The Gulf Coastal Plains and Ozarks Landscape Conservation Cooperative is part of a network of 22 cooperatives established by the Dept. of Interior in 2010. LCCs work to better integrate science and management to address climate change and other landscape scale issues.
The GCPO LCC functions as a self-directed partnership among federal, state, university, and non-governmental organizations who are collaboratively seeking to understand and improve conservation action at the very large, or landscape, scale.
The mission of the GCPO LCC is
- define a shared vision for sustainable natural and cultural resources in the face of a changing climate and other threats;
- design strategies to achieve that vision;
- and deliver results on the ground through leadership, partnerships, contributed resources, evaluation and refinement over time.
Our vision of success is to ensure natural and cultural landscapes capable of sustaining healthy ecosystems, clean water, fish, wildlife, and human communities in the 180-million- acre Gulf Coastal Plains & Ozarks region through the 21st century.
We have clear organizational structures, as shown in the diagram below, with defined roles and the responsibility to maintain communication and interaction among them.
A full time staff supports efforts to achieve GCPO LCC goals. The GCPO LCC Steering Committee directs staff activities and disseminates LCC information and tools to the larger conservation science and resource management community. Membership within the Steering Committee, Partnership Advisory Council, staff, and working groups is drawn from that larger conservation community. The people serving in various parts of the LCC organization constitute the ties that link these groups together, along with communications support.
The Steering Committee consists of representatives from 22 organizations, including federal and state resource agencies, universities, and national and regional conservation organizations. The Steering Committee’s function is to provide overall guidance and direction to the Cooperative. In addition, each member
- represents his or her organization’s interests in achieving the mission of the Cooperative;
- facilitates active participation from his or her organization in the Cooperative;
- considers the recommendations of the Partnership Advisory Council and Adaptation Science Management Team in decision-making.
The GCPO LCC Partnership Advisory Council
The PAC consists of 9 pre-existing conservation partnerships with biological planning responsibilities within the GCPO geography (such as joint ventures, fish habitat partnerships). The Council serves as a forum to engage these partnerships and facilitate the sharing of information, specifically:
- formal collaboration on projects of mutual interest;
- sharing resources and assets to meet mutual goals and objectives; and
- making recommendations on priority projects, strategies, and initiatives for the collective GCPO LCC conservation community.
Adaptation Science Management Team
The ASMT brings together ~40 scientists and managers from across the Gulf Coastal Plains and Ozarks to develop a shared vision of how to integrate priorities across resource perspectives and incorporate future landscape change into current conservation planning. The goal is to assure that the LCC produces not just good science but the right science and projects needed to succeed in our mission. The ASMT’s first technical work product is the GCPO LCC Science Agenda, the first iteration of which will be completed in spring 2013. The Science Agenda identifies important knowledge gaps in our understanding of GCPO LCC ecosystems and species, which will in turn drive the priorities in the LCC’s first research Request for Proposals to be funded by the LCC.
Conservation Science Team
The Conservation Science Team currently consists of 11 dedicated or affiliated staff who work in locations that span from coastal Louisiana, through Mississippi and Alabama, to Nashville, TN. The staff reflect the broad diversity of skill sets and expertise needed to help the LCC achieve its mission. These positions are supported by five organizations: the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), the US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), Mississippi State University (MSU), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the US Geological Survey (USGS).
The GCPO LCC Web Community
The GCPO LCC web community represents a subset of the larger conservation community served by the LCC. It consists of a growing number (more than 1000) of professionals and interested parties who stay abreast of LCC news by visiting the gcpolcc.org website, receiving its bi-monthly newsletters, and participating in LCC-sponsored webinars. The community also includes active individuals who have formed and participate in online work groups oriented around specific conservation issues or species of concern. If you are not currently a member, we encourage you to join!
Home page background photo is of bottomland hardwoods in Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas, courtesy of Jeremy Bennett, US Fish & Wildlife Service via Flickr Creative Commons