Report on 5 Rivers Meeting
Partnership Executive Committee
- Jay Addison, LA
- Dan Dumont, AL
- Walter Ernest, AL
- Ray Herndon, National
- Albert Joerger, FL
- Stacey Shankle, National
- Judy Steckler, MS
- Bob Stokes, TX
- Chuck Roe, National
Welcome Apalachee Land Conservancy! The Partnership now has 24 members with representation from all of the Gulf Coast states, and listed on the Partners section of the website.
Partnership Comments on Task Force Strategy
The Partnership made formal comments in response to the draft Strategy released by the Gulf Coast Restoration Task Force. The Partnership offered enthusiastic support for the general tenor and direction of the report. However, the following recommendations were made to strengthen the Strategy:
- Recommendations from the Private Lands Analysis study (2011) done for the Gulf of Mexico Foundation and Gulf of Mexico Alliance should be considered for purposes of removing barriers and modifying public agency programs so as to enhance and expand the protection of more privately-owned and public lands critical to the health and function of the Gulf. Simply relying on current public agency programs and procedures, without correcting their flaws and inadequacies, will not assure the most effective and efficient use of Gulf restoration funds.
- The Strategy should increase the emphasis on permanent land protection through tools such as fee interest or conservation easements from willing sellers or donors. Restoration without permanent protection may result in “restored” areas being at future risk for conversion or development. Strong commitment to permanent land protection will better achieve natural habitat and ecosystems restoration goals.
- The Strategy goals and actions should be prioritized when funding becomes available to begin implementing.
- The Strategy should explain how the state priorities listed in Appendix B fit into the plan implementation and how they will be prioritized. We believe that in some cases the draft state action plans are vague and not directed to Gulf natural ecosystems recovery and protection.
- The Strategy should recognize and utilize the strengths and capacities of land trusts working in the Gulf region to help accomplish the goals.
Executive Committee Conference Call
The Executive Committee met via conference call on October 24 and reviewed the mission, goals, and work plan that were developed at the 5 Rivers meeting. Several edits were agreed to and the new document is summarized below:
Mission: To work together across the five Gulf of Mexico states to increase the pace, quality and permanence of voluntary land and water conservation in the coastal region.
Geographic Focus: The five Gulf coast states - Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas with an emphasis on lands and waters in the coastal region and within watersheds impacting the Gulf of Mexico.
- To increase the effectiveness and efficiency of land trusts in the Gulf Region.
- To develop and promote a public policy agenda which will reduce the barriers to private sector conservation efforts and increase funding for acquisition and restoration. In the short-term, focus on representing the interests of Gulf Coast land trusts partners to the Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem Restoration Task Force, the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, the BP Restoration Trustees and natural resources public agencies.
- To develop collaborative projects that will enable the land trust community and supporters to implement landscape scale conservation measures in the region.
- Promote and facilitate networking and collaboration among partner organizations and other conservation partners.
Send Us Your NRDA Project Ideas!
Would you like to see a big investment in land acquisition and restoration to address the damage from the BP Oil Spill? I thought so!
Federal officials have asked that the Partnership develop strategic, large-scale proposals that may be funded through the Natural Resources Damages Assessment process. If your organization has submitted a proposal through the NRDA website, please send us a copy of what was submitted. We want to organize our proposals and advocate for them as strongly as possible.
The BP Restoration Trustees are still accepting proposals for restoration that might be funded by the Natural Resources Damages Assessment process. If you have a great idea, please submit it to the database being managed by NOAA: http://www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov/restoration/give-us-your-ideas/suggest-a-restoration-project/ and send a copy to us.
Gulf of Mexico Summit | December 4 – 8 | Houston, TX
The Summit is being organized by the Harte Research Institute in partnership with the Gulf of Mexico Foundation, Gulf of Mexico University Research Collaborative, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, and the Nature Conservancy (TNC). More than 400 participants are expected. The purpose of the Summit is to develop a report card that will help track progress in restoring Gulf of Mexico ecosystems.
This will be a great opportunity for land trusts to interact with scientists, policymakers and funders and all are encouraged to attend. The registration is $450, however, and we are investigating the possibility of scholarships. The Partnership for Gulf Coast Land Conservation will be represented by Bob Stokes, Galveston Bay Foundation and Julia Weaver, Partnership Co-Coordinator. Register is now open.
Partnership for Gulf Coast Land Conservation Ocean Springs, MS
Phone: (228) 219-2279