August 2016 Posts

Importance of Relationships: Lessons Learned as CLCC Acting Coordinator

Dr. Lisamarie Carrubba, NOAA Fisheries, shares a brief reflection on lessons learned as CLCC Acting Coordinator from July 20th to August 18th, 2016.


Dr. Lisamarie Carrubba talking with colleagues at the CLCC's first stakeholder meeting in the U.S. Virgin Islands, May 2013. Left to Right: Lisamarie Carrubba, NOAA; Susan Silander, USFWS; Pedro Rios, USFS, William Gould, USFS IITF.

Dr. Lisamarie Carrubba talking with colleagues at the CLCC’s first stakeholder meeting in the U.S. Virgin Islands, May 2013. Left to Right: Lisamarie Carrubba, NOAA; Susan Silander, USFWS; Pedro Rios, USFS, William Gould, USFS IITF.

One of the first things I decided to do as the CLCC Acting Coordinator was to meet with Dr. Ariel Lugo, the Director of the U.S. Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestry, the agency that handles the operations of the Cooperative through an interagency agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  When he came into my loaner office (thanks Brent!), he expressed surprise that I had a caged bird rather than a fish with me as a NOAA Fisheries scientist. I explained that I rescued a baby bird with a broken wing and parasitic fly larvae and raised it until it could be released back into the wild. It traveled with me daily to the office, having to be hand-fed throughout the day. The bird probably felt more at home than me.

It’s true I was a bit of a fish out of water sitting in an office in a botanical garden instead of a place near the beach, but I adapted.  I quickly established a name for myself here at the International Institute of Tropical Forestry being the person with the bird. Being here at IITF (and having a special squawking calling card), made it possible for me to work on strengthening relationships after recent changes in the structure of the CLCC and a reworking of the interagency agreement between the USFWS and IITF.  It also helped to identify, through many drop-in visits and hallway conversations, areas where we needed to lay out clear procedures for getting things done under the agreement – like budget tracking, contracts, grants, and other areas essential for the CLCC, or any partnership program, to operate efficiently (with IITF’s help).

This 30-day detail I’ve placed a strategic emphasis on inter personal relationships. Too often in today’s information age we choose email and internet-based tools to communicate. It seems like the efficient option and a time saver. However, I’m sure in the wider international conservation community we all have personal anecdotes of ways an email has done damage when a simple in-person conversation would have mended, not divided. This is one of many important partnership success factors for cooperative conservation.

So the next time you decide to send a curt email, walk down the hall instead or follow up the email with a telephone call to the person and start the conversation by asking about family, sports, or something else of interest to the person you called.  There is no substitute for personal relationships and face-to-face conversations.  These are what will move our Cooperative forward.

Writing notes on National Light Pollution Awareness Day in Puerto Rico

Partnership and Communications Coordinator, Kasey R. Jacobs, is focused today on helping the CLCC Dune Building and Stabilization with Vegetation Conservation Action Team draft a grant proposal for project funding. During the desktop research the following language on artificial light impacts on green sea turtles was uncovered. As today is Puerto Rico’s Light Pollution Awareness Day, we felt it appropriate to share. 

From U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Multi-Species Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) Recovery Plan for South Florida:

“Artificial Lighting: Extensive research has demonstrated that the principal component of the sea-finding behavior of emergent hatchlings is a visual response to light (Daniel and Smith 1947, Hendrickson 1958, Carr and Ogren 1960, Ehrenfeld and Carr 1967, Dickerson and Nelson 1989, Witherington and Bjorndal 1991). Artificial beachfront lighting from buildings, streetlights, dune crossovers, vehicles, and other types of beachfront lights have been documented in the disorientation (loss of bearings) and misorientation (incorrect orientation) of hatchling turtles (McFarlane 1963, Philibosian 1976, Mann 1977, Ehrhart 1983).

