Manitoba's Scientific Advisory Committee
Across the country, some of Canada's top scientists are tramping through forests, roaming across grasslands and visiting river estuaries. These volunteers are helping the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) with its biodiversity targets and conservation priorities. They are part of NCC's Scientific Advisory Network (SAN). The SAN is a cross-country network of scientific advisors and local ecologists.
In each Region, a SAN guides NCC's conservation work. SAN members work with staff and volunteers on a variety of science-based tasks, from biological inventories to long-term stewardship plans. Members of each region's SAN are chosen based on their expertise and dedication to conservation.
In Manitoba, NCC is particularly fortunate to have the guidance of a core group of highly-regarded scientists, the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC). Members of the SAC help assess the scientific validity of NCC's conservation work at both the landscape scale and property scale. The SAC also reviews project proposals for properties that NCC is considering for securement. The proposals include details such as location, biological inventories, information on natural communities present and the degree of disturbance. The SAC meets to consult about the properties presented and provides NCC with a detailed assessment of the conservation value for each one.
Once a property's conservation value is verified, the SAC Chair, who is also a Regional Board member, makes a recommendation to the Regional Board of Directors.
"We are privileged to have these dedicated individuals working with NCC here in Manitoba," says Jeff Polakoff, NCC regional vice-president in Manitoba. "We have a small staff that relies heavily on the leadership of these science professionals. They regularly provide us with conservation data and work by consensus to decide where we should focus our efforts. Our work in Manitoba wouldn't be as successful as it is without the SAC. "
Members of the Manitoba SAC
- Robert Wrigley, Ph.D. - mammalogist
- Bob Jones, Ph.D. - bird expert
- Terry Galloway, Ph.D. - entomologist
- Liz Punter - botanist
- Nicola Koper, PhD. - terrestrial ecologist
- Larry De March - aquatic biologist
In turn, the members of the SAC consult with more than 50 other Manitoba scientists to ensure that NCC is meeting its conservation targets.
Robert Wrigley, Chair of Manitoba's SAC, says: "We trust NCC to make it work on the landscape. There are many conservation organizations, but none can compare in the achievements of NCC in land conservation. Effort and donor dollars get immediate results. "
Key NCC Manitoba research questions
Informed and defensible land-use and biodiversity conservation management decisions depend on the incorporation of the best available science, expert opinion and community values. NCC conducts multi-scale planning designed to conserve the most important and viable natural areas while still respecting local and provincial economies and local communities. One of the outcomes of this planning process is the identification of key knowledge gaps.
NCC's Manitoba Region is interested in research partnerships to address these knowledge gaps. NCC is interested in forging/strengthening research projects in its priority natural areas and on its properties. Where projects align with NCC’s conservation goals, NCC will consider supporting researchers through in-kind data, expertise, lodging and access to lands. If congruencies are high and resources allow, NCC may also provide funds to support the research.
Researchers interested in partnering with NCC on projects listed below should contact the Manitoba Region’s conservation science manager to discuss their proposed project.
Recording riparian plant species in Riding Mountain Natural Area, MB (Photo by NCC)