! Karen Bennett Determine web site host for native plant lists, update Natural Heritage web site data, and send link to Maria Taylor.

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1 DELAWARE BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION PARTNERSHIP SCIENCE INITIATIVE Minutes 9 September 2002, 1:30 pm 3:15 pm Attendance: Karen Bennett, DNHP, DFW, DNREC Mark Biddle, Watershed, DNREC Rob Line, Natural Areas, Parks, DNREC Rob Naczi, Claude E. Phillips Herbariums, DSU Action Items: Ellen Roca, TNC Maria Taylor, I&E, DNREC Jim White, DNS! ALL CAREFULLY review Short-term/Interim Biodiversity Mapping (below, pg 4 in these minutes). PLEASE provide critical feedback on the value of this GIS modeling / mapping effort, which is based on existing information. What is your reaction to this effort, what are your concerns?! ALL Review Biodiversity Assessment workshop document; the workshop PDF will be sent to Science Team in separate . Send comments to Rico Santiago and cc: Karen Bennett.! ALL Brainstorm a list of biodiversity information gaps you feel need to be filled. (i.e., what s missing?). Send your list to Karen Bennett even if it s one idea at a time, a short list or long list. Spare the details for now; you will be contacted for more info later.! ALL Next meeting How about Thurs December 5 th Please RSVP.! ALL - If you are interested in reviewing the native animal, plant or natural community list, please contact Karen Bennett Karen Bennett Determine web site host for native plant lists, update Natural Heritage web site data, and send link to Maria Taylor.! ALL - Join Biodiversity List Serve at 1. Introductions/New Members Sherri Evans-Stanton is DNREC s Biodiversity Partnership Coordinator. Sherri works out of the Office of the Secretary, and her role is to facilitate the progress of the Partnership through direct communication with the team chairs, tracking progress, identifying obstacles and helping teams move forward with their priority actions. Sherri is also responsible for advancing over-arching goals of the Partnership. Keri Maull, CIB, has moved to California. Keri has been replaced by Eric Buehl, Habitat Coordinator for CIB. Eric is actively working on the identification of priority sites/habitats for protection and restoration in the Inland Bays watershed. CIB holds regular habitat committee meetings with various agency/organization representatives to discuss species and habitat targets. This information will be used to compile a plan that will position the state for receiving Estuary Protection Act funds. Once

2 funds are appropriated, a state/estuary program must have a habitat protection and restoration plan in place in order to be eligible for funding. Susan McDowell, EPA, recently moved to another position. Susan has been replaced by Steven Donohue. Steven is also EPA s representative on the Biodiversity Steering Committee. Karen informed the group that a meeting was recently held with University of Delaware to identify U of DE staff that could serve on each implementation team and opportunities where U of DE could actively participate in implementing the Biodiversity Partnership s priority actions. The University offered to work with biodiversity-related programs that need graduate student assistance to conduct scientific research, including field studies of wildlife populations and economic studies of biodiversity value in DE. Nancy Target was suggested as an additional University representative on the Science Team. John Mackenzie, also with U of DE, is on the Team. 2. Biodiversity List Serve, Newsletter, Minutes The Science Team was asked to visit DNREC s Biodiversity web site to peruse available information, if not for their own use, but also to share these links with others wanting to learn more about the status of the Partnership, and Team activities. Members were encouraged to join the Biodiversity Partnership s list serve. List Serve: Newsletter, Agendas, Minutes: 3. Science Priority Action Review a. Native Species and Community List / Definitions The definitions (approved by the Science Team and the Steering Committee at previous meetings) and lists are complete. The lists of species and communities have not yet been distributed. Karen will solicit expertise in various taxonomic groups to provide a final review and comments on these lists. List Use We discussed the intended use of these lists. At present, we agree that the lists should not yet be used to set a native plant policy. Rather, it should be used as a reference list. Plant policies, or other policies related to native species, require consideration of several issues beyond the lists themselves. For example, as pointed out by Rob Line, there is difficulty in establishing a policy and referencing a native plant list when sources of native plant material are difficult to find for many species, and material offered up for sale may originate from an ecologically different region (thus is it truly native?). The Science Team will discuss at a future meeting the possibility of adopting more specific guidelines that will advise against using anything on the invasive plant list and will encourage the use of plants in the Native Plants for Landscaping booklet,

