Partnership Update

December 6, 2013

Knobloch Family Foundation Awards $500,000 Grant to PGCLC

“This grant is a great opportunity for the PGCLC to offer concrete assistance to our member organizations. The funds will be used to create a Due Diligence Fund for our partners. We are grateful to the Knobloch Family Foundation (KFF) for their on-going commitment to land conservation in the Gulf region,” states Liz Barber, Co-Coordinator of the PGCLC.

The Due Diligence Fund will make mini-grants to member organizations to help them prepare high quality land acquisition projects for potential funding through Gulf restoration funds such as NFWF, NRDA, RESTORE Act and NAWCA. The mini-grants can cover costs such as appraisals and reviews, surveys, title and legal work, baselines and environmental assessments for fee and easements acquisitions.

“The Knobloch Family Foundation is eager to help conservation organizations make the most of this opportunity to protect the natural ecosystems of the Gulf Coast,” states Ernest Cook, spokesperson for the Foundation. KFF believes that strategic conservation projects that have an accurate budget and detailed project description are most likely to be funded through oil spill restoration funding opportunities and other conservation programs.

The Fund will be administered by the Galveston Bay Foundation for the PGCLC. Guidelines and the application will be available for partner organizations in January, 2014.

Comment Period Open for Programmatic Environmental Impact Statements for NRDA Early Restoration Projects: Texas Announces Public Meetings

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees have released a draft plan that proposes $627 million in early restoration projects across the Gulf States. The PGCLC reviewed and commented on the projects during the summer of 2013. The Trustees are now asking for public input on the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statements. The public review and comment period is open until February 4, 2014.

According to the Trustee statement, some projects aim to restore barrier islands, dunes, marshes, shorelines, and oyster beds. Others, such as boat ramps and park enhancements, seek to address the lost recreational use of natural resources. Of the $627 million, ecological projects comprise about $397 million, which is approximately 64 percent of the total. Lost recreational use projects make up the remaining $230 million.

Public meetings will be held in all the Gulf States.  The meetings in Texas are listed below:

  • January 21, Port Arthur, TX
  • January 22, Galveston, TX
  • January 23, Corpus Christi, TX

Download an electronic copy of the draft »

Getting Attention: How to Work with Your Local Media

Join Ben Raines, executive director of Weeks Bay Foundation and former newspaper editor, as he describes how the media landscape has dramatically changed in the past decade and what you can do to make your land trust story top news. Learn how to:

  • Aggregate news features like the reporters do;
  • Write the bones of a news story and quote your sources;
  • Share the news in social media;
  • Take video or (even better) bring your local journalists to your properties and show them what your work means to the community.

The Land Trust Alliance Southeast Program is offering this free educational opportunity to Alliance member organizations on December 12, 2013 at 2:00 pm Eastern. Register via email with the subject line "Conservation Professional Conference Call: December 12." Prior to the call, registrants will receive the call-in phone number. The registration deadline is December 11.

NOAA Marine Debris Grants Available

The NOAA Marine Debris Program (MDP) has announced a new funding opportunity titled "Marine Debris Prevention through Outreach and Education".  Projects awarded through this grant competition are expected to educate the public about marine debris through activities including, but not limited to:

  • Encouraging changes in behavior to address marine debris;
  • Developing, using, and disseminating tools, products, and campaigns to improve efforts to address marine debris;
  • Engaging the public in active, personal participation (e.g. a small-scale shoreline cleanup with students or other hands-on activities, etc.).

Nonprofits are eligible to apply. The deadline is December 20, 2013 by 11:59 pm EST. Learn more »

Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program Grant Priorities Announced

The Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program will fund projects that include:

  • On-the-ground wetland, riparian, in-stream and/or coastal habitat restoration
  • Meaningful education and training activities, either through community outreach, participation and/or integration with K-12 environmental curriculum
  • Measurable ecological, educational and community benefits
  • Partnerships: Five Star projects should engage a diverse group of community partners to achieve ecological and educational outcomes.

