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Development of a Community Stewardship Program for the Pierce County Biodiversity Network

Published Aug 13, 2010

Map of Pierce County Biodiversity NetworkThe Pierce County Biodiversity Alliance was formed to help provide finer-resolution mapping and habitat-quality assessment for a proposed biodiversity management area (BMA) in Washington. The Alliance conducted an intensive 24-hour species verification survey (bioblitz) in June 2005 and organized community outreach efforts on private lands with media coverage. Preparation for the bioblitz began with a NatureMapping workshop to train citizens and experts on data-collection protocols. Thirty-four landowners allowed access to their property. A total of 35 experts, 13 citizen-scientists, and 4 landowners observed 72 percent of the predicted bird species, 57 percent of the predicted amphibians, 32 percent of the predicted mammals, 40 percent of the predicted reptiles, 3 fish species, 148 invertebrate samples that are undergoing identification, and 169 plant species.

The Alliance will continue its work in Gig Harbor and it plans to conduct another bioblitz within the BMA using trained community members under professional guidance. These citizen scientists will go to properties missed during the first bioblitz. This training will enable citizens to help establish a benchmark of current species located within the BMA and will also contribute to long-term monitoring activity. Species observations recorded during this monitoring will be used to evaluate whether biodiversity conservation strategies are having positive and successful results.

The Alliance will convene a citizen-based advisory committee to help develop long-term biodiversity conservation strategies. The goal of these public workshops and committee processes will be to develop implementation measures to conserve biodiversity. These measures may include such actions as enrolling in county incentive-based land-protection programs (Public Benefits Rating System) or permanently dedicating or purchasing properties as open space (Conservation Futures Program), restoring native vegetation in areas of degraded habitat (Landowner Incentive Programs, Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary Program), and educating people on acceptable riparian/wetland land management. The Alliance will continue to invite new partners and organize community-planning sessions to craft a local vision plan for stewardship of their BMA.

The Result

The vision for protection or stewardship will be locally driven and tied to tangible factors, such as habitat loss, the introduction of exotic species, environmental degradation, and increased runoff and pollutants within the network. A locally based process is more likely to garner community support.

References

Dvornich, K,.K. Brooks, M. Tirhi, and J. Garner, 2006, Development of a Community Stewardship Program for the Pierce County Biodiversity Network, Gap Analysis Bulletin, Vol 13.

Learn more

Read:  Development of a Community Stewardship Program for the Pierce County Biodiversty Network (PDF, 177 kb)
Visit: Pierce County Biodiversity Planning website