The Heart of the Rockies Initiative focuses its efforts on a region from southern Alberta and British Columbia to western Wyoming - the Central Rockies of North America. Within our working region are three distinct planning regions. The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) is the southernmost area and surrounds Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, including parts of Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. The High Divide straddles the continental divide in Idaho and Montana.
LCCs have produced a wealth of informational documents, reports, fact sheets, webinars and more to help support resource managers in designing and delivering conservation at landscape scales.
This map displays the HOTR conservation partners conservation accomplishments between 2004 and 2013.
Heart of the Rockies service area encompasing service area of all conservation partners.
These documents, prepared by Sonia A. Hall and the Arid Lands Initiative (ALI) Core Team, articulate the shared biological, strategic, and spatial priorities of the ALI in the Columbia Plateau Ecoregion.
Excerpt from the executive summary:
Hosted By: GNLCC and NWCC Sage-Grouse Research Collaborative
Summary: The webinar will feature two presentations from the two active research projects being overseen by the National Wind Coordinating Collaborative Sage-Grouse Research Collaborative.
Presentation 1: “Short-Term Impacts to Greater Sage-Grouse from Wind Energy Development”
Website: Heart of the Rockies Initiative
Agenda for Priority Area vetting
This project is part of a larger effort to design a sustainable landscape for wildlife and ecological systems in the Columbia Plateau ecoregion. Another goal of this effort is to test and describe different approaches to doing “Landscape Conservation Design” (LCD) and working towards articulating a toolkit of approaches for LCD. This report documents a task related to further develop and testing of this toolkit as applied to priority areas in the Columbia Plateau). This project focuses on a rapid assessment method of several potential areas across a large landscape.
This Esri file geodatabase contains the Arid Lands Initiative's Priority Core Areas (PCAs) and Priority Linkage Areas (PLAs). For all PCAs and PLAs over 5,000 acres in size, we developed a "scorecard" that presents its rank, relative to the other PLAs, for a range of threats and values. Both the raw, continuous values and the ranks are available in the attributes of these feature classes. Details about each field are provided in the fields metadata section. The citations in the fields metadata can all be found in the references section of the Phase 2 final report, available
Project Workshop Presentations Webpage: Understanding and Adapting To Climate Change in Aquatic Ecosystems at Landscape and River Basin Scales...
Project Workshop Webpage: Understanding and Adapting To Climate Change in Aquatic Ecosystems at Landscape and River Basin Scales...
These are the Python scripts used to create the scorecards for the Phase 2 report. They are primarily provided for reference, and require library installation and several local files to run properly. If anyone is interested in running a modeified version of these scripts for a similar purpose, please contact Madeline Steele (email@example.com). One script makes map PNGs from an ArcMap mxd with styling that varies with scale, and the other pulls these maps and other information together to create the scorecard PDFs.
After identifying collaborative conservation priority areas (see this report for details), the Arid Lands Initiative needed to assess the relative climate change vulnerability of these areas to better understand what management strategies might be most appropriate in each. This Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment (CCVA) for the ALI's Priority Core Areas (PCAs) is fully described in this report.
Boundary of the study area and HUC Basins within the project area for the ALI Riverine Assessment Project.
HUC Basin Data from Sandra Thiel--Idaho Department of Water Resources
These photos were taken by the Washinton Natural Heritage Program in Summer, 2014 to support an Ecological Integrity Assessment project (https://www.sciencebase.gov/catalog/item/54ed0f13e4b02d776a68481b). Photos are taken of field sampling sites that were selected to assess ecological integrity. Methods can be found in the report. Each zipped folder contains several photo series that correspond to individual sites. Each site series starts with a photo of a field sheet with the site ID.
The Pacific Region National Wildlife Refuge System developed a strategic approach to identify region-wide land/habitat conservation priorities. This approach was piloted in the Columbia Plateau Ecoregion and resulted in a high-level landscape-scale conservation design. Working closely with conservation partners in the region, we developed a data management and analysis model that builds from existing data sets and can be shared easily with other partners.
In 2014 and 2015, the Arid Lands Initiative developed “Conservation Scorecards” for their Priority Core Areas (PCAs) and Priority Linkage Areas (PLAs).
This zipped folder includes a file geodatabase that contains the spatial data sets gathered for the second phase of the Arid Land Initiative's Landscape Conservation Design activity in the Columbia Plateau Ecoregion, as well as an excel file with information about the Ecological Integrity Assessment (EIA) data variables. This analysis, which was funded by the Great Northern Landscape Conservation Cooperative, is fully described in the 2015 ALI report also available on ScienceBase, here.
This project identifies priority areas in the Columbia Plateau Ecoregion to implement conservation strategies for riverine and riparian habitat. This is tailored towards the Arid Lands Initiative (ALI) conservation goals and objectives, and provides the foundation for adaptation to a changing climate. This project adopts a “zoned” approach to identifying focal areas, connectivity management zones and zones for riparian habitat and ecological representation. Through a series of workshops and webinars, the ALI articulated its freshwater conservation goals and targets.
NatureServe Vista (Vista) is a free ArcGIS extension that was integrated into the project to support analysis in the project, as well as continued “as needed” implementation planning. Vista is a broad tool that could support the following tasks:
This project builds from a body of work to support conservation planning and design for the Arid Lands Initiative (ALI) in the Columbia Plateau ecoregion. Previous work identified a suite of habitats and species along with their associated viability and stressors, as well as a portfolio of Priority Core Areas (PCAs) and high priority connectivity corridors. This previous work represents a design that, if realized, would improve protection of the current distributions of species, habitats, and connectivity corridors.
