Plenary Session Theme:
Advancing Wildlife Conservation through Integration and Alignment in Planning
- Thursday, 2-5pm
With the pace of environmental, social, and global change, the scale of our conservation work must link the local site to the project to the watershed and larger regional and statewide landscapes. We have a few examples of large-scale conservation planning that took a big upfront investment but are now starting to pay off dividends for resources such as the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan and the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan. New efforts such as Regional Advanced Mitigation Planning show great promise. Local and regional land trusts are making great strides to work with farmers, ranchers, rural residents and communities to provide for sustainable agriculture through maintaining working open lands and areas that provide for conservation, recreation, and sustainable development. Government agencies are realizing the need to cooperate and collaborate to share and stretch limited resources. The result of integrated and aligned landscape conservation planning is that local, state and federal government agencies and representatives, scientists and researchers, non-governmental organizations, interest groups, and the public are talking and working to find common solutions. This will benefit us all by forcing us to tackle difficult, but ever critical questions of how to best balance competing interests while providing for ecological, social, and economic sustainability for people and resources. We hope to set the stage to engage our thinking and inspire us to work together to meet a challenge of the California Biodiversity Council (http://biodiversity.ca.gov) that in regards to conservation planning, we need to “Go Big or Go Home”.
Confirmed Plenary Speakers:
|Speaker||Position||Title of Presentation|
|Jim Kenna||California State Director for BLM and Co-Chair of the CA Biodiversity Council||California Biodiversity Council: The Time is Right to Go Big or Go Home|
|Denny Grossman||Senior Advisor for Environmental Science and Policy, CA Strategic Growth Council||Implementing an Integrated Regional Planning Program in California|
|Debra Schlafmann||LCC Coordinator, CA Landscape Conservation Cooperative||Landscape Conservation Cooperatives: Bridging Science and Management|
|Barnie Gyant||Deputy Regional Forester, USDA Forest Service||Ecological Restoration: The Balance of Planning Versus Need for Action|
|Bob Neale||Stewardship Director, Sonoma Land Trust||Land Trusts: Building Community Support for Landscape Conservation|
|Jim Branham||Executive Director, Sierra Nevada Conservancy||Putting It Together: Tackling Challenges, Capturing Opportunities and Enjoying Successes|
Jim Kenna, California State Director for BLM and Co-Chair of the CA Biodiversity Council
California Biodiversity Council: The Time is Right to Go Big or Go Home
The California Biodiversity Council (CBC) was formed in 1991 to improve coordination and cooperation between the various resource management and environmental protection organizations at federal, state, and local levels. Strengthening ties between local communities and governments has been a focus of the Council by way of promoting strong local leadership and encouraging comprehensive solutions to regional issues. The CBC currently has 42 members.
Drawing from experiences spanning decades, as well as from current examples in California, this talk is geared for those who work on public policy, planning and operations at all levels of government. It addresses why some issues and problems require thinking and acting at the landscape scale. It also addresses why now is the time to change some of the patterns and tendencies that prevent working together. With these ideas as foundation, the talk also explores what it means, and doesn’t mean, to work effectively at large scales, and how the necessary partnerships can be created. In support of these efforts, the CBC passed a resolution in 2013 on Strengthening Agency Alignment for Natural Resource Conservation.
Denny Grossman, Senior Advisor for Environmental Science and Policy, CA Strategic Growth Council
Implementing an Integrated Regional Planning Program in California
On October 6 of this year, the California Strategic Growth Council resolved to “coordinate state agencies for the development and implementation of an Integrated Regional Planning approach to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of regional development and natural resource conservation”. The California Biodiversity Council subsequently passed a resolution to align its member agencies to support the regional conservation assessment and planning components of this Integrated Regional Planning initiative.
This Integrated Regional Planning program is committed to envisioning and managing for a sustainable balance between conservation and development at a regional scale. This process will require a regional assessment of conservation goals to provide the context for prioritization of resource management strategies and implementation of important development initiatives. The integration of these conservation and development frameworks will also focus project mitigation resources to advance regional conservation goals through targeted stewardship, restoration and acquisition programs.
This presentation will provide an overview of the emerging Integrated Regional Planning initiative in CA, and identify next steps for program implementation.
