Chesapeake Conservancy Launches New Tool for Nanticoke River Ini - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Chesapeake Conservancy Launches New Tool for Nanticoke River Initiative

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ANNAPOLIS, Md.- The Chesapeake Conservancy recently released a new interactive conservation planning tool to enhance conservation efforts along the Nanticoke River. 

The aim is for this tool to add to ongoing efforts along the Nanticoke corridor to identify new opportunities for conservation and collaboration, Conservancy officials said. .

“The Nanticoke River Conservation Opportunities Analyst represents a way that the Conservancy and partners can build on current conservation successes along the Nanticoke and expand those efforts to high priority landscapes throughout the broader watershed," said Jeff Alelenby, director of conservation innovation. "We hope this tool will be used to build consensus around future opportunities that will protect the region's highest value cultural, historical, and ecological resources."

Officials said that for the past several years, the Conservancy has made efforts to protect an 8,500-acre wildlife expanse composed of forests, wetlands, and farmland in the Nanticoke River watershed. This Nanticoke River Initiative leverages funding and resources from private, non-profit, state, and federal entities to accomplish more in partnership than could be done by any one organization.

The Nanticoke River was recently designated a priority for the United States Department of Agriculture's Regional Conservation Partnership Program and the Department of Defense's Readiness and Environmental Protection and Integration program. Through that, the opportunity to broaden the impact of current efforts and increase the level of conservation throughout the Nanticoke River watershed is available. 

To assist in this expansion, the Conservancy developed the web-based Nanticoke River Conservation Opportunities Analyst. When used in conjunction with each partner's prioritization plan, it can pin-point joint priorities for expanding the scope of the group's effort.

Officials said the Analyst enables users to identify high priority landscapes according to user goals. Additionally, the user will gain a better understanding of how regional priorities change based on the importance placed on any given category. 

Hosted online through Chesapeake Conservancy's website, the Analyst allows users to adjust five sliding bars to characterize how they value each type of resource. After a user adjusts each slider and clicks the “Compute Opportunity Areas” button, an analysis is completed and a composite layer showing landscapes with a High, Moderate-High, or Moderate potential is rendered. Users can pan and zoom on the map to view specific areas of interest and understand how the landscape around them ranks.  

Officials said that because the analysis typically takes only 10-15 seconds, it is easy to run multiple scenarios, adjusting the weight of each category to see which high-value areas change and which remain the same.

For more information on the Chesapeake Conservancy or the Analyst, visit www.chesapeakeconservancy.org

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