Tennessee River Basin Network Workshop and Awards Celebration
More than 85 stakeholders participated in the workshop, representing federal and state government agencies, conservation groups, industry, and academia. The workshop was held in Chattanooga, Tenn., August 4-5. The participating organizations represented a long-standing community that has worked together on conservation actions to protect one of the most diverse areas for aquatic species in North America. But the workshop offered the first formal assembly of this broad community working in the Basin.
At the meeting, participants identified the Appalachian LCC as a forum to continue bringing these regional conservation partners and Communities of Practices together (Conservation Management and Science Management; Building Partnerships and Outreach). Through the LCC, these partners can share data across the entire basin, utilize the many decision support tools and resources available through the Appalachian LCC Web Portal, and form a more strategic conservation workforce guided by landscape-level conservation design. As a result of the decisions made by the Appalachian LCC Steering Committee in July, staff will focus its initial landscape conservation planning and design efforts in the Tennessee River Basin due to the immense biodiversity of native and endangered species.
Participants at the workshop also agreed on a variety of next steps to better coordinate and deliver conservation to ensure protection of critical resources. There was strong support for continuing and expanding this dialogue. More than 75 percent of the participants indicated their willingness to contribute time, talent or resources to building a more formal Tennessee River Basin Network and coordinate conservation efforts. Workshop participants agreed to broaden and diversify the network by including nontraditional partners such as private landowners, Chambers of Commerce, mayors, and agriculture interests. They also identified a need to develop new thinking on marketing and messaging targeted to the general public, legislators, and key stakeholders to raise awareness of and support for regional conservation efforts. Finally, there was consensus to increase data sharing, access to tools, information and training, and the ability to share and learn from one another to significantly expand the network’s collective impact.
More information about this collaboration can be found at: http://applcc.org/projects/trb