Debra Schlafmann, LCC Coordinator, CA Landscape Conservation Cooperative
Landscape Conservation Cooperatives: Bridging Science and Management
The conservation challenges of the 21st Century are more complex than ever before. Widespread threats such as drought, climate change and habitat fragmentation are too large for any single organization to meet alone and challenge our ability to conserve wildlife for the future. It will take a combined effort involving many public and private organizations to deal with the landscape-scale issues facing us all. Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) provide a forum for States, Tribes, Federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, universities and other groups to work together in a new way. LCCs are applied conservation science partnerships with two main functions. The first is to provide the science and technical expertise needed to support conservation planning at landscape scales – beyond the reach or resources of any one organization. The second function of LCCs is to promote collaboration among their members in defining shared conservation goals. With these goals in mind, partners can identify where and how they will take action, within their own authorities and organizational priorities, to best contribute to the larger conservation effort. LCCs help partners to see how their activities can “fit” with those of other partners to achieve a bigger and more lasting impact. I will be providing some examples of how LCCs have brought a new level of scientific capability to its conservation partners and the benefits of partner-led landscape-scale conservation plans and strategies. Through the identification of shared priorities, coordination of activities, and leveraging of resources among our conservation partners, together we can create landscapes capable of supporting self-sustaining fish and wildlife populations for current and future generations.
Barnie Gyant, Deputy Regional Forester, USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Region
Ecological Restoration: The Balance of Planning Versus Need for Action
Public land management agencies have an interesting challenge: To manage public trust resources for present and future generations. Considering just federal and state agencies, a significant portion of the Western Section area is managed for public trust values. For the Forest Service, this means managing roughly 20 million acres in California and 6.3 million acres in Nevada. These lands serve as headwaters for much of the water used for domestic, industrial and agricultural uses; provide a rich suite of outdoor recreation opportunities and other uses; and provide important habitat for a variety of wildlife species, including many threatened and endangered species.
One of the key roles of land management agencies today can be described as finding balance. We need to balance providing habitat for species today with managing lands and activities to provide for habitat into the future. This is not easy in a dynamic environment where much of the landscape is in need of ecological restoration to improve resilience and sustainability. I will discuss some of the many challenges in seeking this balance from working with regulatory agency partners to conservation-focused stakeholders and will describe some collaboration successes. I will focus on how the Forest Service is changing both its thinking as well as its practices to move more efficiently towards our overall goal of having resilient forests and wildlands that serve the conservation needs of society.
Bob Neale, Stewardship Director, Sonoma Land Trust
Land Trusts: Building Community Support for Landscape Conservation
Our broader conservation goals cannot be achieved solely on public lands or through regulatory efforts. Conservation efforts on private lands, with private landowners and local communities, are key to achieving landscape level success. Private, nonprofit land trusts have close ties with landowners and community. Thus, we play a key role by implementing large, regional planning efforts at the local level, because of our relationships and our work with local landowners, the community, and conservation funders. We rely on up-to-date scientific information to inform our planning, acquisitions, and conservation land management. In addition, we play a key educational role by translating current scientific thought into language and ideas that are easier for the lay person to understand through our media communications and our efforts to take the community and decision makers to see conservation projects first hand. Today, I will describe three key projects: The Jenner Headlands Project, The Sears Point Restoration Project, and the Sonoma Valley Wildlife Corridor Project; demonstrating how land trusts can work with the community to build support for landscape conservation, incorporating and communicating the concepts of ecological enhancement on working lands, wildlife permeability, and climate change adaptation strategies. I will conclude with ideas and challenges on how to relate our conservation stories to the rapidly changing demographics of California.
Jim Branham, Executive Director, Sierra Nevada Conservancy
Putting It Together: Tackling Challenges, Capturing Opportunities and Enjoying Successes
Using collaborative processes to develop consensus (not necessarily unanimity) on desired outcomes and needed actions is a critical first step in integrating planning efforts. Contentious issues are best addressed by identifying areas of agreement, developing action plans to address those areas and use the trust developed during the process to address more difficult issues. Agencies and interested parties need to commit to this process in order for it to be successful and for organizational silos to be broken down.
The Sierra Nevada Conservancy has been actively involved in a variety of collaborative efforts addressing forest/habitat issues, including the Amador-Calaveras Consensus Group and Rim Fire restoration efforts. While these efforts have shown some level of success, converting consensus into action continues to prove challenging.