workshop with their partners and Appalachian LCC staff in the hopes of spreading this landscape conservation philosophy to neighboring organizations. The workshop familiarized participants with the Appalachian LCC; its mission, recent activities and newly developed resources available to partners to improve their conservation planning and management efforts. The workshop provided a wealth of regional information, provided a larger context to the local conservation taking place, and maybe more importantly brought neighboring land trusts in Tennessee together in the same room to talk about the challenges and issues they are dealing with.

“I worked for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service back in 2009 when we started talking about LCCs and I realized that what we hoped for back then was finally coming to fruition,” said Huffines. “I was just overwhelmed to see how far the LCC had advanced and felt there was a need to share my excitement with others.”

The Appalachians are a big place with many incredibly unique ecosystems dotted across the landscape, each one worth protecting. There is no simple solution to how to achieve that, especially in a way where protected lands are connected to each other so wildlife can migrate and adjust to changing conditions. But we do know that one group cannot accomplish it alone. When neighboring organizations band together it lightens the work load for everyone.

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