Eastern Tallgrass Prairie and Big Rivers Landscape Conservation

Friday, October 24, 2014: 2:05 PM
Polaris A (Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center)
Glen Salmon , Eastern Tallgrass Prairie & Big Rivers LCC, Bloomington, IN
The Eastern Tallgrass Prairie and Big Rivers Landscape Conservation Cooperative (ETPBR LCC) and six other Mississippi Basin LCCs are facing the large-scale and long-term challenges to combine natural resource conservation and water quality practices that will sustain people and wildlife across the nation’s heartland. Highly productive soils support competing economic and social interests including agricultural crops, grazing, manufacturing, renewable energy, growing metropolises and struggling small towns—and diverse natural resources. This midsection of several continental rivers shoulders the burden of flood control, water supply, navigation and other ecosystem services from the Midwest to the Gulf of Mexico. Climate change creates an uncertain future for a complex interaction of factors in this working landscape that affect both human use and wildlife habitat, including  impacts on water availability, migration routes, agricultural crop selection, quality of grazing lands, energy development,  timing of pollination, and other ecosystem functions. The LCC operates with a “collective impact” approach that consists of a common agenda, shared measurement, mutually reinforcing activities, continuous communication, and a backbone organization. Four Technical Advisory Groups (TAGs) and two Networks (Human Dimensions and Communications) convene researchers, managers and outreach specialists to identify change agents who can elevate front-line concerns for creative approaches at key leverage points. The LCC is currently focused on improving prairie reconstruction techniques, identifying wildlife conservation practices that reduce Gulf hypoxia, mapping out floodplain connectivity opportunities, and connecting urban conservation programs across the region.