Green River Basin Landscape Conservation Design


The Green River Basin Landscape Conservation Design project (GRB LCD) will identify spatially-explicit conservation opportunities for the Green River Basin ecosystems through a collaborative effort. The ultimate goal of the GRB LCD is to protect habitats and species through mutually agreed-upon goals that incorporate the diversity of objectives and needs of stakeholders across the region. Conservation Science Partners (CSP) was contracted by the Southern Rockies Landscape Conservation Cooperative (SRLCC), in partnership with the Great Northern LCC (GNLCC), to perform the project. CSP has contracted with the Landscape Conservation Initiative (LCI) at Northern Arizona University to work jointly on stakeholder engagement and participatory analysis.

The Green River Basin is defined by the watershed of the Green River, encompassing large extents of southwestern Wyoming, northeastern Utah, and northwestern Colorado. The GRB extends over more than 300 million acres of lands (48,667 square miles) dominated by high desert surrounding critically-important riparian areas. The region supports sensitive species such as native fish, ungulates, and the greater sage-grouse; critical water delivery for both humans and wildlife; ecological functions essential to diverse livelihoods; and important ancestral lands of the Ute people. 

A Landscape Conservation Design refers to both a collaborative process and a set of spatial data products that identify places on the landscape where conservation action can be high impact. To begin the collaborative process, the SRLCC convened an initial group of stakeholders in an Oversight Team (OT) including representatives of many land management jurisdictions in December 2015. LCI conducted a formal needs assessment for the project based on interviews with members of this group and a broader constituency of over 50 stakeholders. Based on this assessment, CSP and LCI recommended that the LCD include a spatial vulnerability assessment in which vulnerable areas are addressed in the context of management actions and current priority areas, to collaboratively identify conservation opportunities. The vulnerability assessment will focus on current and future conditions of sage steppe ecosystems and riparian/aquatic systems in the basin and their vulnerability to energy development, invasive species, and climate change. These data, combined with information about the many current priority areas and existing conservation work in the basin will allow stakeholders to identify locations where coordinated action, leveraged funding, cross-jurisdictional work, or new partnerships can be used to target coordinated conservation and adaptation to future conditions. Workshops and meetings with a broad group of stakeholders throughout the basin will be held during the project, which is slated for completion in 2017. 

To learn more and see the project website, click here.