The Partnership for Gulf Coast Land Conservation is a new coalition of local, regional state and national land trusts and land conservation organizations (Partners) devoted to improving land and water conservation on private lands in the Gulf of Mexico coastal region. This initiative is organized under the auspices of Land Trust Alliance (Alliance) and is patterned after the many successful land protection collaboratives operating in other regions of the United States.
In August 2010, the Alliance and NOAA convened a group of Gulf Coast land trusts and public natural resource agencies at Weeks Bay in Alabama to discuss the potential role of land trusts in addressing the environmental impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. It was decided that private land protection and restoration should be emphasized as a critical tool in the restoration process. The Alliance followed up with a workshop in November, 2010, in Biloxi, Mississippi where participating land trusts and land protection organizations identified barriers to private lands conservation in the coastal region and outlined policies and actions steps necessary to advance conservation on private lands. Participants also elected to form the Partnership to improve cooperation and collaboration among land conservation and water protection efforts in the coastal region and to ensure land trusts and partners could have an effective voice during the oil spill restoration process and in other policy settings. Participants recognize that the oil spill is just one of many threats to the health of coastal lands and waters, and that an organized and effective long-term Partnership could be helpful in addressing other issues as well.
The Partnership received a seed grant from the Charles Stuart Mott Foundation in early 2011 to support start-up activities and recently hired two project coordinators to facilitate its organization. The Partnership is now in a position to interact with public agencies and other conservation partners on land protection opportunities and issues in the region including the oil spill restoration process and region-wide efforts through the EPA Gulf of Mexico Alliance. Specific action steps will be guided by the recent study entitled Analysis and Recommendations for Increasing Conservation and Restoration on Private Lands in the Gulf of Mexico Region developed by the Alliance through a NOAA grant. The study provides detailed information about the status of land conservation in the region and specific strategies for increasing land conservation and restoration.
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.
Working together as a collaborative of land trusts and land protection organizations in the Gulf Region, our Goals are:
Goal 1. To increase the effectiveness and efficiency of land trusts in the Gulf Region.
Goal 2. 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.
Goal 3. To develop collaborative projects that will enable the land trust community and supporters to implement landscape scale conservation measures in the region.
Goal 4. Promote and facilitate networking and collaboration among partner organizations and other conservation partners.
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.
What is a Land Trust?
Working only with willing landowners, providing a voluntary option for them to conserve their land.
Detailed information on what is a land trust, how land trusts work, and what is a conservation easement can be found here: http://www.landtrustalliance.org/land-trusts
Land Trust Standards & Practices
Land Trust Standards and Practices are guidelines for the responsible operation of a land trust, which is run legally, ethically and in the public interest and conducts a sound program of land transactions and stewardship.
The Land Trust Alliance originally developed the standards and practices in 1989 at the urging of land trusts, which believe a strong land trust community depends on the credibility and effectiveness of all its members.
Land Trust Accreditation
The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, provides independent verification of the 37 indicator practices from Land Trust Standards and Practices that show a land trust's ability to operate in an ethical, legal and technically sound manner and ensure the long-term protection of land in the public interest.
Those land trusts that have completed the accreditation process will have the right to display the accreditation seal, demonstrating that they are a land conservation organization that meets national standards for excellence, upholds the public trust and ensures that conservation efforts are permanent.
Partnership for Gulf Coast Land Conservation partners that currently display this seal are:
Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast
Land Trust for MS Coastal Plain
Tall Timbers Land Conservancy
Weeks Bay Foundation
The above information was provided courtesy of the Land Trust Alliance and the Land Trust Alliance Accreditation Commission.