Support for the Northeast Resilient Landscapes Initiative Catalyst Grant program has been provided by a lead grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Trust. In New England, generous support has been provided by Jane’s Trust. In New York, funding has been provided by the New York State Conservation Partnership Program (NYSCPP) and New York’s Environmental Protection Fund, administered by the Land Trust Alliance
NEW YORK, NY — March 10, 2016 —OSI's Catalyst Grant
provides technical assistance and small grants ($5,000
to $35,000) to support innovative research and planning projects to help build the
knowledge base land trusts and public agencies need to safeguard plants and
animals in the face of climate change. The Catalyst program is part of the Resilient
Landscapes Initiative, which advances the practical application of climate
science to land conservation and includes conservation dollars for the
permanent protection of exemplary, climate-resilient lands from Maine to
From 2013 to 2015, OSI made 12 Catalyst
grants to 10 organizations comprising more than 35 groups in six states across
the Northeast. In 2016, OSI is expanding its
Catalyst program. In partnership with the Conservation Trust of North Carolina,
we are offering the first planning grants in the Southeast. We are also teaming up with CTNC and the Land
Trust Alliance to offer a suite of
in-person training and technical assistance services to small and mid-sized land trusts interested in climate-responsive
conservation. Complementing these
partnerships, OSI plans to release Conserving Nature in a
Changing Climate: A Guide for Land Trusts in the Northeast, a
how-to guide for applying climate science to land protection.
Here are some
snapshots of this first group of grantees’ projects and results, “traveling” north
to south from the Northeast’s highest peaks down to the lowlands of New Jersey.
It also includes “deeper dives”: links to reports and other media that offer more
detailed looks at grantee research: methods, lessons learned, and future plans.
Click on the organization’s name to jump to its project summary.
Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC)
New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York, $20,890
AMC incorporated climate
science into its ongoing conservation-priority assessments, performing a
resilience analysis of high-elevation areas (above 2,700 feet) in Maine, New
Hampshire, Vermont, and New York -- critical habitat for wildlife species of
concern. It also analyzed northern New Hampshire’s Androscoggin Headwaters and
the nearby Western Maine Mountains, a region stretching from the White
Mountains to Moosehead Lake and the northern Boundary Mountains, to identify
under-protected sites and potential corridors to conserve so plants and animals
can shift ranges as the climate changes.
Unexpectedly, Maine’s iconic Mt.
Katahdin scored relatively low for landform complexity, a component of resilience
that provides options for animals and plants. However, AMC identified
biologically important and highly resilient areas in the northern Maine
mountains to target for protection. They later provided a
report and mapping data to land trusts, state agencies and other potential
partners on emerging conservation opportunities.
Contact: David Publicover, Senior Staff Scientist/Assistant
Director of Research, firstname.lastname@example.org
a mini webinar about the project narrated by David Publicover
Mount Agamenticus to the Sea (MtA2C)
Conservation Initiative and State of Maine
Southern Coastal Maine, $19,000
The 10 member organizations
of MtA2C, a regional conservation partnership (RCP), collaborated with the
Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the state Natural Areas
Program, and The Nature Conservancy of Maine to assess the relative climate
resilience and vulnerability of the 140 focus areas in the State Wildlife
Action Plan (SWAP). Integrating the Conservancy’s resilience data and
information about species vulnerability, species priorities, and anticipated
sea-level rise, they studied landscape conditions at two different scales:
statewide and in the eight-town coastal MtA2C geography -- the most
biologically diverse region in Maine, harboring large numbers of at-risk
Outcomes: In addition to confirming the resilience of many of the state’s
focus areas for conserving biodiversity, the partners identified a subset of
sites that are important for resilience but have not been targeted in the plan,
as well as other focus areas that are expected to be particularly vulnerable to
climate change. Locally, MtA2C’s in-depth analysis in and around southern Maine
validated some priorities and suggested new ones, such as places in the
northern portion housing under-protected geologies.
The conservation partners
and the state’s SWAP outreach program will use the project results to inform
conservation planning and communications with area towns and land trusts and
serve as a pilot for similar efforts in other parts of the state.