The results of disorientation or misorientation are often fatal. Many lighting ordinance requirements do not become effective until 11 p.m., whereas over 30 percent of hatchling emergence occurs prior to this time (Witherington et al. 1990). As hatchlings head toward lights or meander along the beach, their exposure to predators and likelihood of desiccation is greatly increased. Misoriented hatchlings can become entrapped in vegetation or debris, and many hatchlings are found dead on nearby roadways and in parking lots after being struck by vehicles. Hatchlings that successfully find the water may be misoriented after entering the surf zone or while in nearshore waters. Intense artificial lighting can even draw hatchlings back out of the surf (Daniel and Smith 1947, Carr and Ogren 1960). During the period 1989 to 1990, a total of 37,159 misoriented hatchlings were reported to the Florida Department of Natural Resources (now DEP). Undoubtedly a large but unquantifiable number of additional misorientation events occurred but were not documented due to obliteration of observable sign, depredation, entrapment in thick vegetation, loss in storm drains, or obliteration of carcasses by vehicle tires.

The problem of artificial beachfront lighting is not restricted to hatchlings. In June 1992, a nesting loggerhead was killed by an automobile as it wandered Page 4-591 GREEN SEA TURTLE Multi-Species Recovery Plan for South Florida onto Highway AlA at Patrick Air Force Base in Cocoa Beach, Florida, misoriented by lights from the west side of the highway. Raymond (1984a) indicated that adult loggerhead emergence patterns were correlated with variations in beachfront lighting in south Brevard County, Florida, and that nesting females avoided areas where beachfront lights were the most intense. Witherington (1992) found that both green and loggerhead sea turtles showed a significant tendency to avoid stretches of beach lighted with white mercuryvapor luminaires. Witherington (1986) noted that loggerheads aborted nesting attempts at a greater frequency in lighted areas. Problem lights may not be restricted to those placed directly on or in close proximity to nesting beaches. The background glow associated with intensive inland lighting, such as that emanating from nearby large metropolitan areas, may deter nesting females and disorient or misorient hatchlings navigating the nearshore waters. Cumulatively, along the heavily developed beaches of the southeastern U.S., the negative effects of artificial lights are profound.”


A green sea turtle rests atop a bed of sea grass, one of its primary food sources. Photo by Baillieux Daniel via Flickr under a Creative Commons license.

A green sea turtle rests atop a bed of sea grass, one of its primary food sources. Photo by Baillieux Daniel via Flickr under a Creative Commons license.


Job Opportunities & Internships

Job Opportunities & Internships

CLCC Communications Assistant/Intern Position Open. Application Deadline: Rolling deadline (all year round). Read the full internship announcement. 

CLCC Data Management Assistant/Intern Position Open. Application Deadline: Rolling deadline (all year round). Read the full internship announcement. 

CLCC Virtual Meeting Facilitator. Paid per meeting. We have funding available for Virtual Meeting Facilitators to assist us during annual conferences and quarterly Steering Committee meetings. No experience necessary. Contact our Partnership & Communications Coordinator if you would like to be added to our list of potential service providers.

National Wildlife Refuge Association is hiring a Caribbean Conservation Coordinator. Read Position Description. 

Island Conservation is hiring a Bahamas Project Manager. Read Position Description. 

US Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestry is hiring a Supervisory Biologist. Read Position Description. 

US Forest Service is hiring a Volunteers and Partnerships Specialist. Read Position Description. 


Do you have a job opportunity or internship you would like the Caribbean conservation community to know about? Please contact the CLCC Partnership & Communications Coordinator


July 2016 CLCC Quarterly Connections Newsletter


Announcing the new CLCC Coordinator and more!

¡Para la version en español haga clic aquí!

