Welcome to the Strategic Habitat Conservation (SHC) Website. This site will provide resources that will facilitate your understanding of SHC, tools to aid implementation and links to the persons and organizations involved in this important effort. The scale and complexity of the challenges we face as a conservation community necessitate an emphasis on landscape-level approaches and vast collaboration among our diverse stakeholders. SHC represents a continuing evolution of our organizational approach wherein planning, communication, and strong biological science drive our conservation priority-setting and implementation applying an adaptive management approach. Through the SHC framework, we seek to ingrain a decision-making process that is iterative, responsive to change, and effective at defining desired biological outcomes and implementing the landscape-scale actions that will facilitate them.
Region 2 SHC Intranet site. For employees only. Access this site for postings of the Project Leaders Meeting SHC final presentations and reports.
Working With Partners
The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) continues to work with States and other conservation partners to develop technical guidance for identifying and selecting surrogate species in defined landscapes. Earlier this year, FWS Director Dan Ashe met with leaders representing a dozen or so key conservation NGOs to outline the FWS’ proposed surrogate species approach and discuss opportunities for collaborating on landscape-scale conservation efforts. The partners had questions about how species will be selected and what this process is going to look like – particularly in these times of rapid change, uncertainty and shrinking budgets. They were encouraged, however, by the FWS' efforts to forge a shared conservation blueprint with partners focusing on common goals in defined landscapes and leveraging science capacity and investments (as well as legal responsibilities) to maximize measurable conservation results.
What is Strategic Habitat Conservation?Strategic Habitat Conservation (SHC) is an adaptive management approach to conservation planning, implementation, and evaluation. This approach will improve our premier wildlife conservation achievements on priority trust species and the ecological processes that sustain them. SHC was developed by a team of scientists to meet the challenges of wildlife conservation in the nation and to include up-to-date technologies and methods. In July, 2006, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service along with the U.S. Geological Survey released a report, Strategic Habitat Conservation, Final Report of the National Ecological Assessment Team (1.6M, .pdf) , on wildlife conservation management in the United States. Following the report, the Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service declared that Strategic Habitat Conservation will be used to implement the Service organizational priorities. This approach is not new; it builds upon the ecosystem or ecological models that are widely supported by the Service and by the conservation biology community. Other groups use a similar approach, such as “Conservation by Design” developed by the Nature Conservancy and a recent report by the U.S. Department of Interior, Adaptive Management, the U.S. Department of Interior Guide , includes guidelines that are completely compatible with SHC.
The Strategic Habitat Conservation approach contains four elements:
This process also includes: selection of a subset of priority species; formulation of population objectives; assessment of the current state of species population; and identification of any limiting factors. To adopt and execute Strategic Habitat Conservation, the Southwest Region of the Fish and Wildlife Service has established a cross-programmatic team to provide SHC information to Service employees and partners, establish focal areas for project development, and devise strategies for the implementation of SHC.