Contact: Karen Young, MtA2C
Andy Cutko, ecologist,
Maine Department of Conservation, Andrew.Cutko@maine.gov
Deeper Dive: Read short case studies from MtA2C and the State of
Maine about their work.
a mini webinar about the project narrated
by Andy Kutko, Justin Schlawin, and Karen Young
Bear-Paw Regional Greenways
South-Central New Hampshire, $7,500
Bear-Paw’s grant allowed
them to incorporate climate-resilience data into the local Natural Resource
Inventory maps that inform their strategic conservation plan. Their original
plan, completed more than 10 years ago, identifies the location and condition of
the region’s most important ecological, biological, and water resources,
including wildlife habitat, wetlands, and agricultural lands. The revised maps
allowed Bear-Paw to better understand the climate-resilient characteristics of
existing focus areas in light of landscape complexity and local connectedness.
This information validated and focused their past land-acquisition priorities
and served as a pilot for broader application of climate considerations
throughout New Hampshire, including their future use by the state Fish and Game
While the results confirmed most of Bear-Paw's conservation planning and
acquisition priorities, it led to adjustments in some areas. The
organization distributed the information and a set of large-scale maps to its
11 member towns for their use in developing conservation plans. Subsequently, Bear-Paw
protected two climate-resilient properties in the relatively developed town of
Hookset that both helped increase connectivity for wildlife and secured more
space for outdoor recreation.
Contact: Dan Kern, executive director, email@example.com
Deeper Dive: Read a Q&A interview with Bear-Paw’s Dan
Kern about gaining buy-in from stakeholders for resilience planning and their
conservation project in Hooksett.
Vermont Land Trust (VLT) assisted the Vermont Fish and
Wildlife Department in updating the State Wildlife Action Plan using TNC and
regional datasets. The goal: to identify a set of conservation priorities that
capture each of five key natural features that help to maintain and enhance
ecological function across the landscape and thus help safeguard biological
diversity in a changing climate. They then pinpointed a set of
"responsibility landscapes,” important and/or rare geophysical settings
(such as low-elevation limestone) that are abundant in Vermont but not well
VLT prepared a guide to state and regional climate datasets, including the
responsibility landscapes. The guide will enable VLT, state agencies, and
conservation planners to use the data to inform future land protection and
Contact: Liz Thompson, director of conservation
Deeper Dive: Read Vermont Conservation Design:
Maintaining and Enhancing an Ecologically Functional Landscape, VLT’s report on their
a mini webinar about the project narrated by Liz Thompson
Audubon Society, Inc. (Mass Audubon)
This grant supported Mass Audubon
in studying the status of climate-resilient lands statewide. Collaborating with
colleagues at The Nature Conservancy of Massachusetts, Mass Audubon analyzed land
characteristics and development patterns in climate-resilient lands. The research
found that 1.4 million of the Commonwealth’s 5 million acres are resilient to
climate impacts, yet less than half of these lands are protected.
Outcomes: The results were
incorporated into the fifth edition of Mass Audubon’s Losing Ground: Planning for
Resilience report (2014), which quantifies recent land development and
protection trends in Massachusetts to help conservationists, town planners, and
agencies to improve planning and advocacy.
Contact: Jeff Collins,
director of ecological management, firstname.lastname@example.org
Read the Losing Ground
Grant II, Massachusetts, $16,000
This additional grant
allowed Mass Audubon to integrate its statewide terrestrial resilience data
with the biodiversity-centered BioMap2 dataset, local ownership records and
other relevant statistics to develop a parcel-based conservation planning tool.
The Mapping & Prioritizing Parcels for Resilience (MAPPR) is an interactive
web map with which users can identify an area of interest and use various
pre-calculated or customized filters to identify appropriate land-protection
Outcomes: The planning tool
is now available at the organization’s website for use by the state’s 150 land
trusts and various government agencies. Mass Audubon also worked with state
agency staff to integrate the data they compiled into the Energy and
Environmental Affairs Landscape Partnership Grants program, which provides
funding to protect large blocks of land.
Jeff Collins, email@example.com
Deeper Dive: Explore the MAPPR tool at the Mass Audubon
Watch a mini webinar about the project narrated by Jeff Collins.
Highstead and North Quabbin Regional Landscape Partnership
North-Central Massachusetts, $10,000
This grant enabled Highstead to pilot a three-part workshop designed to help
regional conservation partnerships (RCPs)
expand their traditional land protection work to include the latest
climate science. The workshop series helped 16 of North Quabbin’s diverse
partners to reach consensus about conservation priorities in their service area
(which includes extensive forested areas surrounding the reservoir that
provides Boston’s drinking water). It then trained them to use The Nature
Conservancy’s climate resilience datasets to evaluate local priorities and then
use that information to create a digital map that spotlights climate-resilient
areas to target for future conservation projects.
