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Sky Island Grassland Assessment (September 2012)

Sky Island grasslands of central and southern Arizona, southern New Mexico and northern Mexico form the “grassland seas” that surround small forested mountain ranges in the borderlands. Their unique biogeographical setting and the ecological gradients associated with “Sky Island mountains” add tremendous floral and faunal diversity to these grasslands and the region as a whole. Sky Island grasslands have undergone dramatic vegetation changes over the last 130 years including encroachment by shrubs, loss of perennial grass cover and spread of non-native species. Changes in grassland composition and structure have not occurred uniformly across the region and they are dynamic and ongoing. In 2009, The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) launched its Sky Island Grassland Initiative, a 10-year plan to protect and restore grasslands and embedded wetland and riparian habitats in the Sky Island region. The objective of this assessment is to identify a network of priority grassland landscapes where investment by the Foundation and others will yield the greatest returns in terms of restoring grassland health and recovering target wildlife species across the region. Download file (7 MB)

Climate Change Adaptation for People and Nature (March 2012)

In the U.S. Southwest, global climate change, acting in concert with extant stressors such as urbanization and over-allocation of water resources, is changing ecosystems in measureable and sometimes dramatic ways. Twentyfirst century projections indicate accelerating climate change and cascading ecological consequences. Our experience suggests that adaptation efforts can be effective if they are focused at the local scale; employ learning networks; and engage in ecosystem-based adaptation: the sustainable management, conservation and restoration of ecosystems so that they continue to provide the services that allow people to thrive in changing environments.

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Flagstaff Climate Change Adaptation Workshop: Draft Report (April 2010)

Report on the Southwest Climate Change Initiative’s Flagstaff Climate Change Adaptation Workshop of April 2010 in Flagstaff, Arizona. 77 pp., including executive summary and appendices.

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The Nature Conservancy’s Conservation Action Plan for the Gila Headwaters (October 2010)

The Nature Conservancy recently updated its Conservation Action Plan for the Gila Headwaters. This paper describes TNC's planning process. The process involves defining the project area, identifying conservation targets, assessing conservation target viability, identifying critical threats to these targets, developing and implementing strategies to abate these threats and improve target viability, and measuring strategy effectiveness.

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Managing Changing Landscapes in the Southwestern United States (January 2011)

This regional assessment examines the impacts of temperature change from 1951-2006 on natural resources in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. It documents that warming has already affected habitats, watersheds, and species in the Southwest, by influencing the timing of seasonal events or amplifying the impacts of natural disturbances such as wildfire and drought. The report concludes that to begin adapting to climate change, natural resource managers should reevaluate the effectiveness of current restoration tools, modify resource objectives, learn from climate-smart adaptive management and monitoring, and share information across boundaries.

Bear River Climate Adaptation Workshop: Participant Notebook (May 2010)

Agenda, climate change scenarios, climate change adaptation framework description, background information about climate change in the Great Basin, and other materials that were distributed in a notebook to all participants at the Bear River Climate Adaptation Workshop of May 2010.

Bear River Climate Change Adaptation Workshop Final Report and Appendices (2010)

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) convened a two-day workshop entitled Climate Change Adaptation Workshop for Natural Resource Managers in the Bear River Basin on May 26-27, 2010, in Salt Lake City, Utah. The goal of the workshop was to identify management strategies that will help native plants, animals and ecosystems adapt to a changing climate and lay the groundwork for their implementation in the Bear River Basin. Thrity-nine representatives of 20 state and federal agencies, local governments, academic institutions, and non-governmental organizations participated.

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Lesser Prairie-Chicken Spatial Planning Tool (2010)

The model described here is a GIS-based spatial model designed to assess the impact of future development on lesser prairie-chicken (LEPC) conservation in eastern New Mexico emulates the Oklahoma Lesser Prairie-Chicken Spatial Planning Tool, a product of a collaboration including the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Playa Lakes Joint Venture, the Oklahoma Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, the University of Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State University. This tool is intended for use in planning for future development, minimizing negative impacts of future development on current LEPC habitat, and in planning conservation and restoration efforts for LEPC in eastern New Mexico. The model aims to provide industry and wildlife professionals a tool that can help: 1) site development projects with LEPC conservation in mind, 2) identify areas of critical habitat for LEPC conservation, and 3) identify areas for potential habitat restoration and/or species reintroduction, including offsets for the impact of future development activities. It is important to note that this study does not address any potential concerns other than the LEPC.

