Habitat-based Planning for Aquatic Conservation in the Gulf Coastal Plains and Ozarks Landscape Conservation Cooperative

, David_Jones-Farrand@fws.gov | Author(s): Todd Jones-Farrand, Yvonne Allen, Jacob LaFontaine

Conservation of fish and wildlife resources in the 21 century must overcome at least two major hurdles. The first is the mismatch between species ranges and administrative boundaries. Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) help overcome this obstacle by bringing together federal and state agencies with non-governmental organizations to address conservation problems at population-relevant scales. The second hurdle is developing adaptation strategies to manage species in the face of uncertain future conditions. In the Gulf Coastal Plains and Ozarks (GCPO) LCC, we are working to provide baseline habitat assessments and projections of habitat impacts due to climate, urbanization, sea-level rise and other drivers. Further, we are evaluating the likely impacts of those changes on the sustainability of species populations. This presentation will review the GCPO LCC’s aquatic habitat framework, assessment of baseline conditions, and projections of future change. We will highlight projects producing new decision support tools, including our approach to characterize flow conditions and simulate potential flow conditions under climate and land use change scenarios. Outputs of these models and assessments provide foundational data sets for estimating how risks to aquatic populations vary across the GCPO LCC region, as well as to identify and evaluate strategies to address those risks.