What is a Landscape Conservation Cooperative?
Land managers are faced with increasing management challenges such as land use conversion, sensitive species protection and recovery, invasive species, water scarcity, and a range of other complex issues—all of which are amplified by climate change. With the signing of Secretarial Order No. 3289, the Department of the Interior launched the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) to better integrate science and management to address climate change and other landscape scale issues. Twenty-two LCCs function across the US, Mexico, and Canada in specific geographic areas to form a national – and international – network to develop and communicate a coordinated, science-based response to climate change impacts on land, water, and wildlife resources. LCCs represent a broad vision of conservation that includes working with partners across landscapes to ensure that the necessary science capacity is in place to successfully address these 21st-century conservation challenges.
The Desert LCC
The Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have partnered to develop the Desert LCC. The Desert LCC is a bi-national, self-directed, non-regulatory regional partnership formed and directed by resource management entities as well as interested public and private entities in the Mojave, Sonoran, and Chihuahuan Desert regions of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. Through collaborative partnerships, the Desert LCC seeks to provide scientific and technical support, coordination, and communication to resource managers and the broader Desert LCC community to address climate change and other landscape-scale ecosystem stressors.
Desert LCC Goals
Science Development and Delivery
Identify science needs of LCC partners related to climate change and ecosystem stressors at broad spatial scales, and facilitate the development, integration and application of scientific information (including decision support tools) that will inform resource management decisions.
Collaboration and Communication
Promote and facilitate collaboration and communication among conservation partnerships and entities to support and add value to their efforts to respond to climate change and other stressors and to integrate scientific information into resource management plans and conservation projects.
Monitoring and Evaluation
Provide expertise and opportunities to enhance and add value to climate change and other monitoring programs of various partners through such activities as coordinated data collection, data analysis and information management, and data dissemination, when such actions are mutually agreed to by the partners involved.
Outreach and Education
Provide information and application tools that educate and apprise resource managers and the public about the effects of climate change and ecosystem stressors.
Where is the Desert LCC?
The Desert LCC area is topographically complex, including three major deserts (Mojave, Sonoran, and Chihuahuan), grasslands and valley bottoms, and isolated mountain ranges. Elevations range from near sea level to over 10,000 ft. The Desert LCC also contains several large river systems, including the lower Colorado, Gila, Rio Grande, San Pedro, Sonora, Yaqui, and Conchos Rivers. The richness of the topography supports equally diverse species composition and habitat for native plants, fish and wildlife, including many endemic species that are extremely susceptible to climate change impacts.
How does the Desert LCC function?
A full time staff supports efforts to achieve the Desert LCC goals. A Steering Committee serves as the executive body of the LCC, providing leadership, direction and guidance to the LCC. The Desert LCC’s Steering Committee is comprised of Federal agencies, States, Indian tribes, non-governmental organizations, and Mexican government agencies and NGOs.
Working Groups take the lead on specific tasks to accomplish the goals of the LCC, as well as help identify priorities for Steering Committee consideration and communicate LCC products to a wide network. The Desert LCC governance document provides additional information about Working Group membership, roles, and responsibilities.
For example, the Science Work Group has the primary responsibility for coordinating input on science and information needs and initiatives and recommending priority needs to the Steering Committee. The Science Work Group completed a Comprehensive Science Needs Assessment that will help the Desert LCC prioritize science needs related to management issues within the LCC and guide the allocation of future resources towards meeting those needs.
Applied Science Funding
Through WaterSMART and the Desert LCC, Reclamation has funding available for Applied Science Grants. The Applied Science Grants Funding Opportunity seeks proposals that will help resource managers analyze and adapt to climate change and other stressors across the landscape. The projects should enhance the management of natural and cultural resources and have a nexus to water resource management in a changing climate within the geographic area of the LCC. More information about the Applied Science Grants, including descriptions of projects previously funded, can be found on our webpage.
The Desert LCC is a collaborative effort that brings together resource managers, stakeholders, communities and others engaged in or supporting natural and cultural resource conservation within its geographical boundaries. Partners may include anyone interested in participating in the Desert LCC.
Last Updated: December 13, 2013