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The following schedule is subject to change (as of October 11, 2016). Please check back for updates. For more information about this meeting, go to: www.seafwa.org/conferences/2016
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Wednesday, October 19 • 10:20am - 10:40am
Wildlife. Establishing Biological Objectives to Guide Strategic Habitat Conservation for the Gulf of Mexico Coast

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AUTHORS: James P. Cronin, USGS Wetland and Aquatic Research Center; Blair E. Tirpak, USGS Wetland and Aquatic Research Center; Leah L. Dale, USGS Wetland and Aquatic Research Center; Virginia Brink, USGS Wetland and Aquatic Research Center; John M. Tirpak, USFWS Gulf Restoration Program

ABSTRACT: Conservation targets along the Gulf of Mexico’s coast are threatened by multiple, complex processes operating across large spatial scales. Thus, the success of gulf restoration efforts hinges on partners developing a common vision for conservation. However, that common vision has remained elusive. Therefore, the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and partners collaborated to define (1) focal conservation areas, (2) population objectives for species that are representative of these areas, and (3) habitat objectives necessary to achieve those population objectives. We defined fifteen biological planning units (BPU) on or adjacent to the Gulf Coast, 89 conservation target species representative of sustainable BPU habitats, and gathered population objectives for each species from the literature. For a subset of conservation target species, we developed spatially explicit Bayesian network models of the relationships between habitat characteristics and population objectives. When coupled with the established population objectives, the model outputs provided insight into how much habitat is available, how much more is needed, and where conservation or restoration efforts most efficiently achieve established objectives. We will present the BPUs, conservation target species, and the modeling results to demonstrate the benefits of this approach for informing restoration and monitoring efforts.

Wednesday October 19, 2016 10:20am - 10:40am
Louisiana Room

Attendees (8)