Outcomes: Highstead expanded its capacity to assist
RCPs across New England in climate planning. North Quabbin discovered three new
focus areas that were highly resilient, and are now considering innovative
multi-landowner initiatives to protect them. The members also led a
ground-truthing hike of a resilient area for other partners and created
user-friendly informational brochures and events tailored to town boards,
landowners, and the public.
Bill Labich, senior conservationist, Highstead, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarah Wells, NQRLP coordinator, email@example.com
Deeper Dive: Read a handout
North Quabbin produced for towns and the general public about their climate map.
a mini webinar about the project narrated by Bill Labich and Sarah Wells.
Grant II, Massachusetts, Vermont, and
Building on their earlier
project with North Quabbin, Highstead is using lessons from their
climate-planning workshops to assist two relatively new RCPs – the
Massachusetts-Vermont Woodland Partnership and the Downeast Research and
Education Network -- in integrating resilience science and data into their
first conservation plans.
Outcomes: The project will
produce two new conservation plans for protecting climate-resilient sites
within the RCPs’ service areas. Highstead will then develop a guidance document
to walk other RCPs through the technical and practical issues related to
integrating climate into conservation plans.
Bill Labich, firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition to making conventional grants, OSI has partnered with
three New York-based conservation organizations on projects funded under an LTA
Partnership Grant, designed to support New York’s land trusts in understanding
and applying climate science.
Conservation Society (WCS)
Adirondack Mountains, New York, $5,000
WCS used climate-resilience
data to identify under-protected resilient habitats and geology types within the
6-million-acre Adirondack landscapes. Though the Adirondacks are the largest
protected area in the continental United States, WCS’s analysis showed that
while high-elevation granite sites are largely conserved, low-elevation
geologies within the Park are significantly under-protected, and 60% of
climate-resilient forest “hotspots” in the Champlain region are still in
private hands. This situation places wildlife in these settings at risk.
Outcomes: The results of
their work are being used as a blueprint for setting land-conservation
priorities in the region and to inform local land-use planning in sites with
critical under-protected habitat types. WCS is working with local land trusts to engage property owners in
areas that overlap land identified as resilient or ecologically important.
Michale Glennon, Adirondack landscape
science coordinator, email@example.com
Deeper Dive: Watch a mini webinar about the project narrated by
Land Conservancy (CLC)
Hudson Valley, New York, $5,000
CLC is developing a new
conservation plan that integrates climate-resilience science with the results
of fieldwork by conservation biologists from Hudsonia Ltd. to characterize the
habitats in CLC’s service area, Columbia County. Trained by OSI, CLC’s staff is
using map-based data to apply a climate- resilience lens to refine their
conservation priorities for working lands, biodiversity and recreation.
Expected Outcomes: CLC will
develop an updated strategic plan that incorporates climate change
considerations and a user’s guide summarizing lessons and recommendations from
Lee Alexander, Senior Lands
Project Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rock Forest Consortium
Hudson Highlands, New York, $5,000
Black Rock is ground-truthing
climate-resilient sites within Legacy Ridge, a wildlife corridor linking Black
Rock Forest with Schunnemunk Mountain (a unique, 1,700-foot double-crested
peak). The area is critical for connecting central and northern Appalachian
sites to facilitate movement by many species of threatened and endangered
wildlife in a rapidly developing area as the climate changes.
Expected Outcomes: Black
Rock will rank parcel
conservation values based on resilience and suitability for 40 target species,
and then translate OSI’s GIS data and Black Rock’s local knowledge of
target species occurrence and movements into a field-based guide to help land
trusts protect resilient features on this landscape.
Bill Schuster, executive director, email@example.com
Jersey Conservation Foundation (NJCF)
New Jersey, $10,000
NJCF staff, working with
Ecological Solutions, Inc., a natural-resources consulting firm, performed
field sampling to understand the relationship between climate resilience of
forested sites and land-use history. In particular, they examined links between
soil alteration resulting from past agricultural use at these sites and the
presence of invasive plants. Based on the results, the Foundation advocates
that practitioners consider field conditions based on an area’s land-use
history so they can more accurately identify the most resilient parcels
unlikely to harbor invasives.
Outcomes: The project showed that past land use
practice has a large impact on current biodiversity and should be considered
along with resilience. It also produced new information about forest soils and
plant species on resilient sites. This information will assist NJCF and other
land trusts and state agencies in differentiating among climate-resilient
examples of low-elevation fertile sites, such as the Limestone Valley in New
Jersey, where agriculture was once predominant.
Emile DeVito,manager of science and stewardship, firstname.lastname@example.org
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