During 2011, the NEAP coordination team will organize national planning meetings and participate in conferences including the 76th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference, 66th Annual International Soil and Water Conservation Society Conference, Midwest Bird Conservation and Monitoring Conference, Northern Bobwhite Technical Committee Meeting, 101st Annual Meeting of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, 65th Conference of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the Society of American Foresters National Convention, and the 18th Annual Conference of The Wildlife Society.
Based on discussions and feedback from local, state, and federal agencies, NGOs, conservation interest groups, academia, and other stakeholders, the NEAP team will compile monitoring recommendations from >200 natural resource professionals for the five USDA NRCS easement programs. Preliminary bioassessment models will be drafted and a cost-benefit analysis performed based on these recommendations.
In July 2011, the NEAP Team submitted the first interim report to the NRCS. This report summarized compliance and biological monitoring programs for 12 organizations and their expenditures. We also summarized examples of current NRCS monitoring practices. Our next report (due in late December) will include a review of adaptive management and enforcement strategies, and development of preliminary biological and economic assessment models.
On 19 August 2011, Dr. Matthew Gray was invited to speak at a meeting of the Steering Committee of the NRCS Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) in Beltsville, MD. Dr. Gray presented an overview of NEAP, outlined strategies for development of bioassessment and economic valuation models, and discussed possible collaborative studies between CEAP and NEAP during Phase II of NEAP.