Connecting across boundaries, partnerships inspire innovation . . .
Allies & Affiliated Partner Organizations
Below we identify and link to allied organizations (mostly private, nongovernmental) that are either service centers or alliances bridging multiple states, and that offer help in protecting important environmental resources.
Land &Forest Conservation, Water Protection:
American Forest Foundation (www.forestfoundation.org ) is intended to unite and inform owners of privately held forestlands to keep forests healthy and to educate the next generation to be prepared for conserving and protecting America's forests and ecological resources. AFF believes that family forest owners -- the largest group of forestland holders in America (22 million families own nearly 282 million acres of forestland nationwide) -- are key to protecting the values and benefits coming from well-managed forests. AFF supplies helpful guidance to private forestland owners and operates a FREE web-based resource for forestland owners who want to apply good forest, land, water and wildlife conservation practices on their property, used by as many as 10,000 landowners monthly. AFF also promotes Project Learning Tree and other youth environmental education programs.
American Rivers (www.AmericanRivers.org) is a national river conservation and public policy advocacy organization with staff positioned across the South. It works to restore healthy rivers, ensure clean drinking water supplies, revitalize fish and other aquatic wildlife habitats, improve water-based recreation, lead local campaigns to clean waterways, identify America's most endangered rivers, improve community flood protection, create river "blue trails," save remaining wild, scenic and free-flowing rivers, remove unnecessary dams, and leave a legacy of healthy rivers for future generations. American Rivers is in the process of defining its highest priority river basins in the South in which to focus its protection and restoration efforts. Four of the 10 most endangered rivers currently identified by American Rivers are located in the southern U.S.: the Holston River (VA/TN), Harpeth River (TN), Edisto River (SC), and Pearl River (MS).
Appalachian Trail: a landscape conservation approach
The nonprofit Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the National Park Service in October 2016 hosted the 2nd annual gathering of an emerging initiative focused on conserving the broader landscapes of the Appalachian Mountains associated with the iconic Appalachian Trail. Although the AT footpath, stretching 2,000 miles from Georgia to Maine, is protected, many sections of its buffer are only 1,000 feet wide or less. This new effort would protect the broader ecological, cultural, and visual landscapes, conserving a treasured recreational experience, connecting the cultures of the eastern United States, north and south, and providing a critical ecological corridor while we still have time. Read more.
Chesapeake Bay Conservation Partnership
A partnership of over 90 agencies and nonprofits fosters collaborative action to conserve natural and cultural landscapes and safeguard a healthy environment and economy in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Partners work together across the watershed in 6 states and the District of Columbia to conserve and restore the health, heritage, natural assets, and economic value of this national treasure. The coalition has developed a shared conservation vision and priority system for the watershed. Read more here.
Florida Conservation Groups Unite to Support Legislative Fix for Florida Forever Funding
In 2014 Florida voters overwhelmingly approved a state constitutional amendment that provided a funding mechanism for land acquisition through the Florida Forever program. Amendment backers believed that the constitutional amendment would provide up to $300 million per year for land conservation, but state legislators have allocated only a small fraction of that amount. Legislation has been introduced that would annually designate $100 million for the Florida Forever program for land acquisition. Sponsoring senator Rob Bradley said in a statement, '"Floridians are blessed with some of the most unique ecosystems in the world, from springs to the Everglades to coral reefs to world class beaches and rivers. As our population continues to explode, we have an obligation to preserve these unique ecosystems for our children and grandchildren. The Florida Forever program helps us fulfill this obligation.” For more information, click here.
Land Conservation Assistance Network, also known as LandCAN, and formerly the Resources First Foundation. LandCAN is changing its name as part of a deliberate strategy to emphasize the services, solutions and tools provided for landowners, as well as land and energy conservation professionals and businesses dedicated to sustainable land conservation and management practices. LandCAN believes the future of our private lands across the 50 states is principally in the hands of private landowners and their advisors. LandCAN's goals are to assure the future of land conservation by helping landowners steward their lands, lakes and rivers for conservation, endangered species support, sustainable agriculture and organic farming, and recreational tourism use. Let us keep this collaboration growing and pass on to future generations a legacy of a beautiful rural America for their health and enjoyment. For more information see www.LandCan.org. As part of its rebranding the Conservation Tax Center is merging with LandCAN and all State Conservation Connections will become State LandCANs.