Determining species distributions accurately is crucial to developing conservation and management strategies for imperiled species, but a challenging task for small populations. We evaluated the efficacy of environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis for improving detection and thus potentially refining the known distribution of Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) in the Methow and Okanogan Subbasins of the Upper Columbia River, which span the border between Washington, USA and British Columbia, Canada.
Advancing land and resource conservation in the Rocky Mountains requires bringing together the wealth of existing organizations, partnerships, universities, and individuals. By joining together, conservation practitioners can identify and advance common priorities, develop strategies and gain efficiencies in addressing landscape stressors such as climate change,
invasive species and land development, and understand the eco-‐geographic context of local management activities and decisions on regional outcomes. Partnerships are needed to identify and
This project was initially envisioned as an approach to identify priority areas for the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS) in the Columbia Plateau ecoregion. It quickly became clear that working in a partnership-based setting would lead to a more holistic conservation design in the region, and NWRS priorities would follow from that design. Therefore, we aligned this project with an existing conservation partnership in the region, the Arid Lands Initiative (ALI).
Incorporating Climate Change Adaptation into Grizzly Bear Connectivity Restoration - Jeff Burrell
Understanding Fire Refugia and Their Importance to Conservation
Whitebark Pine Genetic Restoration Progam for the Northern Rockies - Mary Frances Mahalovich
What is Environmental DNA?
DNA, short for deoxyribonucleic acid, is the hereditary material in organisms that contains the biological instructions for building and maintaining them. The chemical structure of DNA is the same for all organisms, but differences exist in the order of the DNA building blocks, known as base pairs. Unique sequences of base pairs, particularly repeating patterns, provide a means to identify species, populations, and even individuals.
Determining accurate species distribution is crucial to conservation and management strategies for imperiled species, but challenging for small populations that are approaching extinction or being reestablished. We evaluated the efficacy of environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis for improving detection and thus known distribution of Chinook salmon in the Methow and Okanogan Sub-basins of the UpperColumbia River, Washington, USA.
When unifying genomic resources among studies and comparing data between species, there is often no better resource than a genome sequence. Having a reference genome for the Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) will enable the extensive genomic resources available for Pacific salmon, Atlantic salmon, and rainbow trout to be leveraged when asking questions related to the Chinook salmon. The Chinook salmon's wide distribution, long cultural impact, evolutionary history, substantial hatchery production, and recent wild-population decline make it an important research species.
Determining changes in distribution of imperiled species is important for developing effective conservation and management strategies. Environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis, a genetic method that relies on the collection and analysis of exogenous DNA released by a species into the environment, offers a new way to determine the distribution of aquatic species.
Webinar: Sharing the Balance of Stewardship, The Blackfoot Drought Response Plan - J Schoonen
Social Network Analysis to Evaluate Change in a Large-Scale Collaborative Management Initiative
Webinar: Mapping and Modeling Annual Probability of Year Round Streamflow: A Case Study
On January 7, 2014, Dr. Francis Zwiers presented an overview of the Fifth IPCC Assessment Report.
Prioritizing Mitigation of Road Impacts on Wildlife Connectivity - Meredith McClure
RMPF Meeting--Update on Cold-Water Ecosystem Adaptation Project - Molly Cross
Science Delivery: Approaches and Influences on Success - V Wright
The Cabinet-Purcell Collaborative--A Trans-border Conservation Network
Conservation organizations in British Columbia have long acknowledged the lack of wetland habitat tracking as a serious deficiency in conserving wetlands at ecoregional scales in a changing climate. To help address this, in 2010 a group of partners, including the Canadian Intermountain Joint Venture (CIJV), came together on a multi-year initiative, the BC Wetland Trends Project, to assess wetland trends and develop an approach for future monitoring. One of their first steps was to commission a report to recommend opportunities for tracking wetlands in BC.
GNLCC Rocky Mountain Partner Forum Climate Change and Cold Water Systems Workshop
Workshop Summary Report, June 4-5, 2013
The workshop will focus on adaptation planning and action, how to link science to strategies to actions and scaling up (and down) within the Great Northern Landscape Conservation Cooperative region in terms of: assessing vulnerabilities, identifying adaptation options, prioritizing actions and sharing information on adaptation progress and lessons among practitioners in the region. This workshop is being led by the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Center for Large Landscape Conservation and EcoAdapt.
The Southwestern Crown Collaborative (SWCC) brings together residents, interested citizens, business enterprises, and conservation organizations to consider creative solutions in the management of National Forests in the Blackfoot, Clearwater, and Swan River valleys. It is an open, independent, volunteer organization that encourages broad participation by all interested parties.
February 4, 2014 GNLCC Rocky Mountain Partner Forum Meeting
Webinar: Heart of the Rockies Initiative Conservation Atlas
Summary: As the volume and complexity of spatial data increase, the ability of managers and analysts to use these critical data is compromised. Web/service based data delivery mechanisms provide one method to address this problem, but often require specialized expertise or tools to use. By integrating web services with a user-friendly interface in a commonly used geospatial application, we hope to demonstrate one model for overcoming these data consumption challenges.
Meso-carnivore Monitoring Workshop: Project Map Dec 9-10, 2015