This appendix describes other similar and related programs across the federal government, in less detail than in Chapter 5. Because of the number of existing programs, this review should not be considered comprehensive of all programs. Rather, the programs included here are programs the committee learned about during its analysis and are those that were commonly cited as potentially overlapping with the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) during the committee’s information-gathering efforts.
Recognizing the importance of responding to a range of stressors including climate change in planning efforts at the sub-national scale (see Chapter 2), several federal agencies have created enterprises that serve a distinct set of stakeholders with information relevant to decision making in a changing world. While the missions of these enterprises emphasize climate to varying degrees, their processes for setting and achieving goals are quite different, as are their stakeholders, history, and institutional context. These enterprises share two important characteristics: an emphasis on regional (multistate) scale, and a convening function, by which the resource management agency is directed to work on the ground with regional partners.
The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) is a Cabinet-level agency comprising nine technical bureaus: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, National Park Service (NPS), Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).1 According to its mission statement, DOI “protects and manages the Nation’s natural resources and cultural heritage; provides scientific and other information about those resources; and honors its trust responsibilities or special commitments to American Indians, Alaska Natives, and affiliated island communities.”2 LCCs and other similar programs, including those listed in Table 5.1, are examples of DOI’s efforts to achieve this mission. Partnerships in particular have been a priority across DOI, and are credited with helping the Department achieve its mission and landscape-level conservation in particular.3
The FWS was created in 1940 during a reorganization of existing functions within DOI. The FWS today is a species and land management agency and a resource protection agency. Though the FWS directly manages 150 million acres through the National Wildlife Refuge System, the majority of freshwater fish and wildlife habitats occur on lands managed by other federal and state agencies or private landowners. Accordingly, the FWS has long recognized the need to partner with others to achieve conservation goals. Indeed, the agency’s mission directly emphasizes partnerships (“Work with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.”). The FWS has multiple ongoing programs organized across a variety of levels (national, regional, and state; see below).
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE SCALING UP
The NPS has particular expertise in cultural landscapes that can encompass a broad range of resources from designed landscapes, to large naturalistic parks, to living landscapes, and to landscapes that represent intangible values. These landscapes may be valued for the interaction of humans and their environment, for traditional cultural importance, for the traces of the past, and for the benefits that place may provide for the people of today. As documented in the recent publication Scaling Up: Collaborative Approaches to Large Landscape Conservation,4 the NPS has a long history of working outside of traditional park boundaries with partnership parks, long-distance trails, and scenic river corridors. In
response to the agency’s strategic plan and DOI interest, the NPS has launched a special initiative around “Scaling Up,” which includes a tool kit and a mapping program, NPScape.5
NPS’s Scaling Up program is significantly different from the LCCs’. The work of Scaling Up is largely focused on preserving connectivity and access in the landscapes that contain national parks and protected areas. The work also more directly addresses cultural resources and cultural landscapes as part of the desired outcomes. Because of the focus on working to conserve resources on the ground through partnership networks, there is an emphasis on communications, forming a community of practice, and information sharing.
Although climate change is specifically addressed in the NPS’s 2011 Call to Action (NPS, 2011)—for example, “the NPS is to be a leader in climate change adaptation in protected areas” (Action #21)—the link between research on climate change impacts and specific NPS landscape conservation strategies is not specifically addressed. For example, it is not referenced in the Chesapeake Bay Partnership, and climate change data were not referenced in the three available NPS examples.6
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT LANDSCAPE APPROACH
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) administers 245 million acres of public land, more than any other federal agency, under a multiple-use mandate that includes extractive uses (e.g., oil and gas exploration, grazing, and timber harvests), recreation, and protection of natural, cultural, and historical resources. Most of the BLM-administered lands are located in the western states including Alaska.
The BLM Landscape Approach, which was designed to address the reality that public lands are influenced by challenges that transcend management boundaries, has been shaped by the experiences of scientists, land managers, and stakeholders who have sought to understand and address landscape-scale issues.7 The approach is based around five components: (1) rapid ecoregional assessments (REA; synthesis of resource conditions and trends within a designated ecoregion), (2) ecoregional direction (identification of key management priorities for public lands within an ecoregion based on the REA and interactions with partners and stakeholders), (3) field implementation (adapting existing plans as needed and implementing management actions to achieve priorities), (4) monitoring for adaptive management (efforts are under way to increase the BLM’s capability to monitor outcomes of management actions), and (5) science integration (integrating relevant science to inform management decisions, specifically citing the Climate Science Centers [CSCs] as providing information relevant to climate change).
The BLM defines landscapes as “large, connected geographical regions that have similar environmental characteristics.”8 The Landscape Approach encourages managers to consider the condition of natural resources and potential influences not only within their administrative unit but also within the context of the surrounding landscape with the goal of better understanding important ecological values and services as well as patterns of ecological change. The Landscape Approach is meant to provide a foundation for engagement with landowners and stakeholders and to inform resource management decisions made by field offices at the local level (field offices are an administrative unit with assigned jurisdictional boundaries where most management decisions are made).