Inside this Issue:

  • Progress Report: CLCC Steering Committee continues restructuring progress
  • Announcement of new CLCC Coordinator – Welcome Dr. Miguel “Toño” García!
  • Brief notes from Conservation Action Teams
  • New on the CLCC Conservation Planning Atlas
  • Rare Elfin Woods Warbler receives Endangered Species Act Protection
  • Opportunities for students and young professionals
  • New story map for the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy
  • Missed the #CaribbeanClimateTalks webinar last month? View recording.
  • New Opportunities and Events
  • Publications and Reports

Feature Photo: Members of the CLCC Steering Committee met at US EPA Region 2 Caribbean Environmental Protection Division headquarters in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico on June 28th, 2016.
Photo Credit: Natalie Giro, US EPA Intern

We are a science partnership among research and management agencies, organizations and individuals who are interested in achieving a sustainable future for the Caribbean Islands, by addressing cooperatively the issues that currently threaten our natural and cultural resources.

Progress Report: CLCC Steering Committee Continues Restructuring Progress

In the March 2016 Quarterly Connections Newsletter Recent Progress in Our Strategic Direction, we announced the Steering Committee’s decision to hire a full-time coordinator. The search then began for a highly qualified individual to be the lead facilitator of cooperative activities and programs. The new coordinator’s responsibilities are: 1) to ensure the Cooperative coordinates across geographic areas and other boundaries; 2) provides scientific and technical coordination support to the activities and programs of the CLCC; 3) facilitates scientific expertise, coordination, and leadership in developing fish and wildlife conservation strategies and plans; 4) provides leadership in creating, guiding, facilitating, and nurturing an interdependent network; and 5) serves as supervisor for a staff of scientists, planners, and other professionals from CLCC-member agencies assigned to or working for the CLCC.

Photo Credit: Natalie Giro, US EPA Intern

While the search for the full-time coordinator was underway, Brent Murry, CLCC Science Coordinator and Science Applications Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS); Iván Llerandi-Román, Caribbean Coordinator of the Partner for Fish and Wildlife and Coastal Programs, USFWS; and Soledad Gaztambide, Policy and Government Relations Coordinator for Para la Naturaleza (the Puerto Rico Conservation Trust) each served as the Acting Coordinator for varying periods of time. Prior to the selected coordinator being able to assume his new role, Lisamarie Carrubba, Natural Resource Planner and lead of the NOAA Fisheries Caribbean Field Office and a CLCC founding member will fill the role of Acting Coordinator. Thank you to the USFWS, Para la Naturaleza, and NOAA Fisheries for providing this series of detailees.

At the same face-to-face meeting at Para La Naturaleza headquarters in November 2015 where it was decided to hire a full-time coordinator, the Steering Committee acknowledged the need to set a strategic direction for the CLCC. It was determined that a new internal structure was needed to maximize the energy and resources of individual member organizations. Chairperson Leo Miranda, USFWS Assistant Regional Director for Ecological Services in the Southeast U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and founding CLCC member, presented the committee with his decision to step down as chair. Leo acknowledged the need for a chair who can dedicate more time to CLCC issues, such as the restructuring process. In accordance with this new direction, the co-chairs and founding members Jean-Pierre Oriol, Director of the Virgin Islands DPNR-Division of Coastal Zone Management, and Ernesto L. Diaz, Director of the Puerto Rico DNER-Climate Change and Coastal Zone Office, also stepped down, though all three continue serving on the Steering Committee. The CLCC staff wishes to thank Leo, Ernesto, and Jean-Pierre for their leadership and service since 2012. We look forward to continuing to work together in these exciting times of large-scale conservation partnerships in the region. Continue reading the progress report…

New CLCC Coordinator:
Welcome Dr. Miguel “Toño” García!

Earlier this month, the USFWS selected the new Coordinator for the Caribbean Landscape Conservation Cooperative — Dr. Miguel García.

Miguel is currently the Undersecretary for Protected Areas and Biodiversity for the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER). He has also served as the Director of Fisheries and Wildlife, Endangered Species Coordinator, and as a Wildlife Biologist for the DNER. During his career, he has received numerous appointments and recognitions, including serving as the Puerto Rico representative to the Caribbean Biological Corridor Initiative, a United Nations Program, as an Affiliate Researcher at the University of Puerto Rico Center for Applied Tropical Ecology and Conservation, and is currently the President of the Puerto Rico Chapter of the American Fisheries Society. Miguel holds a Bachelor and Master degrees in Biology from the University of Puerto Rico and a Ph.D. from the School of Natural Resources and Environment of the University of Michigan. He is expected to report as the new CLCC coordinator later this summer.

