- Acting Director of Marketing and Development
NatureServe Secures $1.4 Million Agreement with BLM to Conduct Region–Wide Evaluation of Two Western Landscapes
Arlington, Va (July 9, 2010)—The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has awarded NatureServe with two contracts to map and evaluate conditions for important natural resources across 176,000 square miles of the Mojave Desert and the Great Basin. Agency land managers will use the information that NatureServe and its team will develop to clarify strategies and priorities for land management and natural resource conservation on BLM lands in parts of Nevada, Utah, California, Idaho, and Arizona.
The two Rapid Ecoregional Assessments (REAs) of the Mojave Basin and Range and Central Great Basin and Range ecoregions will streamline the BLM’s use of existing landscape-scale information within its decision-making processes. By identifying areas of high conservation significance and the agents of change to these areas, REAs enable land managers to make strategic decisions on land use and natural resource conservation.
“Public lands are being affected by widespread environmental challenges that transcend management boundaries. These challenges include increasing wildfire, spreading weeds and insect outbreaks, and pervasive impacts from climate change and human uses,” said Bob Abbey, the BLM’s Director. “The assessments we’re preparing will help land managers understand these challenges and design responses that can conserve treasured landscapes, vital wildlife habitats, and valued recreation opportunities.”
In producing the two REAs, NatureServe will build on 35 years of experience providing scientifically credible conservation information and expertise with the member programs of its network. NatureServe will lead a stellar team of collaborators for this effort that includes:
- Nevada Natural Heritage Program
- Arizona Heritage Data Management System
- Utah Conservation Data Center
- California Department of Fish and Game, Biogeographic Data Branch
- Sound Science
- California Academy of Sciences
- Colorado State University, Natural Resource Ecology Lab
- National Center for Conservation Science and Policy
“Western landscapes represent the frontier spirit of America. At the same time, they hold vast natural resources that drive the American economy,” said Mary Klein, president and CEO of NatureServe. “I am pleased to have our extraordinary team work with BLM to gauge the ecological pulse of these iconic landscapes while guiding conservation, development, and recreation in the region.”
Over the next 18 months, the NatureServe team will assemble, synthesize, and integrate existing information about native species and ecosystems, aquatic and terrestrial resources, and environmental change agents in the Mojave Basin and Range and Central Great Basin and Range ecoregions. NatureServe’s Western Regional Office in Boulder, Colo., will direct the effort under the leadership of Patrick Crist, Director of Conservation Planning and Ecosystem Management, and Pat Comer, Chief Ecologist.
The REAs will compile ecoregional information on topics like important wildlife habitats and corridors and gauge the potential risks they face from land-use trends and other environmental changes. The assessments will also assist in identifying areas where development of energy resources could minimize land-use conflict-information that could, for instance, guide the development of wind and solar energy resources. The BLM intends to use the REAs to establish a scientific baseline for gauging the effectiveness of future management actions.