Land Trust Alliance (www.landtrustalliance.org) promotes voluntary land conservation nationwide and works with more than 1,100 nonprofit, local, and regional member land conservation organizations (including nearly 200 operating in the southern states) by providing them with information, skills development, and resources needed to conserve land and connect more people to the land. The Land Trust Alliance wants to make land conservation relevant to more people; increase the rate of land conservation; empower land trusts to be more resilient to challenges; and make land conservation programs as rigorous as possible.
Landscape Conservation partnerships grow. Landscape conservation is about listening to other people...about sparking genuine collaboration that builds trust and civility...about leveraging the explosion of data and science...about capturing the stories of the land and its people. These thoughts and many others were shared during the 2017 National Forum on Landscape Conservation in which practitioners from across the country and continent gathered to discuss the emergence of collaborative conservation at scale and key pathways forward if we are to fulfill the promise of this approach to getting conservation done. Videos of forum plenary sessions are available for viewing and a report on the proceedings is soon forthcoming. The goal of the Landscape Conservation Network (further described below)is to continue collective conversation on how to protect America's cultural and natural landscapes that sustain us all.
Partnership for Southern Forestland Conservation (www.pfsfc.org) is a coalition of more than 30 public and private organizations working to retain and increase large blocks of working forest in the South. A key goal of the Partnership is to work with Timber Investment Management Organizations (TIMOs) and Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) to better understand partnership opportunities with these entities. Partnership projects include:
* Gulf Forestry/Deepwater Horizon Settlement
* Lower Mississippi River Restoration
Resource Conservation & Development Councils (see www.narcdc.org for information, directory, and links to local councils) are 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, usually serving geographic areas of 8-12 counties, whose primary purposes are to conserve and protect soil, water, and other natural resources while helping achieve healthy communities and economic growth balanced with sustaining land and water resources. More than 40 RCDCs operate in the southern U.S. Their programs typically focus on natural resources and soil conservation, water quality, sustainable management of forests and agricultural lands, community planning and economic development including farmers markets, agri-tourism, parks and greeenways, and small agricultural-based businesses. This program was first authorized by federal enabling law in 1962, and the councils work in partnership with the US Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Services, and with other local public agencies and private businesses and civic organizations. The National Association of RC&D Councils supports the nationwide network of local councils.
River Network (www.rivernetwork.org) is a national river conservation organization, with staff throughout the South, which serves as a champion for clean and ample water, with the goal to protect and restore rivers and life-sustaining waters across America. It builds coalitions, organizational strength, and leadership among 2,000 local partner groups working to protect rivers and watersheds nationwide. Read the opening letter in River Network's 2016 Annual Report. Also note that the River Network's "2016 Trends Report on Our Water Our Future" includes important information about the diversity of the river and watershed community in the United States. The report stresses the need for river and watershed protection efforts to reflect the interests and the diversity of the communities being served. River Network recognizes that climate change is impacting rivers and the human communities living on rivers. River protection groups are partnering with vulnerable communities to reduce risks, build resiliency, and cope and adapt with flooding and other negative impacts. Read more.
Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership
(www.southeastaquatics.net) focuses on issues concerning management of threatened aquatic resources in the region (34 percent of fish species and 90 percent of native mussel species in the southeastern U.S. are designated as endangered, threatened, or of special concern). SARP was founded for purposes of being a catalyst and partnering with others to protect, conserve, and restore aquatic resources and habitats in 14 states.
Southeastern Partnership for Forests and Water
is a collaborative effort to enhance forested watershed protection that benefits public water and local economies in the southeastern U.S. This project is jointly funded by the US Endowment for Forestry and Communities and by the US Forest Service. Goals include developing cooperative relationships among state and local agencies, forestry and conservation organizations, and other river and watershed protection associations to design pilot projects and funding to implement creative protection strategies in high priority watersheds.
The 500-Year Forest Foundation (www.500yearforest.org ) is a Virginia-focused model that can be adopted by other forestland conservation organizations across the region interested in expanding landowner recognition and assistance programs. This nonprofit group provides a combination of technical and financial assistance to private owners of older-growth forests (all under conservation easements held by the Virginia Commonwealth or private land trusts) to assist them with forest stewardship and eradication of invasive plants. The Foundation enters into management cooperative agreements with owners of old-growth forests under permanent conservation easements and uses private grant funds to provide annual matching grants to member forest owners. The Foundation also encourages "forests as laboratories" projects and works in collaboration with teams of volunteers, consultants, independent contractors, and interns.
