U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS)


The Challenge

The goal of the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS) is to improve the health, function, and connectivity of southeastern ecosystems by 10% by 2060, a goal that will be more effectively advanced if the SECAS blueprint can be utilized for conservation and restoration prioritization and planning.

The need for actionable, science-based tools is particularly strong in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) and its associated watersheds, where both natural (e.g. storms, sea level rise) and human (e.g. oil spills, modification of river hydrology) stressors have resulted in loss of critical habitat.

Considerable investment in conservation and restoration projects, as well as tools for project prioritization and planning, is ongoing in the GOM to mitigate these threats.

The Approach

This program will illustrate and advance use of the SECAS blueprint to complement existing management support tools in the GOM, enable use of the blueprint in planning and implementation of conservation and restoration projects supported across a range of funding streams and align SECAS with state-level planning and project implementation programs.

To meet this need, the Institute is providing support in the form of technical analyses, modeling, and coordination with other technical experts to identify priority areas for resource conservation and to support justification of restoration projects that may be pursued by USFWS and partners through Gulf restoration programs. Specific focus is on supporting USFWS and partners’ development of a proposal for Chandeleur island restoration in Breton National Wildlife Refuge and on developing approaches and tools that may be used for future potential projects within other NWRs in the region such as Delta NWR, Big Branch Marsh NWR, and Bon Secour NWR.

The objectives of this program will be achieved through three modular and scalable projects within the Gulf of Mexico. One of these efforts, focused on the Chandeleur Islands, will illustrate use of the SECAS blueprint in project-level implementation and development of ecosystem metrics. The second effort will focus on alignment of the Louisiana Coastal Master Plan and the SECAS blueprint. The last effort will identify Gulfwide ecosystem stressors, which can then be integrated into SECAS for use in project prioritization and project-scale planning.