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Bringing More Science into Habitat Conservation Planning


Workshop Seeks to Bring More Science into Habitat Conservation Planning

To be held May 15-16 at the UCR Palm Desert Graduate Center, workshop will include presentations from scientists and managers

(May 9, 2007)

The Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard was listed as a threatened species by the federal government in 1980.  Image credit: Cameron Barrows, UCR.Enlarge

The Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard was listed as a threatened species by the federal government in 1980. Image credit: Cameron Barrows, UCR.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — UC Riverside's Center for Conservation Biology has partnered with the Western Riverside County Regional Conservation Authority in organizing a two-day workshop — the inaugural annual Science and MultiSpecies Habitat Conservation Plans Symposium — to address the science behind Habitat Conservation Plans (HCP), the primary tool for balancing development and nature conservation in the United States.

The workshop, which will include presentations from scientists and managers working at population, community, ecosystem and landscape levels, will take place May 15 (8 a.m.-4 p.m.) and May 16 (9 a.m.-5 p.m.) at the UCR Palm Desert Graduate Center, 75-080 Frank Sinatra Drive, Palm Desert, Calif.

“In this workshop, we’d like to get representatives from management and regulators to talk with scientists about how more science can be incorporated into the HCPs,” said Edith Allen, a professor of plant ecology at UCR, who is co-chairing the workshop with Thomas Scott, a natural resources specialist on campus. “With good science included in the decision making process, counties will be better advised on where they can set up habitats and what the sizes of these habitats should be.”

Habitat conservation planning governs the fate of millions of acres of wildlands across the United States. The plans, which require a complex integration of science, policy and management, recently have come under some criticism for their lack of strong science.

Because of the Endangered Species Act (1973), which legally required habitat conservation planning, some endangered species such as the bald eagle, were successfully brought back from the edge of extinction. Riverside County alone has approximately 150 species of concern in its plans.

Individuals interested in attending the workshop may do so by visiting http://www.ccb.ucr.edu/symposium/index.html. The workshop will include a field trip to the Coachella Valley Fringe-Toed Lizard Preserve, the country’s first HCP.

For more information on the workshop, call 951-827-5494.

The mission of the Center for Conservation Biology at UCR is to assist in the conservation and restoration of species and ecosystems by facilitating the collection, evaluation, and dissemination of scientific information. The center proactively identifies new research priorities in conservation biology and inaugurates new collaborative research programs. It also develops research programs in response to existing needs in conservation biology.

The University of California, Riverside (www.ucr.edu) is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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