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December 2007 E-Update
By Jim Hawhee, APNEP Policy & Engagement Manager
Lindsey Smart, left, conducts vegetation surveys in Kentucky's Mammoth Cave National Park
A few weeks ago, Lindsey Smart joined the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership as our new project coordinator. A graduate of Bucknell and Duke universities, Lindsey most recently worked at NatureServe before coming aboard. To introduce her to our partners around the region, we thought a brief interview was in order for this edition of Soundings.
Jim: Tell us a little about the project management part of your job.
Lindsey: I’ll be assisting in the coordination of projects and contracts funded by APNEP as well as other sources. I help track grants and associated contracts for the program, along with subsequent budget actions. I also provide staff support to the APNEP advisory committees – the Policy Board, the Science and Technical Advisory Committee, and the Implementation Committee. I will be your “go-to gal” for grants and contracts questions. And I’m looking forward to working closely with all of APNEP’s great partners!
J: A lot of our partners will also get to know you when we collect information for GPRA each fall.
L: Yes, the Government Performance Results Act is just one of several pieces of legislation that weighs in on performance reporting. We are required to provide this information to EPA each year, and it provides a census of restoration and protection actions in our region by all of the region’s conservation partners. GPRA reporting also supports our ecosystem-based management approach, in that it considers efforts across all ecosystem types by all of our partners in the region. It is an excellent way to garner support and keeps the community well-informed with program activities and progress.
J: Of course, we didn’t just bring you on board solely to manage contracts. You’ve spent quite a bit of time driving ArcGIS too.
L: I’m a strong proponent of using GIS (Geographic Information Systems) as a decision-support tool for conservation planning and natural resource management. At NatureServe, I performed spatial analyses at both regional and national scales, including species at risk analyses, predictive species distribution modeling, spatially-explicit conservation prioritization analyses, sampling design development, vegetation mapping accuracy assessments and more. I’m looking forward to applying my acquired ArcGIS skills here at APNEP!
Lindsey smiling, despite that pile of paperwork...
J: Now that you’re getting the lay of the land, what projects are you looking forward to taking on first?
L: Wow, APNEP has so many great projects that I’m eager to work on; it’s going to be difficult to name just a couple. But I guess if I had to choose the one I’d tackle first, I’m most interested in getting the projects and data that APNEP has been collecting out there to the public in an intuitive and interpretable way. This would be in the form of a conservation planning atlas and data portal. This project is one of the actions in APNEP’s Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) and will further the identification of significant resources within the APNEP region.
I’m also very interested in monitoring, protecting, and restoring wetlands and riparian areas. Wetlands are extremely valuable- they help decrease flooding, remove pollutants from water, recharge groundwater, protect shorelines, provide critical habitat for wildlife, and serve as important recreational and cultural resources. A better grasp on wetland monitoring and assessment can help guide our protection and restoration efforts.
J: How does your expertise as a terrestrial ecologist translate into managing aquatic ecosystems like our rivers and sounds?
L: Knowledge of terrestrial ecosystems is critical in understanding the interplay between water and land. A lot of the activities and processes that take place on land directly affect our rivers and sounds. An understanding of how systems interact with one another, rather than considering systems in isolation, provides a more holistic approach. This particular approach is often referred to as ecosystem-based management, which forms the basis for APNEP’s management efforts.
J: You have quite a surname for this line of work. I guess you come from a long line of Smart people?
L: Ba-dump ching! Don’t quit your day job.
Lindsey’s bio, along with those of other APNEP staff members, can be found here.