The application deadline is Wednesday, February 5, 2014. Learn more »

State, Local Officials in Louisiana Adopt Differing Legal Strategies to Address Coastal Erosion

According to the Times-Picayune, three coastal parishes have opted to sue oil and gas companies for damage caused to local wetlands. The suits are designed to require the oil and gas companies to repair or pay for damage to fragile coastal wetlands caused by decades of building and maintaining canals and by the mishandling of toxic wastes that have been left in wetland environments. Read more »

The Jindal Administration has been highly critical of these lawsuits.  Instead of joining in the lawsuits against the oil and gas industry, the state’s coastal authority has begun legal action against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, alleging that major Corps projects have damaged state resources. The state is asking the court to decide whether the state must pay anything towards addressing problems caused by Corps-funded projects. The Corps must pay for at least part of the ecosystem and levee projects designed to address the problems. Read the full story in The Advocate »

PGCLC participates in Secretary of Interior Stakeholder Meeting

Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell held a stakeholder meeting regarding Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration on Thursday, December 5th at Big Branch National Wildlife Refuge in Lacombe, LA. PGCLC Co-Coordinator Liz Barber attended, along with partner representatives Stacey Shankle (TPL), Jay Addison and Marisa Escudaro (Land Trust for LA), Avalyn Taylor (TNC), Jerry Holden (DU) and local representatives from the Audubon Society in Louisiana. Approximately 60 non-governmental organizations and state and federal agency representatives from Mississippi and Louisiana participated.

Partners had a chance to introduce their organizations and discuss challenges and opportunities related to Gulf restoration. Secretary Jewell emphasized the importance of collaboration among agencies and organizations, and expressed an interest in ensuring approaches to restoration that engage the next generation of stewards. Partners reiterated the importance of working with private landowners, the value of easements in restoration, land protection as a natural infrastructure tool, the need for matching funds for projects and how important the region is for migratory birds.

River Diversion Expert Panel Established in Louisiana

As the Louisiana Coastal Master Plan began picking up momentum this year, questions about proposed river diversion projects were raised by local governments, scientists and fishermen. The Water Institute of the Gulf has gathered 12 top scientists and researchers from across the nation to create the “River Diversion Expert Panel” to review questions about those diversions.  Among the topics:

  • The impacts of fertilizer pollutants on marsh plants;
  • The ability of the diversions to build enough land, quickly enough;
  • The timing and size of fisheries displacements; and
  • The expected economic impact on communities in the path of diversions.

Read more information »

Coastal Restoration Project Design and Evaluation Workshop Offered

During this interactive, one and a half day workshop, participants will learn how to:

  • Explain how restoration project design and evaluation support agency and organization missions, strategic plans, and established program niches;
  • Identify and communicate measurable project outcomes;
  • Demonstrate how logic models can be applied to restoration project design and evaluation;
  • Identify meaningful performance indicators as a part of project evaluation;
  • Assess types and levels of evaluation that can be applied to restoration projects.

The training will be offered in Florida and Alabama in January.  Registration is now open. More information »

Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative Hosts 2014 Conference

The 2014 GOMRI conference will be held January 26 - 29 in Mobile, Alabama. The following topics will be addressed:

  • Ecosystem assessment, vulnerability, and resilience: integrated cause and effect studies and trends across disciplines
  • Ongoing science, technology, monitoring, and mitigation strategies with respect to the DWH Oil spill response: What is needed to prepare for, support, and manage future hydrocarbon exploration and production in the Gulf of Mexico
  • Valuing ecosystem services and quantifying effects of oil spills on ecosystem services through environmental, public health, and socioeconomic science
  • Promoting scientific literacy, perception, and expectations about oil spill research among stakeholders.

Read more information »

Contact

Julia Weaver
Partnership for Gulf Coast Land Conservation
Ocean Springs, MS
Email | (228) 219-2279

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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