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New S. 812 Contact, Forest Bonds, CELCP Re-opened, Great Outdoors America

Advocates Alert: August 31, 2009

We hope you're having a relaxing end to the summer, but many Members of Congress are finding themselves on the hot seat, facing angry crowds at town hall meetings and other events.  Now more than ever, they'll be grateful to any organization willing to provide a public thank you.  Whether you present an award for co-sponsoring H.R. 1831, or pick a different idea from our dozen ways to say thank you, a display of gratitude this summer will surely pay dividends down the road.

If you've recently had a successful interaction with your Representative, please share the idea by emailing policy@lta.org.

New Staff Contact for Easement Incentive Co-sponsors in the Senate

Tiffany Smith is our new contact at the Senate Finance Committee for Senators who wish to co-sponsor S. 812, the Rural Heritage Conservation Extension Act.  Please ensure that your fact sheets and other materials are updated with the following instructions: "Senators interested in co-sponsoring S. 812 should contact Tiffany Smith at the Senate Finance Committee (4-4515)." Or you can simply click here to download our most current fact sheets.

Congress returns to Washington on September 8, but you may have an easier time reaching DC staff while their bosses are away.  Please call 202-224-3121 today and urge your Senators and Representatives to co-sponsor H.R. 1831 or S. 812!

Community Forestry Conservation Act Would Create an Innovative Conservation Tool

The Land Trust Alliance is eager to support legislation that would allow the creation of "Community Forestry Bonds."  Under this proposal, Congress would allow land trusts to finance the purchase of working forests with bonds designed to be repaid with revenues from sustainable timber harvest.  This new tool will provide a mechanism for acquisition of lands that are at a high risk of conversion. 

In July, Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Mike Crapo (R-ID), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) introduced S. 1501 and Representatives Mike Thompson (D-CA), Jim McDermott (D-WA), and Dave Reichert (R-WA) introduced H.R. 3302.  Cascade Land Conservancy and U.S. Forest Capital are spearheading a coalition of conservation organizations, timber companies and business leaders working to advance these bills. Click here to read more.

Competition for Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Funding Re-opened

The Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP) provides state and local governments matching funds to purchase significant coastal and estuarine lands, or conservation easements on such lands, from willing sellers.  While land trusts can't apply directly, it's possible to work in partnership with local governments.  A donation to a land trust can serve as the non-federal match or agencies can use CELCP funds to acquire land from a land trust.

The original application period for fiscal year 2010 projects closed back in March, but changes enacted earlier this year forced the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to re-open the process.  This is both a second chance to apply for the CELCP program and an important notice for current applicants who may need to modify their applications in light of new rules.  The new deadline is September 18, 2009. Click here to read more.

Great Outdoors America Report Calls for Increased Conservation Funding

Healthy, productive land and water resources, wildlife habitat, parks and open space are fundamental to the American way of life and our future prosperity, according to a new report by the Outdoor Resources Review Group. "Great Outdoors America" reviews how Americans engage with and value the nation's landscapes and outdoor recreation assets, and calls for a comprehensive overhaul of programs and policies to safeguard these resources for future generations. One key proposal is the development of an independent conservation trust, with dedicated and sustained funding reaching $5 billion annually. Click here to read more.

Important Reminder

If you receive a donation of land or a conservation easement, you must send a letter to the donor acknowledging the gift – or you put them at risk of an IRS audit! Click here for more on substantiation letters.

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Advocates Alerts

February 12: The House successfully voted 279-137, demonstrating a supermajority (67%) of support, on H.R. 644, a package of charitable incentives including the conservation tax incentive.Now we need your help in the Senate to secure co-sponsors! Sens. Heller and Stabenow have requested land trusts’ assistance in asking senators to cosponsor S. 330, the Conservation Easement Incentive Act. Learn more »

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