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10th Biennial Conference of Research on the Colorado Plateau

The Tenth Biennial ConferenceIntegrating Science and Management on the Colorado Plateau

How the collaboration between U.S. Geological Survey - Southwest Biological Science Center and the Society for Conservation Biology began

It is worth mentioning how it came to pass that the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Southwest Biological Science Center, the Colorado Plateau and other Southwestern/Western Chapters of The Society for Conservation Biology (SCB), and the North American Section of the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) decided to collaborate on a joint conference in Flagstaff, October 2009.

The USGS Southwest Biological Science Center-Colorado Plateau Research Station, based in Flagstaff, Arizona, has a 20-year record of collaboratively organizing the Biennial Conference of Research on the Colorado Plateau. The Biennial Conference has been considered by many an international exemplar for bringing scientists and managers together to deal with regional conservation issues. The Biennial Conference has also been uniquely open to student scientists presenting their latest research. In 2009 the Biennial Conference will be celebrating its 10th anniversary–and organizers wanted to do something special!

Over the last 14 years since it’s annual meeting first took place outside the United States, the Society for Conservation Biology has become an increasingly global organization. Because annual meetings in North America (where a majority of SCB’s members reside) have become less frequent as a result of SCB going global, the North American Section began planning in 2008 for the first ever sub-regional meeting in North America, with the goal that such meetings would continue to occur every other year. In a spirit of collaboration, the vision behind these meetings is that SCB Chapters, with the endorsement of the SCB North American Section, will host sub-regional meetings that alternate years with the global meetings, as a way to support the large network of North American conservation biologists.

The Colorado Plateau Chapter has been a longstanding chapter of SCB and has been an important collaborator in the USGS Biennial Conference. As such they were asked by SCB North America to be a central organizer of the first sub-regional meeting. Hence, the 2009 meeting planning committee includes the USGS Southwest Biological Science Center, SCB Colorado Plateau chapter along with other regional chapters, and SCB North American Section and SCB Executive Office board members.

As you all know, organizing a national-scale, scientific meeting is long a journey with thousands of small steps that must be taken before the actual event can be realized. The organizers of these events are almost always volunteers and depend on a network of supporting parties. Therefore, collaborative engagement by all organizational entities will be essential to making this meeting a success. That means all of you!

We invite your comments and suggestions on the division of labor we have put forward–if you can conceive of a way to help with the meeting that we have failed to identify, please let us know.

We look forward to the 10 months of creative vision, hard work and collaboration ahead! Thanks for joining in this exciting effort to celebrate the ongoing tradition of the Biennial Conference and at the same time begin a new regional North American tradition promoting the principles of conservation biology and SCB chapters in North America!

History of the Biennial Conference

The Biennial Conference of Research on the Colorado Plateau began in 1991 as a means of sharing information among National Park researchers and land managers. Organized and hosted by the Colorado Plateau Research Station, then a National Park Service Cooperative Research Studies Unit at Northern Arizona University (NAU) in Flagstaff, the conference seeks to highlight research and resource management efforts related to physical, cultural and biological resources within the biogeographic province of the Colorado Plateau.

Over the course of the decade the Colorado Plateau Research Station (CPRS), broadened its client base by first becoming a unit of the National Biological Survey, and then of the Biological Resources Division of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). CPRS is now a part of the USGS Southwest Biological Science Center (SBSC), also in Flagstaff.

With the conference no longer limited to National Park Service concerns, other Colorado Plateau land management agencies including the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the Forest Service began to participate, allowing the conference to grow in size and scope. NAU and several of its departments also increased their participation; conference sponsors now include the Center for Sustainable Environments (CSE), the Colorado Plateau Cooperative Ecosystem Study Unit (CP-CESU) and the Merriam-Powell Center for Environmental Research (MPCER).

A record of the proceedings is published every two years and made available at the following Biennial Conference. The Colorado Plateau Proceedings Series contributes to our increasing pool of fresh data, providing baseline scientific information pertinent to the Plateau's physical, cultural and biological resources. Many of the protocols and management techniques presently being used in land management units over the Colorado Plateau are a result of scientific work published in the Proceedings.

Fifth Biennial Conference Proceedings