The LEAP region stretches from Sandusky and Columbus through northeast Ohio to northwest Pennsylvania and Buffalo, N.Y. It contains the Lake Erie Lake Plain, associated portion of Lake Erie, and the Glaciated Allegheny Plateau ecoregions. This 17,000-square-mile landscape is rich in geologic and cultural diversity.
Habitat loss and fragmentation, with the ongoing effects of climate change and exotic introductions, have crippled species and genetic diversity in the LEAP region. The resiliency of its natural areas has suffered as a result. There are presently more than 20 plant communities and 20 to 50 species that are globally threatened priorities in the LEAP region.
The Biodiversity Plan will allow member organizations to unite behind a cohesive regional strategy for the long-term preservation of native biodiversity. Like-minded agencies, municipalities and individuals within the region can participate in this effort as well. Ultimately, the plan will help guide conservation-related activities ranging from land acquisitions and easements to zoning restrictions, policy-making, restoration and mitigation, and many other opportunities.
The LEAP Regional Biodiversity Plan Committee is working to implement the BioMap model developed by Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game and The Nature Conservancy. This approach utilizes existing spatial data to identify core habitat and supporting landscapes. Our Pennsylvania partners recently implemented a version of this model.
A draft version will be available soon.