3 produced by the Delaware Native Plant Society, which has checked to see which species are available from local nurseries. For now, as an advisory group, the Biodiversity Partnership should use the native plant list as a reference, and endorse, encourage and support the use of native plants whenever possible. Invasive species list status Karen informed the group that there is currently a sub-committee of DISC that is evaluating ranking criteria for invasive species. This concept is being applied in other states to come up with defensible lists of invasive species. For now, DISC s current list of invasives was compiled with the best available information, and emphasizes risk to natural areas. However, Karen was not sure how far along the sub-committee is with developing ranking criteria. Karen will consult with Olin Allen, who is serving on the committee. A status report will be requested for the next Science meeting. List Availability The lists should be made available to the Partnership and the general public via a web site. However, the Team recommended that we investigate the feasibility of hosting the lists on the Delaware Invasive Species Council (DISC) web site or the Delaware Invasive Species Tracking System (DISTS) web site. The former is currently under conceptual development. DISC has a meeting tomorrow, at which time we will discover the status and host location. The latter, DISTS, is an internet mapping system / atlas for invasive species that is being developed under a grant from the USGS. It is not yet complete. Karen will discuss the best location for these lists with Olin Allen, Invasive Species Specialist with the Natural Heritage Program. Web Site General Discussion As we talked about which web site should host these lists, Jim White noted that, wherever they end up, there should be a regular review and update of the lists. Jim noted the Natural Heritage web site as an example. The information posted there is out of date. The group agreed that not enough resources are devoted to maintaining information resources on the web. Maria Taylor noted that we need to ensure there are adequate links on the DNREC s Biodiversity web to all of the State s biodiversity-related information. Karen agreed to work with Lynn Herman to determine how to update Natural Heritage information on the Division s web site; when ready she will send the link to Maria Taylor for the Biodiversity web site. The native plant lists may be placed on the Natural Heritage web site. Maria will be working with the Education Team and Sherri Evans-Stanton to increase web links on the Biodiversity web site. b. Biodiversity Assessment Karen noted that the Delaware Coastal Management Program (DCMP) hosted a workshop in February 2002 that brought together a diverse array of taxonomic experts to begin cataloging biodiversity-related data and information that currently exists in various agencies, organizations and universities. The DCMP staff compiled a draft summary of the workshop. Karen asked the Science Team to review the document. Team members asked specifically what they should focus on in their review/comments to DCMP Karen suggested that they evaluate the usefulness of the document, make recommendations on additional information they would like to see in it, and provide suggestions on formatting that would facilitate its use as a reference. PDF copies of the document will be sent to each Science Team member. Team

