New York Natural Heritage Program Named Top in Nation
NatureServe has named the New York Natural Heritage Program as the 2003 Outstanding Natural Heritage Program in the NatureServe Network. The New York Natural Heritage Program was selected for special recognition from among 74 similar programs that comprise an international network working across the United States, Canada, and Latin America.
"The New York Natural Heritage Program is doing innovative research that brings the highest-quality science to bear on important conservation issues," said Mark Schaefer, President and CEO of NatureServe. "They also are sharing their innovations with others in our network, which influences conservation even beyond New York's borders."
In singling out the New York Natural Heritage Program as the nation's most outstanding, Schaefer cited a long list of exceptional achievements, including:
- Completing a comprehensive six-year assessment of New York's state parks that has identified more than 1,000 occurrences of sensitive species and habitats;
- Developing in-depth maps and conservation guides for land-use planning in the lower Hudson River Valley;
- Producing a detailed blueprint for conservation of the 1,200-square mile Lake Erie Gorges region in western New York;
- Designing and creating a hand-held tool and database for scientists to collect data in the field, and sharing this software for free with fellow natural heritage programs throughout North America;
- Developing a popular web-based botanical atlas of New York in partnership with the New York Flora Association and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden;
- Working in a spirit of partnership with The Nature Conservancy, state agencies, local governments, the scientific and academic community, and dozens of other partners to help conserve New York's most important natural areas.
The New York Natural Heritage Program is a partnership between the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and The Nature Conservancy. The program's 21-person staff includes ecologists, botanists, zoologists, and information management specialists. Established in 1985, the program is housed within the DEC's Division of Fish, Wildlife, & Marine Resources.
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