||Pre-compliance conservation involves landowners working cooperatively with conservation
managers to conserve imperiled yet unprotected species. This strategy has the potential
to conserve many species by bypassing a long and contentions listing process under
the federal Endangered Species Act. The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) wants to
pursue pre-compliance measures in North Carolina. Unfortunately, species require different
mitigation strategies on the basis of the stressors they face and their unique suites
of life history traits. EDF is unclear which strategies could potentially conserve
the greatest number of species.
This masters project identifies pre-compliance programs with the potential to protect
multiple species. I targeted wetland or aquatic species that are imperiled yet unprotected,
and focused on four North Carolina regions that had large numbers of target populations.
I conducted a spatial threat analysis to identify the main stressor within each region,
and identified potential mitigation techniques for each of these stressors. I then
analyzed policy tools that might be used to implement these mitigation techniques.
Finally, I conducted a literature review on the life history characteristics of the
target species to ensure that the chosen mitigation techniques and policy tools aligned
with the dominant species traits in each region.
In western North Carolina, landowners should retrofit dams to naturalize stream flow
conditions. In southern North Carolina, landowners should establish riparian buffers
to limit runoff, reduce stream temperatures, and restore woody debris to aquatic ecosystems.
In eastern North Carolina, landowners should establish riparian buffers and improve
their management practices and technology. Threats in central North Carolina are more
varied, and a combination of mitigation strategies may be needed. Several tools are
available to implement these strategies, including Farm Bill conservation programs
and federal guidelines to incorporate ecosystem services. This project hopes to provide
a tool to aid EDF in its ability to optimize preemptive species conservation.