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Bear River Climate Change Adaptation Workshop Presentations (May 2010)

Presentations by speakers at the Bear River Climate Adaptation Workshop of May 2010, including Patrick McCarthy (The Nature Conservancy in New Mexico), Dr. Gregg Garfin (University of Arizona), Dr. Linda O. Mearns (National Center for Atmospheric Research), Dr. Joe Barsugli (University of Colorado), Dr. Frederic H. Wagner (Utah State University), and Dr. Molly Cross (Wildlife Conservation Society).

Flagstaff Climate Adaptation Workshop: Presentations (April 2010)

Presentations by speakers at the Flagstaff Climate Adaptation Workshop of April 2010, including Dr. Gregg Garfin (University of Arizona), Dr. Linda O. Mearns (National Center for Atmospheric Research), Dr. Seshadri Rajagopal (University of Arizona), Dr. Kenneth Cole (US Geological Survey), Dr. Kirsten E. Ironside (Northern Arizona University), Dr. Peter Fule (Northern Arizona University), Megan M. Friggins (USFS – Rocky Mtn Research Station), Dr. Joseph L. Ganey (USFS – Rocky Mtn Research Station), and Dr. Molly Cross (Wildlife Conservation Society).

Upper Mimbres Watershed Assessment (December 2009)

The Mimbres Fire Learning Network (FLN) demonstration project is located in southwest New Mexico, focused on a portion of the Wilderness District of the Gila National Forest. This report details the rapid landscape-scale resource assessment TNC conducted to provide a basis for developing a collaborative fire management plan for the Upper Mimbres Watershed.

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River Ecosystem Restoration Initiative (January 2010)

The New Mexico River Ecosystem Restoration Initiative The River Ecosystem Restoration Initiative ("RERI") was established as part of Governor Richardson’s “2007 Year of Water” legislative agenda. The RERI is designed to sustain, re-establish and rehabilitate the integrity and understanding of New Mexico’s river ecosystems through the enhancement of physical, chemical and biological characteristics. Since 2007 twenty-seven projects have been funded to restore 2,394 riparian acres and 33 river miles. New Mexico has awarded over $5 million through 27 RERI grants and this has yielded an additional $3 million from in-kind contributions and leveraged another $3 million from federal and private restoration funding sources. RERI funded projects have created 222 full-time, part-time and temporary private sector jobs.

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Gunnison Basin Climate Adaptation Workshop: Final Report & Appendices (December 2009)

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) convened a two-day workshop entitled Climate Change Adaptation Workshop for Natural Resource Managers in the Gunnison Basin on December 2-3, 2009, in Gunnison, Colorado. The goal of the workshop was to identify management strategies that will help native plants, animals and ecosystems adapt to a changing climate and lay the groundwork for their implementation in the Gunnison Basin. Fifty-seven representatives of 20 state and federal agencies, local governments, academic institutions, and non-governmental organizations participated.

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Jemez Mountains Climate Change Adaptation Workshop: Final Report (April 2009)

Report on the Southwest Climate Change Initiative’s Jemez Mountains Climate Change Adaptation Workshop of April 2009 in Los Alamos, New Mexico. 41 pp., including executive summary and appendices.

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Jemez Mountains Climate Adaptation Workshop: Presentations (April 2009)

Presentations by speakers at the Jemez Mountains Climate Adaptation Workshop of April 2009, including Todd Ringler (Los Alamos National Lab), Bob Parmenter (Valles Caldera National Preserve), Molly Cross (Wildlife Conservation Society) and Carolyn Enquist (The Nature Conservancy)

Gunnison Basin Climate Adaptation Workshop: Presentations (December 2009)

Presentations by speakers at the Gunnison Basin Climate Adaptation Workshop of December 2009, including Gregg Garfin (University of Arizona), Linda Mearns (National Center for Atmospheric Research), Joe Barsugli (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), Molly Cross (Wildlife Conservation Society) and Patrick McCarthy (The Nature Conservancy).

Gunnison Basin Climate Adaptation Workshop: Participant Notebook (December 2009)

Agenda, climate change scenarios, speaker biographies, climate change adaptation framework description, background information, participant list and other materials distributed in the participant notebook for the Gunnison Basin Climate Adaptation Workshop of December 2010.

Apache Highlands Grasslands Assessment (October 2008)

This paper describes a simple, yet broadly applicable rapid assessment expert system approach that can be used to assess grassland status for improved conservation planning and management.

Download file (1.5 MB)

Lesser Prairie Chicken and Range Management Presentation (January 2009)

PowerPoint presentation of Prairie-Chickens, Bugs, and Cows: Lessons from the TNC Milnesand Prairie Preserve.

Download file (6MB)

Lesser Prairie Chicken Monitoring Abstract (January 2009)

Prairie-Chickens, Bugs, and Cows: Lessons from the TNC Milnesand Prairie Preserve.

