Partnership Update

September 6, 2013

PGCLC 4th Annual Meeting to be held September 16, 2013: Space is Limited

The PGCLC Annual Meeting will be held in New Orleans, LA on Monday, September 16 from 10:00am to 5:00pm at the Canal Street Sheraton Hotel.  Registration is $20 and includes lunch. On-line registration ends today, September 6, 2013. Registration will be accepted at the door. View registration and accommodation information »

More than 50 land conservation professionals, board members, and representatives of funding agencies have registered.  Speakers include:

  • Tanner Johnson, Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund
  • Ben Scaggs, Environmental Protection Agency
  • Cheryl Brodnax, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Bethany Kraft, Ocean Conservancy
  • Michael Whitfield, Heart of the Rockies Land Trust Coalition
  • Ole Amundsen, The Conservation Fund
  • Joe Fargione, Ph. D., The Nature Conservancy

An Evening Social will be sponsored by the Pelican Coast Conservancy at the Palace Café at 5:30pm.

Many thanks to the following organizations for their contributions to the Annual Meeting:

  • Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain for administrative support
  • Pelican Coast Conservancy for hosting the Evening Social at the Palace Café
  • Land Trust for Louisiana for underwriting lunch and refreshments
  • The Conservation Fund and the Nature Conservancy for providing expertise during the Conservation Vision Charrette
  • The Knobloch Family Foundation for financial support of the Conservation Vision process

Rally: the National Land Conservation Conference

Rally will be held in New Orleans, LA from September 17 – 19.  Registration has closed. We are pleased that 10 PGCLC Land Trusts have received scholarships to attend Rally. Highlights of the meeting include a presentation by author Barry Lopez, and in-depth training on conservation easements, advocacy, and connecting with the local community. View details »

PGCLC Moves Forward on Conservation Vision Project

More than 30 land conservation professionals participated in a free webinar on Strategic Conservation Planning sponsored by PGCLC.   During the August event, participants reviewed several land conservation planning tools that can be used by land trusts regardless of their size and level of expertise. Materials from the webinar will be posted on the PGCLC webpage. The Conservation Vision process will continue at the PGCLC Annual Meeting on September 16.

Ecosystem Restoration Council Adopts Plan, Community Groups Ask for More Citizen Involvement, Project Specifics

The federal-state panel tasked with overseeing the RESTORE Act funds unanimously approved its initial plan for restoring the Gulf ecosystem and economy on September 28, 2013. The plan sets overarching restoration goals, adopts broad criteria for evaluating and funding projects, and describes how the Council will consider states' plans for spending their share of the money. Environmental and community groups continued to ask that the Council create a Citizen’s Advisory Council. They also requested more information about project evaluation and selection. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, chair of the Council, said that Treasury regulations will be released in draft form "very soon." (See announcement below.) The council has not been able to move forward with a 10-year spending plan in part because of the lack of those regulations.

Treasury Department Releases Draft Rules for RESTORE Act Funds

On Friday, September 6, the Treasury Department released a draft of the rules that will govern the expenditure of RESTORE Act funds.  The public is invited to comment – the deadline is November 5, 2013.

The draft rules propose that government entities described in the RESTORE Act ‘will apply for funds by submitting a detailed multiyear plan describing the projects and programs it wants to implement. Among other things, the plan must describe each project and program, and provide a budget, milestones, and the criteria the applicant will use to evaluate success. Before submitting the plan, the Gulf Coast State, county, or parish must publish the plan for public notice and comment, a process that Treasury expects will enhance the transparency and quality of funding applications. Applicants will be required to demonstrate compliance with applicable environmental laws.

