Evaluating the Landscape
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has tapped NatureServe to help assess its multiple competing land-use priorities by mapping and evaluating conditions in the Mojave and Central Basins ecoregions in the southwest and in the Seward Peninsula ecoregion in western Alaska.
NatureServe is compiling information from a broad variety of national, state, and local sources on topics like ecosystems and wildlife habitats and corridors to assess potential changes from a variety of development and climate-change agents over the next 50 years. BLM will use these Rapid Ecological Assessments (REAs) to establish a scientific baseline for making strategic decisions on land-use and natural resource conservation and gauging the effectiveness of future management actions. The REAs will also enable land managers to identify 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.
All three projects build on the network’s 35 years of providing scientifically credible conservation information and expertise. NatureServe‘s “dream team” includes the natural heritage programs from Arizona, California, Utah, Nevada, and Alaska, and our partners Sound Science, California Academy of Sciences, and the University of Alaska.
“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. 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.