Methods

The development of resource and management focal area maps involved using a Delphi (expert opinion) approach.  Focal areas were delinieated on 1:200,000 scale sheet maps with a minimum mapping unit of approximately 245 hectares (605 acres).  For each polygon delineated, an accompanying site criteria form was completed identifying why the area was important and what species and habitat occurred there.  These data were digitized on-screen using ArcGIS and GoogleEarth and attributed with information from the site criteria form as well as other spatial databases.

Idaho is rich in natural resources yet, it is also one of the fastest growing states in the country.  This makes the task of defining focal areas a challenging one.  On one hand, all of Idaho is important for the long-term conservation of these species and their habitats.  But on the other hand, lack of focus makes it difficult to allocate limited time, money, and resources.  This challenge was openly met and discussed at the workshops.  Participants often used the litmus test of, "If I had $3 million to spend in this ecological section, where could I have the most impact?" Specific questions posed included 1)  Are there specific areas that need to be included as focal areas for SGCNs and their habitat (e.g., waterfalls for black swift)?  Are there areas currently identified that should not be (e.g., errors in the models, land use changes)?, 2) Do these focal areas also include species or habitat significant to conservation for other reasons (e.g., migration corridors, big game winter range)?, and 3) What conservation actions are necessary in each area?

The focal areas mapped here are general areas important for these species in greatest conservation need but, by no means, are intended to imply that conservation actions should be restricted to these areas.  The polygons are intended to help direct attention and focus efforts, not limit or regulate actions.

Participants
Workshop participants included biologists and managers from Idaho Depart of Fish and Game, Idaho Parks and Recreation, US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Army Corp of Engineers, US National Park Service, US Gap Analysis Program, Potlatch, Forest Capital, Idaho Power, Idaho National Laboratory, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, Coeur d'Alene Tribe, Nez Perce Tribe, Sho-Ban Tribes, Lava Lake Land and Livestock, The Nature Conservancy, Wildlife Conservation Society, Idaho Conservation League, Palouse Prairie Foundation, Friends of the Clearwater, Western Watersheds, Audubon Society, Spatial Interest, Palouse Clearwater Environmental Institute, Wood River Land Trust, Palouse Land Trust, Teton Regional Land Trust, Lemhi Regional Land Trust, The Lands Council, University of Idaho, and private citizens.

Schedule
Jan 23, 2008        IDFG Operations meeting
Feb 6, 2008          IDFG Preparation meeting
Feb 11, 2008        North  Idaho IDFG meeting (Couer d' Alene)
Feb 22, 2008        North Idaho Partners meeting (Moscow)
March 4, 2008      IDFG Preparation meeting
March 19, 2008    Southwest IDFG meeting (Nampa)
April 3, 2008         Southwest Partners meeting (Boise)
April 11, 2008       Southeast IDFG meeting (Idaho Falls)
April 25, 2008       Southeast Partners meeting (Idaho Falls)
May 15, 2008        Statewide draft focal areas available for review
January, 2009      Web delivery