Landscape Conservation Cooperatives
Pursuing and maintaining collaborative partnerships is a mainstay of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW’s) climate change adaptation strategy. Bringing together representatives from multiple agencies and organizations is vital to the creation of a collective vision for responding to climate change impacts across the state, especially those related to biodiversity. To ensure that the best available science and collaborative approaches are used in management and restoration activities, it is necessary to engage in partnerships that allow for the leveraging of resources and expertise of multiple entities. To that end, the CDFW has taken an active role working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and other partners to support the development of Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) in California.
LCCs are science-management partnerships developed to support collaborative, adaptive, and science-based conservation efforts across the United States. Facilitated by the Department of the Interior and the USFWS, the LCCs focus on supporting conservation at broad spatial scales by enhancing communication and education among all partners and the public on important conservation challenges such as climate change, habitat fragmentation, invasive species, and water scarcity. Specific goals vary by LCC, but many include objectives related to collaboration, outreach, and science development and delivery to inform natural resource management. The LCCs, 22 total, work in conjunction with regional Climate Science Centers and academic institutions to provide tools to support science-based conservation planning and information sharing, and to prevent duplication of research efforts. By engaging federal and state agencies, tribal and local governments, and non-governmental organizations across broad landscapes, LCCs present a unique opportunity for coordinated landscape-scale efforts that transcend political and jurisdictional boundaries.
Landscape Conservation Cooperatives in California
California is home to four different Landscape Conservation Cooperatives including the California LCC, Desert LCC, Great Basin LCC, and the North Pacific LCC. The CDFW participates on the steering committees of each of these LCCs in order to support their missions and remain engaged in their development. Through data management and science working groups, many LCCs are already working to assimilate the vast amount of existing information on conservation and climate change research, tools, and case studies to serve as a resource for end-users.
CDFW-California LCC Partner on Vulnerability Assessment
The CDFW is currently implementing a state-wide project funded by the California LCC to assess the vulnerability of rare plants in California to climate change. The project, scheduled to be completed in early 2012, will support CDFW’s efforts to prioritize actions in the face of a changing climate, and will contribute knowledge to the conservation efforts of other organizations as well. In fact, this assessment is one of five vulnerability assessments currently taking place in California that are supported by various LCCs. In addition to directly supporting science development, LCCs are taking steps to deliver science to planners, managers, and the public. For example, CDFW recently partnered with the California LCC and other partners to develop and facilitate a workshop to disseminate information on downscaled climate science and examples of how to use downscaled climate models to inform management actions.
CDFW-LCC Partnerships Promotes Coordination to Address Climate Change
By supporting landscape-scale conservation efforts, and by providing resources to support the creation and dissemination of tools, work done by the LCCs with partners like CDFW will result in meaningful and coordinated conservation planning. LCCs, through the participation of CDFW and many other organizations, also provide unique opportunities to leverage funds and resources to achieve goals that may not otherwise be achievable by any one organization acting alone. As a result, the LCCs and its partners are fostering coordination on a scale that is necessary for successfully adapting to the conservation challenges associated with climate change. To continue creating these opportunities for collaboration in the future, the CDFW has designated an employee who is jointly supported by the USFWS and the CDFW to engage in and communicate with each LCC in California. As a liaison between LCCs and the CDFW, this position ensures that CDFW and LCC staff maintain an awareness of each organization’s projects and plans. As a result, the CDFW can seek opportunities to utilize LCC products, and the LCCs can remain informed of state research and management-related science needs. CDFW highly regards its relationship with these LCCs and will continue to engage in and support collaborative partnerships in the future.
For more information on Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, please visit www.fws.gov/science/shc/lcc.html