High Branch’s projects spanned a variety of natural systems, including vernal pools, alpine tundra, northern forests, and tallgrass prairie. Our geographic scope encompassed twenty-two states and four Canadian provinces, from west of the Mississippi River to the Atlantic seaboard.

Vernal Pool Mapping and Conservation

High Branch organized and led workshops for the North Atlantic Vernal Pool Data Cooperative (VPDC), an effort to compile and map vernal pool locations from Virginia to Nova Scotia. Together with partners, we incorporated workshop outcomes into a coordinating framework to facilitate the exchange of vernal pool information for scientific, management, and conservation purposes. The project was funded by a Priority Science Grant from the North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative to the Vermont Center for Ecostudies (VCE). Collaborators on the project included the University of Vermont Spatial Analysis Lab, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, NatureServe, Clemson University, Paul Smith’s College, and Siena College.

Grassland Bird Conservation Planning

High Branch teamed up with the Vermont Center for Ecostudies, the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Migratory Bird Division, and the Midwest Grassland Bird Conservation Working Group to create a network of grassland landscapes in eight midwestern states. Our objectives were to: integrate spatial information about grasslands and grassland birds into a Midwest grassland bird conservation map; evaluate strategic options for promoting grassland landscapes; and promote innovative, cross-sector partnerships to conserve or restore grasslands in the eastern tallgrass prairie ecoregion. Products of this initiative are available through the Midwest Grasslands Network and The Conservation Atlas for Midwest Grasslands.

The Mount Mansfield Science and Stewardship Center

High Branch provided coordination and consulting services for the proposed Mount Mansfield Science and Stewardship Center, a collaborative venture of the University of Vermont Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, the Vermont Center for Ecostudies, the Vermont Monitoring Cooperative, the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, and the Mount Mansfield Company. These organizations are forming a community of scholars, educators, and natural resource managers dedicated to understanding and sustaining mountain ecosystems. We led two planning workshops, completed a feasibility study, and drafted a comprehensive, five-year strategic plan that included program, business, and facilities plans.  We also coordinated a successful grant application to the National Science Foundation for support of the strategic planning.

Forest Habitat Guidelines for Wildlife at Risk

High Branch Conservation Services partnered with Plymouth State University, Audubon Society of New Hampshire, the Vermont Center for Ecostudies, Andrew Toepfer Cartographic Services, and several other organizations to develop habitat guidelines for six species of high conservation concern in the northeastern and mid-Atlantic regions: American marten, Bicknell’s Thrush, Canada Warbler, Rusty Blackbird, Scarlet Tanager, and Wood Thrush. The project drew on input from wildlife biologists, foresters, and conservation planners from twelve states and three Canadian provinces. Click here for more background and to access the completed guidelines.