Leopoldo Miranda, CLCC Steering Committee member and former Chair, would like to thank Jerry McMahon and Jorge Baez of the CLCC Steering Committee; Edwin Muñiz, Project Leader for the Caribbean Ecological Services Office; and Luis Santiago and Allan Brown from the USFWS Regional Directorate for their help in the selection process.
Join us in welcoming Dr. Miguel García to the Caribbean LCC!

Photo Credit: Aitza Pabón, DNER

Brief Conservation Action Team Notes

Protected Areas

The Protected Areas Conservation Action Team (PA-CAT), composed of the principal entities that manage Puerto Rico’s natural resources, celebrated the announcement that Puerto Rico achieved protection of 16 percent of its territory in April 2016.

The 16 percent target was reached by adding existing Natural Protected Areas (NPAs) acquired by the Commonwealth not previously counted toward that end, the acquisition of new lands for conservation by governmental and non-governmental organizations, and a revision of the methodology traditionally used to count NPAs, which included the development of a new definition of NPAs that is in line with the parameters established in the United States and the International Union for Conservation of Nature at the global level.

This new definition by the PA-CAT establishes that “A Natural Protected Area is a geographic area clearly defined and limited through legal or other effective means for long-term conservation of nature, biodiversity, ecological services and associated cultural values.”

To learn more about the new methodology, read a blog article or, for more detailed information, read the Puerto Rico Team’s Technical Note here in Spanish.


Dune Building and Stabilization with Vegetation

The Conservation Action Team focused on dune systems (Dune-CAT; Dune Building and Stabilization with Vegetation CAT) is currently working to select beaches in Puerto Rico suitable for dune restoration and stabilization using vegetation. To do so, they are using existing inventories of beaches from the Puerto Rico DNER Office for Coastal Management and Climate Change; Dr. Maritza Barreto, University of Puerto Rico – Río Piedras; and Dr. Rosana Grafals Soto, University of Puerto Rico – Cayey. The CAT is using these data along with other qualitative and quantitative data for a select set of team-designed criteria to perform a landscape-scale analysis in order to find candidate beaches.

The selected beaches will be used for demonstration sites, education and awareness building, nursery propagation, and the development of a municipal guide to dune building and stabilization with vegetation.  Municipalities with candidate beaches around Puerto Rico will then have a guide and be able to consider dune restoration as a means to protect critical infrastructure, coastal communities, and coastal ecosystems.  If you are interested in joining the Dune-CAT and assisting with this landscape analysis to find candidate beaches, please contact Pedro González of Mare Society at

Photo Credit: Ricardo J. Colón-Rivera, DNER

New on the CLCC Conservation Planning Atlas


Last year the CLCC began a partnership with the Conservation Biology Institute to enhance the data discovery, visualization, and analytical platform for stakeholders throughout the Caribbean through the CLCC Conservation Planning Atlas (CPA). The CLCC continues to use the CLCC Data Center and Interactive Map for sharing spatial layers and climate data for the region but the CPA is meant for a broader audience. With the CLCC CPA, users can view, retrieve and perform analyses on geospatial data collected for specific conservation goals and priorities; search for spatial datasets; visualize CLCC-supported projects; and learn more about landscape scale conservation science and design in the region. Currently the CPA has two galleries, one for the PA-CAT and another for the Cay Systems CAT that are open to the public.

Have research or management questions that would benefit from spatial data? View, analyze, and download the datasets today!

