Partnership Update

May 22, 2014

PGCLC Annual Meeting Focused on Strategic Conservation in the Gulf Region

The PGCLC Annual Meeting was held May 12 & 13 in Point Clear, AL in conjunction with the Gulf States Assembly sponsored by the Southeast Program of the Land Trust Alliance. More than 90 land trust professionals, board members, natural resource managers and state and federal agency leaders worked together over the two day event to strengthen land conservation policy and practice in the region.

On Monday, the PGCLC held a brief business meeting during which participants discussed communications strategies, financial information and the need to make a plan for organizational sustainability. Liz Barber unveiled the PGCLC’s draft Conservation Vision, which represents the shared priorities of PGCLC members for voluntary land protection and conservation. The Conservation Vision was developed with the help of the Conservation Fund and The Nature Conservancy using a science-based strategic conservation planning model and will be available as an online planning tool in the fall of 2014.

Monday’s proceedings concluded with a conversation with Tom Kelsch, Director of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund (GEBF).  Kelsch stated that the GEBF is required to fund projects that will remedy harm to natural resources caused by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and to projects that will reduce future risk. GEBF intends to fund landscape scale conservation and long-term stewardship projects. Conservation organizations should work with officials from the Gulf States to propose projects.  The next round of projects will be announced in November, 2014.

On Tuesday, Erin Heskett, National Services Director of the Land Trust Alliance, welcomed the participants and encouraged land trusts to demonstrate that there are tangible economic benefits to conservation and that land conservation is critical to healthy communities.

Justin Ehrenwerth, Executive Director of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, discussed the opportunities and challenges of the RESTORE Act. He stated that the Council will take a Gulf-wide view as the Partnership has done in its Conservation Vision. Ehrenwerth advised that the RESTORE Council cannot allocate funds until the Treasury regulations are finalized.  The Council is developing a priority funding list and creating a public engagement structure.

Workshops and seminars were offered, including:

  • Community Resilience Funding Opportunities for Conservation Professionals
  • Measure to Manage – Fundraising Metrics
  • A Conservation Vision for Land Protection in the Gulf of Mexico Region
  • Overview of Conservation Finance
  • Bold Leaders, Effective Boards: Growing from Good to Great
  • USDA Programs for Conservation
  • North American Wetlands Conservation Act Program

Workshop materials will be available on the PGCLC webpage »

Gulf Coast Land Conservation Project Assistance Fund (Project Assistance Fund) Announces 1st Round of Funding

At the May 12 Annual Meeting, the PGCLC announced that Project Assistance Fund has approved $57,450 in matching funds for land protection projects in Manatee County, FL; Baldwin County, AL; Hancock County, MS; and Orleans Parish, LA.  The funds will be used to prepare projects that will protect more than 1,800 acres of sensitive coastal land.

PGCLC member organizations are encouraged to apply for matching funds through the Project Assistance Fund to prepare high quality land acquisition projects for potential funding through Gulf restoration funds such as NFWF, NRDA, RESTORE Act and NAWCA.  Members may apply at any time.  After June 1, organizations that received matching funds in the 1st round may apply for funding for another project.

The Fund is being administered by the Galveston Bay Foundation through a generous grant from the Knobloch Family Foundation.  For more information, contact Matthew Singer by email or call (281) 332-3381 ext. 206.

Land Trusts Invited to Wetlands Restoration Conference in New Orleans, LA

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Association of State Wetlands Managers have created a workshop for land trusts and others to raise the bar on wetlands restoration.  The meeting is scheduled for Monday, July 28 and is part of the national CEER-SER meeting. Learn more »

National Climate Assessment Released

The U.S. Global Change Research Program released the National Climate Assessment in early May. The report summarizes current conditions and potential changes in rainfall, agriculture, and natural hazards by region. Among the findings for the Southeast: sea level rise poses widespread and continuing threats to the region’s economy and environment. Extreme heat will affect health, energy, and agriculture. Learn more »

Regional Conservation Partnership Program Announced

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is rolling out a new program established in the 2014 Farm Bill: the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). RCPP aims to fund organizations to use more than one NRCS program (such as the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), involve multiple partners, leverage resources, and result in real and measurable conservation results.
RCPP coordinates the delivery of other conservation programs in a region or specific geographic area. The RCPP will have $170 million a year of funding, with projects chosen and funds allocated by the Secretary, by NRCS in DC, and by State Conservationists. Learn more about the program »

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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