Thanks to funding from the Carls Foundation, HRWC has created a set of maps and GIS data the Livingston Land Conservancy (LLC) can use for their strategic conservation planning. Land conservancies throughout the State of Michigan are working on these plans in order to most efficiently use limited funding and other resources to target preservation efforts on the most important natural lands, such as forests, wetlands, and grasslands, and also farmland. These plans are also required for conservancies to achieve accreditation.
HRWC began with its Bioreserve Map, which prioritizes natural areas based on 15 different ecological criteria, including size, whether a wetland or waterway is on the site, the potential for the site to be a groundwater recharge area, and connectivity with other natural areas. After discussions with LLC, HRWC added several more criteria, including whether a site was in a headwater area, whether a site harbored especially endangered ecosystems (such as conifer swamp or oak opening), and the existence of glacial features.
LLC will use the maps and GIS data in their day-to-day decision making about which lands to pursue for making land deals to permanently preserve natural lands and farmland, and also to create their strategic conservation plan to submit for accreditation.