The BLM indicates that the Landscape Approach supports the direction provided by DOI Secretarial Order No. 3289 (the same order that created the LCCs and CSCs) to more fully consider climate change in planning and decision making. While the concepts and experiences underlying this approach have developed over several years, the Landscape Approach program is relatively new (formalized in 2012).9
The BLM appears to view the LCCs as providing a mechanism to engage with important partners and stakeholders to implement their Landscape Approach. The BLM emphasizes the importance of partnerships to accomplish landscape-level management and references the national network of LCCs as DOI’s effort to develop these partnerships.10
NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION REGIONAL COLLABORATION
The vision for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) Regional Collaboration initiative is to provide “integrated services meeting the evolving demands of regional stakeholders.” The collaboration represents the entire United States in eight regions and is staffed by NOAA employees and affiliates who promote coordination of the agency’s regional capabilities and assets. Collaboration teams provide a systematic approach to internal coordination as well as external engagement. The Regional Collaboration Network promotes relationships, fosters communication around NOAA products and services, builds capacity for integrated products and services,
5 NPScape, based on the NPS inventory monitoring program network, was developed as an assessment tool for managers of protected areas. It does not specifically address climate change although the data sets could be used for this purpose.
synthesizes regional trends, and recommends integrated solutions by engaging regional NOAA partners, stakeholders, and customers. Ultimately, regional team leaders bridge NOAA headquarters and its regional leadership, as well as provide a more regional context for integrative components of administration-wide messages. The Collaboration is guided by strategy based on environmental changes, performance results, prior-year performance, and administration priorities.11
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Regional Climate Hubs
The audience for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Regional Climate Hubs (referred to herein as Climate Hubs) is almost exclusively private landowners (e.g., farmers, private forest owners, and ranchers).12 The objective of the Climate Hubs program is primarily to “address risk management strategies on a regional basis, aiming to translate science and research, through extension and outreach, into actionable adaptation and mitigation practices for farmers, ranchers and forest landowners.”13 Moreover, the Climate Hubs program is nascent and small, with very little dedicated funding or staff. As such, the Climate Hubs program is unlike the LCC program in focus, audience, activities, and governance.
Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program
The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is an agency within the USDA that manages and protects 154 national forests and 20 grasslands that together total more than 192 million acres of public lands.14 In 2009, through Title IV of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, Congress established the USDA Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP) to encourage the restoration of priority forest landscapes through collaboration and coordination with landowners. It also aims to encourage sustainability (ecological, economic, and social); leverage resources; reduce wildfire management costs; demonstrate the effectiveness of various restoration techniques; and encourage the use of restoration byproducts to offset the costs, benefit local communities, and improve forest health.15
The CFLRP selects and funds up to 10 restoration projects each year; however, the funding may only be used on National Forest System lands and may not cover planning costs.16 To be eligible, projects must “have a landscape strategy, identify treatments for a ten-year period, be comprised primarily of National Forest System lands, reduce risk of uncharacteristic wildfire, reduce hazardous fuels, and encourage old growth.”17 They also must include a calculation of the cost savings.18 Because the CFLRP is intended primarily to fund restoration projects and to do so primarily on National Forest System lands, it differs significantly from the LCCs in both mission and geographic scope.
Natural Resources Conservation Service Landscape Conservation Initiatives
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is an agency within the USDA whose mission it is to “provide resources to farmers and landowners to aid them with conservation.”19 Under the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (“2008 Farm Bill”),20 the NRCS established landscape conservation initiatives. Through these initiatives, the NRCS strives to enhance locally driven and voluntary efforts in order to better address regional and national conservation issues. The initiatives extend beyond geopolitical boundaries and employ a science-based approach. Each landscape conservation initiative is focused on water quality and quantity, priority wildlife species, or ecosystems.21 The NRCS landscape conservation initiatives are distinct from the LCCs in that their target audience is typically private landowners, and they are designed to support farmers, ranchers, and foresters in their efforts to simultaneously improve the environment and maintain a robust agricultural business. Also, while they are aimed at a regional scale, the NRCS initiatives are focused on particular resources and some overlap with one another geographically. Unlike the LCCs, the initiatives do not cover the entire United States.22
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE READINESS AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION INTEGRATION PROGRAM
The Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration program within the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) aims to remove or avoid land-use conflicts near military installations. The purpose of this program is to ensure that military training, testing, and operations are not restricted or limited. An important aspect of this program is the use of buffer partnerships among the military services, conserva-
20 Pub. L. No. 110-234, 122 Stat. 923 (2008).
tion groups, and state and local governments, which acquire land and easements to preserve compatible uses and habitats near installations.23 The program “also supports large landscape partnerships that advance cross-boundary solutions and link military readiness, conservation, and communities with federal and state partners through a common, collaborative framework.”24 With a focus on maintaining military operations, and geographic scope of the areas around military installations, the Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration program is unlike the LCCs.
OTHER U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE PROGRAMS
There are several potential areas of overlap between LCCs and other existing FWS programs whose purposes, broadly speaking, involve the development of applied science for conservation and/or convening partners. After reading about these programs, the committee determined that they were sufficiently different from the LCC program in scope, geographic scale, governance, topical focus, etc., that they do not overlap with the LCC program and did not merit further discussion:
- Conservation Planning Assistance Program,25
- Coastal Program,26
- National Wetlands Inventory,27
- Transportation Planning,28
- National Fish Hatchery System Science and Technology Program,29
- Wildlife Without Borders,30
- Aquatic Invasive Species Program,31
- Migratory Bird Program,32 and
- Sport Fishing and Partnership Council.33