Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Congratulations to the Washington Natural Heritage Program

by David G. Anderson

Eight CNHP staff attended the Biodiversity Without Boundaries (BWB) conference this year in Portland, Oregon. BWB is hosted by NatureServe in April every year and is a gathering of the members of the Network of Natural Heritage Programs and their broad group of partners. The conference was excellent this year and included numerous highlights that we will share in a few subsequent blogs.

One exciting event for Colorado was to help celebrate the Washington Natural Heritage Program’s receipt of the NatureServe’s Member Program Conservation Achievement Award this year! This is very exciting to us because of our numerous ties with Washington NHP. Our closest tie is a former employee, Joe Rocchio, who moved to the Washington NHP in 2007. While working at CNHP Joe, with scientists at NatureServe and the Environmental Protection Agency, began developing methods for Ecological Integrity Assessment (EIA) for wetland plant communities. He has spearheaded efforts to use these methods to create a much more rigorous and transparent approach to assigning element occurrence ranks to individual occurrences of plant communities.

John Gamon, the director of the Washington Natural Heritage Program (at podium) accepts the Member Program Conservation Achievement Award. Joe Rocchio, WNHP Ecologist (in plaid shirt) listens along with Mary Klein, CEO of NatureServe (seated), and another WNHP staff member (background). Photo by Dave Anderson.

Joe has continued to develop these methods at Washington NHP. Washington has now developed EIAs for 67 plant communities in Washington including numerous upland types. Congratulations to Washington NHP for their success and leadership!

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