Partnership Update

November 15, 2012

BP Settles Criminal Charges for $4.5 Billion

In an agreement announced today, BP settled with the Department of Justice to settle claims that the company committed criminal acts regarding the Deepwater Horizon accident. This agreement does not resolve the civil Clean Water Act fines or the Natural Resources Damages Assessment process. The agreement calls for $2.394 billion of the settlement money to be paid to the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation and $350 million to be paid to the National Academy of Sciences, both over five years. More >>

Land Trusts - We Need Your Data!

The Partnership for Gulf Coast Land Conservation is working with NOAA, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and The Nature Conservancy to develop a conservation vision that reflects the conservation priorities of the land trust community. A request for information was sent to land trust members on November 5. Please send the information described below to jplatt@tnc.org.

  1. Geographic Scope- coastal zone plus 25 mile boundary plus watersheds; GIS shapefiles available upon request.
  2. Types of GIS Data Needed- For your organization please provide:
    • Future Priorities for Land Protection– Identify the priority geographic areas that your organization has targeted for land protection (basins, sub basins, wetlands, particular community types, geographic focus areas or parcels).
    • Currently Protected Areas - If you have not already submitted your currently protected areas (parcels) to the Protect Areas Database (PAD US) or the Conservation Easement Database (CED), please provide those to us. If you have already submitted this, then we have it and will include it in a data layer for reference.
    • Other Priorities - Any parcels that your organization has 1) helped protect (through CONVEYANCE to an agency), or 2) geographic target areas that you have identified for RESTORATION in the future.
  3. Narrative - For each area identified in 2 above, please indicate:
    • Area Name
    • Organization Name
    • Primary Contact
    • Conservation Purpose/Objective (e.g., water quality, habitat, open space, working lands, etc.)
  4. GIS Format- Please provide your files in one of the formats below:
    • 1st preference: Geodatabase
    • 2nd preference: Shapefile
    • 3rd preference: Any other GIS format
    • 4th preference: An image with a sharpie line(s) around the priority areas.  Suggested scale of base map 1:100,000 or 1:200,000  (e.g. Topo or other)

Land Trust Alliance Policy Team Reflects on November Election

  • Voters overwhelmingly support conservation -- 81% of land conservation ballot measures passed, generating $767 million.
  • The silver lining of a status quo election is that neither party can expect a better negotiating position in January, improving the odds for action this year.
  • Several of our Farm Bill and easement incentive champions survived tough challenges, including Senate Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY), who highlighted farm bill conservation programs in his post-election remarks.
  • The Democratic co-chairs of the House Land Conservation Caucus -- Reps. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) were both elected to the Senate.
  • Easement incentive co-sponsors were re-elected at a rate above the national average, but many are retiring and we have to replace 57 co-sponsors not returning next year.

Action Needed

  1. Easement incentive renewal critical as tax reform looms: The Senate Finance Committee included an extension of the enhanced incentive for easement donations through 2013 in its slimmed-down “tax extenders” bill. But the House Ways & Means Committee hasn’t yet taken up extenders. We must convey urgency to every Member of Congress so our “extender” isn’t forgotten as the House and Senate deal with the much bigger issue of the “fiscal cliff.” Failure to get the incentive back on the books by December 31 would cost us an entire year of conservation and put us in a weak position as Congress debates comprehensive tax reform in 2013.
  2. Take action at farmbillnow.com: There's a new, easier way to support passage of a Farm Bill that would provide $1.58 billion for land trusts to buy easements:
    • Visit www.farmbillnow.com and enter your address.
    • You'll see a pop up box with easy options to sign a petition and/or send a social media post to your representative.

Round Two of Deepwater Horizon Early Restoration Projects Announced

The two proposed projects address coastal conservation for the purpose of restoring bird (avian) and sea turtle nesting habitats, which were injured by oil spill response operations. These projects are timed to enhance the bird and turtle nesting ground as the spring 2013 nesting season begins. Below is a brief description of each project:

  • A Comprehensive Program for Enhanced Management of Avian Breeding Habitat Injuries by Response in the Florida Panhandle, Alabama and Mississippi. This project proposes to protect nesting habitat for beach-nesting birds from disturbance in order to restore habitat impaired by disturbance from oil spill response activities. It is to be conducted on sandy beaches in Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Gulf, and Franklin counties, Florida; Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Baldwin and Mobile counties, Alabama, and the Gulf Islands National Seashore (GUIS) - Mississippi District.
  • Improving Habitat Injured by Spill Response: Restoring the Night Sky. This project proposes to reduce artificial lighting impacts on nesting habitat for sea turtles, specifically loggerhead turtles, to restore habitat impaired by disturbance from oil spill response activities. It is to be conducted on sandy beach public properties in Baldwin County, Alabama; and Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Gulf, and Franklin counties, Florida.

Submit a public comment. Deadline is December 10, 2012.

Job Opening Posted

The Mississippi Fish and Wildlife Foundation is seeking candidates for a Coastal Project Coordinator position. The office is located in Moss Point, MS but the duty location will cover the coastal areas of Alabama, Mississippi, and East Louisiana. The closing date is December 15, 2012.  For more information: James L. Cummins at (662) 686-3375.

The National Forest Foundation Invites Proposals for Matching Awards Program

The Foundation’s Matching Awards Program (MAP) provides support to nonprofit organizations and Native American tribes throughout the U.S. to engage in on-the-ground conservation and citizen-based monitoring projects benefiting National Forests and Grasslands. Funded projects must address at least one of the following program areas of emphasis: Wildlife Habitat Improvement, Recreation, Watershed Health and Restoration, or Community-Based Forestry. All grants require at least a one-to-one cash match through non-federal donations. Deadline: January 9, 2013. More >>

EPA Announces Environmental Justice Small Grants Program

Nonprofits are eligible to apply for the Environmental Justice Small Grants (EJSG) Program that provides funding for projects that address local environmental and public health issues within an affected community.  The EJSG Program is designed to help communities understand and address exposure to multiple environmental harms and risks.  Grant awards are approximately $30,000 and the deadline for applying is January 7, 2013. More >>

Contact

Julia Weaver
Partnership for Gulf Coast Land Conservation
Ocean Springs, MS
228-219-2279
jweaver@lta.org

The Partnership for Gulf Coast Land Conservation is organized under the auspices of the Land Trust Alliance which provides administrative and fiscal support.

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