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Current U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service leadership is committed to the demonstration of the application of spatially-explicit processes of biological planning and conservation design in land acquisition projects. As part of the planning process for the National Wildlife Refuge System, Director Dan Ashe is requiring that all plans recommending approval will demonstrate measurable biological outcomes. This presentation will explain a recent process we took following the principles of Strategic Habitat Conservation (SHC) in the Flint Hills Legacy Conservation Area (FHLCA). The FHLCA is a conservation plan to acquire 1.1 million acres of conservation easements in the historic tallgrass region in Region 6. Our presentation will provide some background on how we have approached these projects in the past, how application of the SHC framework differs, and how we are going about the transition to the SHC framework for the FHLCA. We also hope to incorporate other examples we are initiating currently in Region 6, and provide background on the SHC approach the Habitat and Population Evaluation Team (Bismarck, ND) has developed in the Prairie Pothole Region during the past 20+ yrs.
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