The objective of this Statement of Need (SON) was to develop improved and more cost effective management methods and strategic partnerships to effectively conserve Threatened and Endangered Species (TES) populations, meet broad diversity conservation goals, and minimize adverse impacts to the Department of Defense mission. These methods and strategies are needed in a regulatory environment in which decisions will increasingly be made on a landscape scale rather than an individual jurisdictional basis. Proposed efforts also addressed the context of a rapidly changing environment resulting from encroachment and climate change.
Specific research needs included the following:
Proposals submitted in response to this SON should have addressed one or more of the research needs listed above. Priority ecosystems of interest include terrestrial and freshwater aquatic ecosystems in the U.S. Southeast, U.S. Southwest, U.S. Great Basin, Alaska and Pacific Islands for which DoD has management responsibilities.
Funded projects will appear below as project overviews are posted to the website.
The desired outcomes are knowledge and tools for managers to: (1) evaluate installation TES management options and partner collaborations to minimize current and future restrictions to military training lands and how they may be applied to provide the context for the future management of species and ecosystems, (2) establish those conditions that foster the recovery of TES and their habitats where and when feasible and desirable, (3) address the future implications of dynamic factors including urban growth and climate change for recovery and management of critical species and habitats, and (4) help DoD evaluate the impact of and respond to evolving regulatory policy.
The DoD’s mission is to provide national defense; however, as a federal agency, the DoD is also required by the Endangered Species Act to conserve the federally listed TES that occur on the lands where it conducts training, testing, and all other functions essential for national defense. DoD installations are located in ecologically significant areas and provide refuge for a large number of the nation’s TES plants and animals. Balancing TES management with training requirements is an increasingly difficult responsibility as the number of listed species increases. Proactive management of these species, including coordinated leveraged partnering opportunities, has the potential to mitigate negative impacts of TES listing on military operations and improve the overall management and survival of these species.
Coordinated partnering opportunities are important for the DoD given the rapid increase in encroachment around military lands. While conservation management is not necessarily incompatible with training, it is limited to lands under the jurisdiction of the installation. In addition, benefits of land management may already be realized with little opportunity for improvement in habitat quality or size. Strategic partnering can proactively address management of species at risk, both within and outside the fence line, thereby decreasing the probability of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listing and improve the overall survival of the species. Several regional initiatives have recently been implemented for TES species that involve DoD installations including the Southeast Regional Partnership for Planning and Sustainability, Sentinel Landscapes, Regional Conservation Partner Program and the Sage Grouse Initiative. DoD partnering programs including the DoD Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration and Army Compatible Use Buffer programs are instrumental in implementing partnering opportunities on areas not currently designated as protected.
Accelerating climate change is significantly impacting the conservation of species, habitat, and ecosystem functions. Climatic changes are directly and indirectly impacting species abundance and distribution, and exacerbates the effects of other stressors, such as habitat fragmentation and military activities. The conservation of habitats within ecologically functioning landscapes is essential to sustaining TES and improving their resilience in the face of climate change impacts 3 and habitat loss. These threats to resource conservation often occur at large spatial scales. To address these challenges, it is necessary to understand the underlying science of these landscapes and for stakeholders to work together across federal, state, local, and private jurisdictions. The DoD must manage its lands across the spectrum of individual species to landscapes in order to address multiple regulatory and land stewardship requirements. DoD requires knowledge and tools to evaluate specific management strategies and alternatives within this spectrum of species and landscape scale management requirements.
The cost and time to meet the requirements of this SON are at the discretion of the proposer. Two options are available:
Standard Proposals: These proposals describe a complete research effort. The proposer should incorporate the appropriate time, schedule, and cost requirements to accomplish the scope of work proposed. SERDP projects normally run from two to five years in length and vary considerably in cost consistent with the scope of the effort. It is expected that most proposals will fall into this category.
Limited Scope Proposals: Proposers with innovative approaches to the SON that entail high technical risk or have minimal supporting data may submit a Limited Scope Proposal for funding up to $200,000 and approximately one year in duration. Such proposals may be eligible for follow-on funding if they result in a successful initial project. The objective of these proposals should be to acquire the data necessary to demonstrate proof-of-concept or reduction of risk that will lead to development of a future Standard Proposal. Proposers should submit Limited Scope Proposals in accordance with the SERDP Core Solicitation instructions and deadlines.