History of the Cooperative
In 2008, federal managers and scientists in the Southern Sierra Nevada ecoregion challenged themselves to develop and carry out a strategic science framework to help mitigate impacts from, and adapt to climate change. The group took a landscape approach, which transcends jurisdictional boundaries and is reflected in the Department of Interior Landscape Conservation Cooperatives and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) All Lands Approach. Initial collaborators were Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, the U.S. Geological Survey Western Ecological Research Center, the USFS Pacific Southwest Research Station, Sequoia National Forest, and Giant Sequoia National Monument. The agencies held a Southern Sierra Science Symposium to review the current state of scientific research. Then, and interagency team of managers and scientists crafted the Strategic Framework for Science in Support of Management in the Southern Sierra Ecoregion. This document, released in June 2009m centers on four overarching questions: 1) What ecosystem changes are happening, why are they happening and what does it mean? 2) What is a range of plausible futures we might face? 3) What can we do about it? 4) How can relevant information be made available to all who need or desire it? Under these four questions, broad goal statements express the desired results. Each goal is subdivided into objectives and tasks, which are expanded upon by focused questions.
To apply the Strategic Framework, federal and state agency representatives met several times in 2010. They were joined by non-profit organizations engaged in climate change adaptation planning and formed a public-private science conservation partnership. The National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service crafted an interagency agreement to fund a science coordinator to lead the effort. The collaborative group became the Southern Sierra Conservation Cooperative, which meets twice annually for two day workshops and holds conference calls every two months between workshops. Many of the founding members have signed the initial memorandum of understanding (others are pending as of 6/14/2011) and an administrative framework has been developed. Importantly, members and observers have generated a list of initiative ideas to provide critical knowledge, understanding, and tools regarding agents of change and potential response actions. Several of these ideas have been crafted into formal funding proposals.