Rare Elfin Woods Warbler Receives Federal Endangered Species Act Protection

Photo Credit: Mike Morel

A message from former Acting Coordinator Soledad Gaztambide-Arandes, Para La Naturaleza:

I was asked to share this important news with the CLCC Steering Committee and partners. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officially listed the Elfin Woods Warbler (Setophaga angelae) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. As you know, this is a complex and long process. We congratulate the FWS Regional and Field Offices on this effort and hope that they are able to complete the process of extending protection to this species’ critical habitat. They are accepting comments on the proposed critical habitat rule until August 22. Continue reading

Opportunities for Students and Young Professionals

CLCC Communications Assistant/Intern Position Available. Application Deadline: Rolling deadline (all year round). Read the full internship announcement. 

CLCC Data Management Assistant/Intern Position Available. Application Deadline: Rolling deadline (all year round). Read the full internship announcement. 

Virtual Meeting Facilitator. Paid per meeting. We have funding available for Virtual Meeting Facilitators to assist us during annual conferences and quarterly Steering Committee meetings. No experience necessary. Contact our Partnership & Communications Coordinator if you would like to be added to our list of potential service providers.

New Story Map for the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy Features PR and USVI

The dramatic changes sweeping the United States’ Southeast and Caribbean regions —urbanization, competition for water resources, extreme weather events, sea-level rise, and climate change — pose unprecedented challenges for sustaining natural and cultural resources. However, they also offer a clear opportunity to unite the conservation community around a shared, long-term vision for the future. The Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS) is that vision.

Six Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) across the Southeast have joined forces with the Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to create a website for the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS). SECAS was initiated by states of the Southeastern Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies and the federal Southeast Natural Resource Leaders Group with support from Southeast and Caribbean LCCs and the Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership. SECAS is bringing together people and organizations to design and achieve a connected network of landscapes and seascapes that supports thriving fish and wildlife populations and improved quality of life for people across the southeastern United States and the Caribbean. The website explains the need for SECAS, explains the “Blueprint” conservation design processes being carried out across the six LCCs, features a Story Map of example projects, and more, including two from Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands. Explore the new SECAS website at

Cynthia Edwards, SECAS Coordinator, recently provided a SECAS summary for the Southeast and Caribbean LCCs. View the summary here >>


Missed the #CaribbeanClimateTalks Webinar last month? View recording. 

Status of Developing Multi-Model Ensemble Projections for Ecologically Relevant Climate Variables in Puerto Rico & U.S. Virgin Islands


#CaribbeanClimateTalks Webinar - June 27, 2016


New Opportunities and Events

National Wildlife Refuge Association is hiring a Caribbean Conservation Coordinator. Read Position Description. 

Island Conservation is hiring a Bahamas Project Manager. Read Position Description. 

Supervisory Biologist at US Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestry. Read Position Description. 

NOAA Coastal Ecosystem Resiliency Grants Program. Read more here. 

Webinar: An Overview of NRCS’s PLANTS database. Read more here. 

Annual Conference of the Southeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Baton Rouge, LA.  Read more here. 

8th National Summit on Coastal and Estuarine Restoration and 25th Biennial Meeting of The Coastal Society, New Orleans, LA. Read more here.

Publications and Reports

National Academy of Sciences Review of the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives.

USDA Caribbean Regional Climate Sub Hub Agricultural Vulnerability Assessment for Puerto Rico & the US Virgin Islands.

US Virgin Islands Report: Ecosystem-based Adaptation Guidance Promoting Resilient Coastal and Marine Communities.

US Virgin Islands Climate Products Factsheet

Quantifying key drivers of climate variability and change for Puerto Rico and the Caribbean by K.Hayhoe. Read the Report.

New Landscape Conservation Cooperative Network Strategic Plan 2014. Read the Plan.

Downscaled Climate Projections for the Southeast United States: Evaluation and Use for Ecological Applications. Read the Report.

National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy. Taking Action Progress Report September 2014. Read the Progress Report.

A Compendium of Conservation Organizations for the US Virgin Islands & Puerto Rico. Read the Report.

A Compendium of Conservation Organizations for the Insular Caribbean, Belize, Suriname, Guyana. Read the Report.

State of the Birds 2014 Report. Read the Report.

National Climate Assessment: Tools for Educators. Our Changing Climate.

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