National Academy of Sciences Review of the LCCs

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) released its Review of the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives on December 3, 2015, which concludes that a landscape approach is needed to meet the nation’s conservation challenges and that the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) provide a framework for addressing that need. The report was conducted at the request of Congress. 

The Academy’s recommendations will further help each agency and organization engaged in the LCCs and the LCC Network to take stock of progress to ensure that, collectively, the program is efficiently and effectively addressing landscape- and seascape-scale conservation priorities using the best science available. 

One-Year Progress Report

When the Review of the LCCs was released, the LCC Network committed to reporting on our progress in responding to the National Academy of Sciences’ recommendations. The LCC Network assembled a “Next Steps” team and drafted an Action Plan to set a trajectory of continual improvement. Implementation of the Action Plan is expected to take approximately two years, with many of the activities intended to be ongoing such as developing living documents and fostering ongoing, collaborative relationships. The LCC Network has produced a one-page progress report and assessment of completion.

Objective: Update LCC Network Strategic Plan and improve performance measures.

Completed: The LCC Network hosted two-day workshop with expert panelists from the NAS review team on value-focused thinking for strategic planning and evaluation; facilitated multiple input and review sessions with LCC staff; produced (3) rounds of revisions to Strategic Plan for LCC and partner feedback; hired a consultant to lead the development of the LCC Network’s formative and summative performance evaluation processes.

To Do: Finalize and release updated LCC Network Strategic Plan (end of 2017); revisit existing LCC performance metrics to better align them to updated LCC Network strategic goals (TBD); pilot the performance evaluation process (TBD).

Objective: Implement actions that improve the ability of LCCs to work collaboratively and coordinate landscape-scale conservation.

Completed: Completed a database identifying cross-representation of staff and partners on LCC, Joint Venture (JV), Fish Habitat Partnership (FHP), and Climate Science Center (CSC) steering committees and work groups; identified LCC projects where JVs, FHPs, and CSCs are contributors; summarized common themes of collaborative projects, and highlighted case examples; interviewed LCC, FHP, JV, CSC staff to assess state of collaboration and identify practices and considerations for collaboration success; convened monthly federal interagency meetings; consulted with states and initiated implementation of the recommendations from the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies 2016 President’s Task Force on LCCs.

To Do: Produce Best Practices and Standard Operating Procedures documents (TBD); finalize Collaborative Conservation Plan with LCCs, FHPs, JVs, and CSCs (TBD).

Objective: Develop clear guidance on LCC-supported Landscape Conservation Design (LCD)

Completed: Consulted with expert, Craig Groves, used his research as a foundation for LCC guidance; held multiple info-gathering and review sessions with LCC staff and partners; defined LCC-supported Landscape Conservation Design; developed list of (8) Characteristics of LCC Design; reported to the U.S. Dept. of the Interior on the number of LCC-supported Designs available for use; created interactive, online LCD Mapper.

To Do: Produce Best Practices document for LCC Landscape Conservation Design (in progress); continue to integrate with programs within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other federal agencies, and serve as a resource (ongoing).

Winter 2017 Progress Update

The LCC Network produced its One-Year Progress Report (see above). The LCC Network also secured the services of a contractor to assist in completing a revision of the LCC Network Strategic Plan and coordinating performance evaluation process. 

Fall 2016 Progress Update

The final book version of the National Academy of Sciences Review of the LCCs is now available on the Academy's website for free download or purchase. 

PERFORMANCE EVALUATION : Since the June all-hands LCC Network meeting, our Performance Evaluation working group has been revising the strategic plan’s goals, objectives, and performance measures. The LCC Network initiated the process to hire a consulting expert to assist in finalizing the work. 

LANDSCAPE CONSERVATION DESIGN (LCD): Through a series of virtual and in-person workshops, our LCC Design working group, joined by national experts, has produced eight Characteristics of LCC Landscape Conservation Designs. The team has also developed a draft guidance document focused on LCD Best Practices. The final guidance document is estimated to be available online in December 2016. The LCC Design group also developed the first-ever, comprehensive database of LCC-Supported Designs along with an associated online geospatial mapper.

NATIONAL COLLABORATION: At its 2016 Annual Meeting, the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) approved recommendations from its Presidential Task Force assessing the states’ relationships with LCCs. One recommendation moves to establish a LCC Joint Task Force (JTF) between AFWA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to explore how state agencies can more fully engage in and support LCCs. The LCC JTF is expected to begin meeting in early 2017. The LCC Network continues to reach out to Migratory Bird Joint Ventures, Fish Habitat Partnerships and Climate Science Centers among others to discuss further opportunities for improving integration and collaboration.  

Summer 2016 Progress Update

LCC coordinators and science coordinators and key federal and state partner representatives met June 21-24 in St. Louis, MO to focus on beginning the process of developing performance measures and improving guidance on Landscape Conservation Design. Review the meeting agenda and background materials at

The LCC Network is committed to reporting on progress made to address the NAS review over the course of the year. Activities will include presenting at national and regional fish and wildlife conferences, holding coordination meetings with partners, sharing updates with LCC Steering Committees, and posting articles on the LCC Network website ( and in the LCC Network e-newsletter -- the LCC Network Lookout. 

Spring 2016 Progress Update

Since the report was released, the LCC Network has been conducting a deeper analysis of the review to fully distill the impact of the findings and recommendations to the LCC community. Ultimately, the LCC Network will use the report to set a trajectory for continual improvement; ensure the program is addressing landscape-scale conservation priorities; and demonstrate the benefits of landscape conservation and the LCCs to stakeholders and the nation. 

The LCC Network has established a “Next Steps” team consisting of four working groups to develop and prioritize actions for addressing the NAS recommendations in the action areas of Strategic Plan and Performance Evaluation; Collaboration and Coordination; Landscape Conservation Design; and Communications. The Next Steps team is currently developing a draft action plan, which will be shared with partners for additional input and assistance in implementing the tasks. 

Download the full NAS report at

Review the LCC Network's One Year Progress Report (January 2017)

Check out the LCC Network's summary of the NAS findings and recommendations (Fall 2016 update)

Read an LCC Network article about the Academy's Review of the LCCs

Read a perspective on the Review of the LCCs by an LCC Coordinator

Read a blog post about the June 2016 LCC Coordinators and Science Coordinators meeting

Information about the statement of task and presentations by LCC staff to help inform the NAS review is linked below.