Recovering an endangered species takes all hands on deck. Each year, CNLM works with federal and state agencies to coordinate species-specific working groups for three federally listed prairie species. This fall, key members of the conservation communities for the streaked horned lark, Mazama pocket gopher, and Taylor's checkerspot each gathered for their annual range-wide working group meetings to provide project updates, discuss management actions, and prioritize tasks to move recovery forward. These meetings brought together dozens of individuals representing a wide range of entities and identified new and recurring actions that each group feels should be prioritized. Each meeting included an update from the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) on recovery planning, underway for each species, and the ways in which the action plan from each working group is laying the groundwork for the recovery plan.
Select highlights for each group are as follows: for the lark group, a new lark partner biologist has been hired for the Willamette Valley, a priority identified at the 2015 meeting, and workshop will be held in Spring 2017 at a Willamette Valley Refuge for land managers to discuss lark-compatible actions and meet the new partner biologist; the gopher group prioritized continued action on short- and long-term strategies to address development pressure via regulation such as the Thurston County HCP and CNLM's Mazama Meadows Conservation Bank; and the Taylor's checkerspot group identified the need for a separate meeting to prioritize the many information gaps that have been identified by the group, continued focus on pairing increased understanding of habitat requirements with restoration efforts, and continued captive rearing and reintroduction. Meeting notes and updated action plans for this year and years prior can be found on the Cascadia Prairie Oak Partnership website at http://cascadiaprairieoak.org/working-groups.