4 member need to provide input on this draft and send comments to DCMP and Karen Bennett. Karen reported that the assessment process is not finished, and that we still needed to determine biodiversity information gaps. Karen was unsure how DCMP intended to proceed, but DCMP placed high priority on receiving comments on the first workshop document before proceeding to the next step. In the meantime, those present agreed that all Team members, other taxonomic experts, and conservation planners should be solicited for lists of what they perceive to be our gaps in biodiversity information. Karen will add this as an Action Item in the minutes. c. Biodiversity Maps Resource Management Team recently requested guidance from the Science Team on which areas of the state should receive focus for Farm Bill funding aimed at conserving biological diversity. The Science Team will approach request in two ways: 1) A short-term, immediate biodiversity mapping effort using the best available, existing information in its current condition; and 2) A longer term (<2 years) more critical and detailed mapping exercise that depicts habitats and species at a fine scale. Ellen Roca also thought the Resource Team wanted criteria for the types of projects that should be funded. The latter was unclear, but the Science Team thought the best way to handle this was for there to be some sort of proposed project approval / recommendation process established so that the Science Team could advise the Resource Team on protection or restoration methods that are scientifically sound. If project criteria are developed, they should be general, e.g., focusing wetland restoration on prior converted wetlands. Karen will check with Lori Spanolo for clarification on project criteria. 1) Short-term/Interim Mapping Effort The Dept of Ag recently offered assistance in developing a GIS-based model for ranking tax parcels for biodiversity. The Biodiversity Assessment was used to select ready-to-use data layers, and recognizing limitations and caveats, a sub-group of the Science Team is working with Mark Davis of Ag Preservation to develop the components of the model for identifying biodiversity hotspots. At present, six data layers have been selected: Natural Heritage rare species data, Migratory Shorebird Concentration Areas, Horseshoe Crab Spawning Areas, forests >25 acres, riparian forests, and the Statewide Wetlands Mapping Project,. An effort was made to select data layers that were complete, GIS-ready, had statewide coverage and were representative of habitat or species locations. We avoided using layers that were derived from other existing data to avoid double counting. This process is currently underway with three meetings held so far (12, 15 and 22 Aug 2002). A fourth model-building meeting is scheduled for 10 Sept This is essentially an interim mapping project that will be refined as biodiversity layers are improved and information gaps filled through BioLegacy (see below). Ag is working with a consultant that will run the model and produce the maps. A prototype of this map may not be done Comments on this effort were requested from the Science Team. There was some concern that this map will develop a life of its own and be accepted as the final and best representation of biodiversity. It is very important that we carefully

5 review the map product(s) and discuss potential uses prior to any wide distribution. This is currently an exercise that is intended to help focus the Science Team and provide some guidance for Partnership as we continue working on a better quality depiction of biodiversity at the habitat level. The Science Team cautions against any other use until the products have been reviewed and discussed by Team member. We need to ensure the resulting model is accurate, and be very clear about potential applications. We must also make sure it is clear that data layers with greater detail will be available in < 2 years for fine-scale planning, habitat protection and restoration. Additional comments will be requested from Science Team members not present today. 2) BioLegacy Mapping In April 2002, DNREC invited Massachusetts to present their BioMap project to the Steering Committee and Science Team. BioMap incorporates core habitat for rare species and supporting landscape (i.e., large blocks of undeveloped vegetation that buffer and connect rare species habitat). Please see the following web site for more information about the project: A color booklet clearly describes the BioMap project, and is available from the MA program (visit their web site). Since this presentation, Delaware has decided to adopt the MA approach to mapping biodiversity, however, we will call our mapping effort BioLegacy in keeping with "Our Natural Legacy" theme. We are starting the effort in Oct 2002 and will complete the maps in less than 2 years. It is being jointly funded by NOAA through DCMP (Division of Soil and Water), the Division of Fish and Wildlife, and the Division of Parks and Recreation. Additional funds are being sought through the new Wildlife Conservation and Restoration Program and the State Wildlife Grants program administered through the USFWS. BioLegacy will closely mirror the MA effort. Using Biotics, a GIS program specially designed for managing rare species data, and methods developed by the Natural Heritage Network, we will focus on converting point observations of rare species into polygons that represent a greater accuracy on the ground and incorporate habitat for these species; field work and ground truthing will be an important part of this project. Additionally, we will incorporate maps of supporting landscape that will add buffer, connect habitats, and provide a coarse filter for protecting more common species as well. The supporting landscape is being developed by the Natural Areas Program (NAP). NAP is mapping forest tracts >25 acres and connecting forested riparian areas. Additionally, we will incorporate components of the State Wetlands Mapping layer. This effort will result in a more integrated landscape approach to depicting biological diversity throughout the state - thus moving beyond rare species observations as the sole indicator of biodiversity in DE. 4. Next meeting First week in December - Karen will solicit best date from Science Team. Thurs December 5 th looks good, but need confirmation.

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