The Rainwater Basin Joint Venture uses a strategic, science-based approach to habitat conservation, linking habitat goals directly to the physiological needs of priority wildlife species. Strategic Habitat Conservation (SHC) reflects technological and philosophical changes in the science and practice of conservation. For many years, conservationists focused on achieving “more”: more projects, more acres, more hours spent on vegetation management. The four interacting elements of SHC concentrate instead on identifying conservation projects, methods and sites that will provide the greatest benefits, relative to cost, to priority bird species:
Biological Planning – This step identifies priority species and determines population objectives and limiting factors for those species. Models are developed to describe the relationships between certain species and their habitats.
Conservation Design –The results of Conservation Design are Decision Support Tools, or DSTs, developed with Geographic Information Systems to help identify sites and projects that are likely to produce the greatest habitat benefits.
Conservation Delivery refers to the actual implementation of conservation projects. Much of the RWBJV’s recent progress in conservation delivery has been accomplished through initiatives that seek “win-win” scenarios with benefits both for wildlife and for agriculture.
Monitoring and Research – This SHC element allows the RWBJV partnership to improve its effectiveness by testing key assumptions, investigating uncertainties, and evaluating whether our actions are actually moving us closer to our objectives.