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Landscape Conservation Design Phase II: Assessing Aquatic Integrity

Over the last year, a coordinated series of consultations with experts across the region has resulted in priority aquatic species, habitats, and ecosystems into Phase II of the Appalachian LCC Landscape Conservation Design (LCD).

Principal Investigators Drs. Paul Leonard and Rob Baldwin of Clemson University led these discussions in order to refine elements of initial products from the Phase I modeling efforts as well as incorporate appropriate metrics and threats for assessing aquatic ecological integrity in the region.

Subject matter and wildlife experts helped the LCC identify appropriate frameworks for assessing aquatic integrity, key conservation targets and threats to aquatic ecosystems, and delve further into representative databases of the region. From these collaborative consultations, Clemson University researchers settled on around 50 variables to help predict biological data and forecasted those predictions at three spatial scales. In keeping with the Healthy Watersheds conceptual framework, they paired some geophysical, connectivity, water quality, and biological variables to create a single score for all spatial scales to be used in the LCD. This input will now be coupled with other aquatic variables to inform the aquatics half of Phase II of the LCD.

Check out our Conservation Design area on the Web Portal.

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