This project intends to identify factors leading to cross-boundary mitigation in a rapidly changing environment. Researchers define successful mitigation as that which facilitates ongoing military operations, provides economically viable opportunities for partners to participate in conservation, and leads to net increases in habitat quality for threatened and endangered species (TES). To assess attributes associated with success, researchers will conduct a rapid, national assessment of the ecological, institutional, and economic characteristics and outcomes of existing cross-boundary mitigation efforts. Researchers will answer four research questions. First, what are the characteristics of TES mitigation projects involving public-private partnerships? Second, to what degree are ecological, institutional, and economic successes evaluated, and how does perceived success relate to empirically measured outcomes? Third, what are the drivers of cross-jurisdictional mitigation success? Fourth, do mitigation efforts adaptively address non-stationarity and directional environmental and societal change?
To evaluate the research questions, researchers first will identify and characterize existing cross-jurisdictional mitigation collaborations nationally. They will prioritize efforts in which the Department of Defense (DoD) is a partner, and will limit the scope of the analysis to mitigation efforts that span jurisdictional boundaries (e.g., agency boundaries, boundaries between public and private lands). Next, they will measure the success of these mitigation efforts. Researchers will combine the data on project attributes with a survey of individuals closely involved with each mitigation effort to assess perceived ecological, institutional, and economic outcomes. Finally, the researchers will associate success with system and partner characteristics. They will use comparative case analysis to identify ecological, partner, and institutional characteristics associated with measured and perceived outcomes.
This project directly addresses Statement of Need (SON) RCSON18-C1 by developing a model for evaluating cross-boundary habitat mitigation. The results will identify the current approaches, strengths, challenges, and major gaps in information of cross-jurisdiction, spatially extensive mitigation initiatives. The research will inform the implementation of future multi-partner DoD mitigation initiatives that facilitate both DoD operations and conservation of habitat for TES on private lands. Collectively, the deliverables will outline the range of observed institutional arrangements to mitigate negative effects to TES given different DoD training and species management objectives; link these mitigation efforts with ecological, institutional, and economic outcomes; identify conditions and characteristics associated with successful outcomes; and summarize opportunities and obstacles to developing cross-boundary, spatially extensive mitigation efforts on the basis of lessons from previous and ongoing efforts.