Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office
Pacific Southwest Region
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Strategic Habitat Conservation (SHC)
Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office

SHC: Working with partners to achieve science-based, landscape-scale conservation

The Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office is home to a Strategic Habitat Conservation (SHC) Team, a group that was originally set up as a pilot program for innovating new ways of addressing conservation concerns in and around the Klamath River Basin. Having such a group housed in a Fish and Wildlife Office is essentially unique within the USFWS. SHC is a holistic approach to conserving wildlife populations and their habitats that aims to maximize the return on investments of our conservation dollars. Many wildlife and plant species are suffering from the effects of habitat loss, habitat degradation, and invasive species, all of which are exacerbated by climate change. These stressors are best addressed by working across a broad region rather than within the boundaries of an individual wildlife refuge or other preserve. SHC emphasizes:

  • Working at large landscape scales
  • Working with partners (other agencies, tribes, universities, private landowners, etc.) to maximize effectiveness, leverage resources, and address shared conservation concerns
  • Science-based conservation planning and design, setting measurable goals
  • Adaptive management: assessing the effectiveness of conservation actions with outcome-based monitoring

Klamath River Basin

SHC Wheel

The Strategic Habitat Conservation (SHC) concept.
For more information, click here.

Partnerships between scientists and land managers are key to the SHC process. Science is needed to provide important ecological information and analytical techniques for identifying current habitat needs and forecasting future conditions. Managers and scientists collaborate to clearly define objectives, prioritize geographic areas and habitats, and craft effective conservation actions. Biological monitoring is central to the SHC framework, as it enables us to evaluate the success of conservation actions and to increase our understanding of ecological conditions and processes. In this way, we can continue to improve our conservation actions and respond to changing habitat conditions.

The SHC Team at the Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office works across USFWS programs and field offices as well as with partners to address common conservation concerns. By systematically assessing management alternatives that could be undertaken to address environmental stressors, we can get a better idea of the most strategic places for conservation activities to be delivered on the landscape as well as which actions should be given the highest priority. In other words, we are trying to understand where we can invest our money and efforts to do the most good in terms of improving the ecological and economic health of the region. The team is currently working with partners in the Lower Klamath Basin to identify the highest priority conservation concerns on terrestrial landscapes and develop decision support tools to better inform management activities. Over the next couple years we plan to expand the scope of this project in stages to encompass the entire Klamath River Basin.

The SHC Team consists of a coordinator/team leader with a background in landscape ecology and conservation biology (Greg Schrott), a spatial analyst with expertise in GIS (Daryl Van Dyke), and a data manager who acquires and develops datasets used for landscape-scale analyses (Joel Shinn).

Last updated: April 16, 2015