The PGCLC will develop comments in consultation with its members.  More information »

BP LLC and Louisiana Officials Bicker over Jindal Remarks

The AP reports that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal criticized BP during the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council meeting on September 28th. Jindal stated, "BP needs to stop spending hundreds of millions of dollars on their public relations campaign telling us how great they are and start proving it by addressing their Clean Water Act and Natural Resources Damage liabilities now. While Transocean has stepped up to the plate and paid much of their liability, BP has not."
Geoff Morrell, BP's vice president of U.S. communications, responded Thursday to comments made a day earlier by Jindal and his top coastal official, Garret Graves, during and after a meeting of the Council.
"Their political grandstanding contains patently false assertions, defies the demonstrated record of environmental recovery that has occurred across the Gulf, and defames the massive efforts of tens of thousands of people to foster prompt recovery and restoration," Morrell said.
In a response emailed to The Associated Press, Graves replied, "BP is not a victim of this disaster. No matter what they say or do, the families of the deceased and the citizens of the Gulf are the victims and we are going to fight to hold BP accountable for their actions. BP's campaign to portray themselves as the victim is shameless." Read the Associated Press article »

Florida Governor Rick Scott and Advocates Disagree on Springs Restoration Plan

Governor Scott recently announced a $37 million restoration plan designed to cut pollution and boost the flow of some of the state's most popular springs. Advocates of the natural springs expressed appreciation for the gesture from Scott, which was an about-face from two years ago when he canceled a springs restoration program that had been launched by former Governor Jeb Bush.

Advocates state that the projects at Kings Bay, Homosassa Springs, Weeki Wachee Springs and other locations are a good start, but the state must address the springs' most basic problems from over-pumping of the aquifer and pollution from fertilizer use and other sources. Read more in the Tampa Bay News »

NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program Invites Participation

NOAA invites community members to participate in one of eleven virtual engagement sessions in September. During each session, NOAA will provide a short overview of the science program, answer questions, and gather input on research and observing needs in the Gulf of Mexico. Participants must register in advance. Review the dates and times and to register »

Advanced Seminar on Conservation Easements Offered

Maximizing the Financial Advantages of Land Conservation: Advanced Seminar on Conservation Easements is designed to help landowners and land use professionals meet conservation, financial and planning goals. Participants will leave this event with a better understanding of the tax code, the easement process, the valuation of conserved lands, the potential rewards, and the possible risks. The knowledge and skills gained at this seminar will assist professionals to effectively serve their clients or jurisdictions. Land use professionals will learn how to use conservation easements as part of a complete development plan.

The intended audience for this seminar includes attorneys, appraisers, accountants, financial planners, land managers, realtors, developers, planners, and land trust professionals. The seminar will be held on September 26th in Mobile, AL. For more information, contact Walter Ernest, Pelican Coast Conservancy: 251-222-8959 or via email.

Longleaf Academy Offers Course on Longleaf Understory

This course will provide continuing education about the diverse longleaf understory, with an emphasis on native warm season grasses, composites and legumes, for graduates of the Longleaf 101 course.  This educational opportunity will be offered October 8 – 10 at the Solon Dixon Forestry Education Center in Alabama.  To register for this course, please contact the Longleaf Alliance office at via email or call 334-427-1029. For additional information on this course, please contact Carol Denhof via email or call 678-595-6405.

PGCLC Recognizes Financial Support from Member Organizations

The PGCLC would like to thank the following for their 2013 financial contributions:

  • Galveston Bay Foundation
  • Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast
  • Tall Timbers Land Conservancy
  • Trust for Public Land
  • Land Trust for Mississippi Coastal Plain
  • National Audubon Society
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Pelican Coast Conservancy
  • Alabama Forest Resources
  • Land Trust for Louisiana
  • Ducks Unlimited

We encourage all members and supporters of the Partnership to add their financial support and contribute to our success. Please direct your contributions to the Land Trust Alliance, PO Box 33355, Raleigh NC 27636.

The PGCLC Recognizes Corporate and Foundation Support

The PGCLC would like to thank the following funders for supporting our mission: to increase the pace, quality, and permanence of voluntary land and water conservation in the Gulf of Mexico region.

  • ExxonMobil Corporation
  • Knobloch Family Foundation
  • National Fish & Wildlife Foundation
  • Southern Company
  • United States Forest Service

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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