2014 is beginning much the way 2013 ended – hectic. The good news is that much progress has been made in completing Phase I tasks including strategy development for the individual regional conservation units, and public scoping. This progress will allow us to complete the draft and final stages in the SWAP 2015 Update on schedule.
Phase I also includes the habitat/climate vulnerability assessment. The Request for Proposal (RFP) for the vulnerability assessment was posted in January. We received several proposals and are in the process of evaluating them. . The next step will be to select a contractor and develop a scope of work and a contract. The habitat/climate vulnerability assessment will complement the taxa specific vulnerability assessments that were completed, or are in the process of being completed, as part of the updates to the species of special concern reports. Species of Special Concern along with all State and Federally listed and candidate species and species found to be vulnerable to climate change, will comprise the “Species of Greatest Conservation Need” for the SWAP 2015 Update.
We are still tying up a few other loose ends from Phase I. There are some teams that chose to develop additional strategies for their conservation units. We are also continuing the QA/QC of the completed Miradi files in preparation for uploading them to Miradi Share. Miradi Share is a new cloud-based software system that enables conservation practitioners, managers, and funders to design, manage, monitor, and learn from collections of related conservation “projects” that make up a conservation “program.” Specifically, Miradi Share helps program teams:
- Create individual Miradi projects that use standardized terms and factors across the program
- Manage and track the status of all projects within the program
- Aggregate and analyze information across some or all of these projects
- Export project and program data to websites and other organizational IT systems
- Share project and program results within the team or across the globe
At the public scoping meetings, we promised to post the individual meeting agendas, posters, presentations, and fact sheets to the SWAP website. We’re currently working on this and hope to have everything posted soon. All written comments received will also be posted to the website.
We are also anticipating one or two additional scoping meetings that will be presented via WebEx for tribal members – likely in early April. We are in the process of working out the details and will send out an announcement when the dates and times are confirmed.
The RFP for Phase II has just been publically posted. Phase II of the update process includes developing reports for each of the conservation strategies we developed in Phase I; evaluation of our performance in meeting the objectives articulated in our State Wildlife Grant (SWG) project proposals since 2005, and lessons learned over that time period; development of a draft and final SWAP 2015 document; and conducting public review for the draft and final documents. We will be moving forward with the contracting process over the next few months and hope to begin work on Phase II tasks by mid-spring.
If staff and funding are available, we are planning to begin Phase III of the SWAP 2015 Update later this year. Phase III will involve developing eight companion plans. Companion plans are plans that will focus on actions that can be taken by other agencies, organizations and private landowners to complement our implementation of the SWAP 2015 Update strategies.
In many of the strategies we developed for our regional conservation units, we identified opportunities for collaboration and partnerships that would benefit fish and wildlife. There are also potential collateral benefits that would increase coordination and effectiveness, improve the sharing of resources and data, and better align planning, policies, and regulations. Since all human activity has the potential to affect fish and wildlife, coordinating with every sector of society seems prudent. The topics we will focus on for the companion plans are Agriculture; Commercial & Recreational Uses; Energy Development; Forests & Rangelands; Land Use Planning; Transportation Planning; Tribal Lands; and Water Management.
As you can see, there is still much work to be done but the progress we have made thus far is impressive.