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Report 2 (of 3) Evidence of Climate Change in NM (December 2008)

The second of three reports assesses the conservation implications of recent climate change on New Mexico’s watersheds and hydrology. Analyzing recent trends (1970-2006) in a water balance variable—climate water deficit—that indicates biological moisture stress or drying, this study identifies watersheds of high conservation importance in New Mexico that are most and least vulnerable to ongoing climate change.

Download file (9 MB)

Lesser Prairie Chicken Report 2008 (January 2009)

A summary report on the habitat for lesser prairie-chickens and other wildlife in sand-shinnery oak – grass communities on the Milnesand Prairie Preserve.

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Iron Bridge Management Plan (September 2008)

This document summarizes the ecological significance, acquisition steps, and management activities for the Iron Bridge Conservation Area, that was purchased in 2008 in partnership with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish using Natural Lands Protection Act Funds.

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Ecological Site Description and Biophysical Setting Comparison (June 2007)

Staff of The Nature Conservancy completed a review and comparison of ecological models produced by the LANDFIRE multi-agency project and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

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New Mexico Rangeland Ecological Assessment Final Report (March 2008)

The REA is a regional assessment of ecological condition and restoration opportunity on over 14 million acres in central and southern New Mexico. It is the first assessment of its kind to span this area in nearly 30 years. The focus of the report is grassland, shrubland, and savanna ecosystems.

Download file (45 MB)

New Mexico Climate Change Ecology and Adaptation Workshop (October 2007)

Summaries and presentations from a climate change workshop that reviewed climate change science, articulated management concerns, shared management strategies and identified opportunities to address climate change adaptation challenges.

Report 1 (of 3) Evidence of Climate Change in NM (April 2008)

There is now strong scientific evidence that human-induced climate change is affecting the earth's species and ecological systems. The Nature Conservancy's state-wide assessment of recent climate change enables practitioners and managers to make better informed decisions and to take action in the near-term by identifying the potential vulnerability of habitat types, priority conservation sites and species to climate change.

Download file (8.3 MB)

Historical Range of Variation for Potential Natural Vegetation Types of the Southwest (June 2007)

Descriptions of the Historical Range of Variation or Variability (HRV) characterize the change over time and space in the condition of the Southwest’s major vegetation types and the ecological processes that shape those types. HRVs enable land managers and the public to understand the drivers of change in our region’s major vegetation types.

Southwest Forest Assessment Project Peer Review Process (October 2006)

All of the reports and data sets developed for the Southwest Forest Assessment Project were subjected to external peer review to ensure conformance with the Forest Service’s Science Consistency Review Standards. This report includes a complete list of the resource professionals who reviewed the various components of this project.

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Ecosystem Diversity Reports for National Forests in New Mexico and New Mexico (August 2006)

Ecosystem diversity reports were developed to support the Forest Service’s need for information on the species and ecosystems that occur on National Forests in Region 3. The reports contain data summaries and analyses of a variety of regional datasets. Each report is packaged with an introduction and chapters describing methods and data sources.

Overview: Ecoregion-Based Conservation Assessments of the SW United States and Northwestern Mexico (July 2006)

Provides an overview of ecoregional assessments and the process used to create a standardized, cross-ecoregional dataset for six ecoregions within and adjacent to Arizona. This report may be downloaded from the Arizona Program website.

What is the Southwest Forest Assessment Project? (June 2006)

Brief overview describing a collaborative effort between The Nature Conservancy and U.S. Forest Service Region 3 in Arizona and New Mexico, a project designed to develop scientific information for forest plan revisions and to help in the restoration of ecosystems.

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Historical Fire Return Intervals for Arizona and New Mexico (May 2006)

Synthesizes the scientific literature on historical fire return intervals associated with the major vegetation systems across Arizona and New Mexico. Included is a crosswalk table for use with the Southwest Regional Gap Analysis Project's land cover dataset and three ArcGIS layer (.lyr) files that enable the user to mimic the report graphics.

Download file (<1 MB)

Ecoregional Conservation Assessment Reports (1999-2007)

Original reports summarizing the results of the seven ecoregional conservation assessments completed for the southwestern U.S. and northwestern Mexico by The Nature Conservancy and partners.

An Assessment of the Spatial Extent and Condition of Grasslands in AZ, NM, and Northern Mexico (January 2003)

This report is the first of two studies completed by TNC and partners to delineate the spatial extent and ecological condition of grasslands in central and southern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico, and northern Mexico. This report covers the 30-million acre Apache Highlands Ecoregion.

Download file (1 MB)

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