US Endowment for Forestry and Communities (www.usendowment.org ) is a nonprofit, private organization based in Greenville, SC, dedicated to advancing the health, sustainability, and vitality of the nation's working forests and forest-reliant communities. The Endowment maintains the National Conservation Easement Database (www.conservationeasement.us )--a comprehensive overview of nearly 120,000 easements covering over 30 million acres nationwide. See its "Mosquito in the Tent" report, which highlights collaborations between the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities and the USDA Forest Service. See the Endowment's 2015 Annual Report highlighting its partnerships and successes and challenges of the past year.
Waterkeeper Alliance (www.waterkeeper.org ) is a worldwide alliance of over 240 affiliate local waterkeeper organizations (sometimes known as riverkeepers or baykeepers), including more than 50 in the southern U.S. The Alliance is dedicated to protecting water quality through science, community organizing, and legal defense.
Water Protection Network (www.waterprotectionnetwork.org ) is a national coalition of over 240 organizations working to ensure that the nation's federal water projects and policies are environmentally and economically sound. The Network is managed by the National Wildlife Federation, and establishes a collaborative voice for reforming national water policies and to influence federally sponsored projects and permits at the local level. WPN offers its member groups a free weekly e-newsletter and eligibility for assistance grants.
World Wildlife Institute (www.WRI.org )is an international conservation organization providing many helpful resources for application in our region. Its publication on "Protecting Drinking Water Supplies at the Source" and review of collaborative investment strategies to protect watersheds is of great interest. WRI suggests that those concerned about assuring safe water supplies in the future can apply experiences and successful strategies drawn from 13 case examples from around the country (one of them in the southern U.S.--North Carolina's Upper Neuse River watershed protection partnership project). READ REPORT
Discover Life In America (www.dlia.org) is a science and environmental education nonprofit organization focused on the ecosystems and biodiversity (estimated between 60-80,000 species of life) in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and surrounding areas. It supports the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory research project, and hopes to expand this first-of-its-kind comprehensive, long-term biodiversity inventory to other biodiversity "hotspots" in America.
Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (www.lccnetwork.org ) is a network of 22 cooperatives spanning all of North America and US island territories in the Caribbean and Pacific Ocean [seven of them in the southern U.S] dedicated to building partnerships for large landscape-scale conservation strategies and solutions. Their goal is to apply collective science and management approaches focused on critical conservation issues, including habitat conservation and restoration for imperiled species, connecting aquatic habitats, climate change resiliency and adaptation to sea level rise, balancing energy development with natural resource conservation, reducing negative water quality impacts on the Gulf of Mexico, conserving urban natural habitats, and connecting people with nature. All LCCs are devising Conservation Blueprints for prioritizing and conserving natural and cultural resources. See the South Atlantic Landscape Cooperative's Conservation Planning Atlas .
And see the Gulf Coast/Ozarks Landscape Cooperative's Conservation Planning Atlas and its GCPO LCC Legacy Report 2010-2017 .
Also examine the combined Southeast U.S. regional Conservation Strategy blueprint and map, read SECAS below.
The Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS) was initiated in 2011 by state agency members of the Southeastern Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) and the federal Southeast Natural Resource Leaders Group with support from Southeast and Caribbean Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) and the Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership (SARP). The SECAS Blueprint stitches together the work of multiple Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) into a consolidated plan and map of shared conservation and restoration priorities across the Southeast and Caribbean. The recently revised SECAS Blueprint serves as a plan for making the SECAS vision a reality. A recording of a March 2017 60-minute webinar about the SECAS is posted on YouTube.
For additional background concerning the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS) visit the WEBSITE. The SECAS Conservation Blueprint v1.0 can be accessed at the Southeast Region Conservation Planning Atlas
NatureServe (www.natureserve.org) represents a network of over 80 public and private natural heritage programs across the U.S. and leads efforts to provide scientific information, data and maps, tools and expertise to guide effective conservation actions and land use decisions to protect native animals, plants, and habitats. NatureServe is principal manager of the LandScope public database and tool for ecosystem-based conservation planning. It produces the NatureServe Explorer, an online encyclopedia of life, which includes data and maps of exemplary natural communities and habitats of rare and endangered species.
Southeastern Partners in Plant Conservation is a collaboration intended to bring together government agencies, land managers, botanical gardens, university programs, and botanical experts to inform each other on best practices and topics relevant to rare plant conservation and to form a cohesive network of resources to support regional efforts for at-risk & listed plant species in the Southeastern U.S. A meeting in Atlanta in the fall of 2016 assembled 160 people from 22 states, the US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico, and representatives from many public and private conservation organizations from across the Southeast U.S. A meeting summary and indexed recordings of the presentations is available at the SePPCon Website hosted by the Atlanta Botanical Garden.
US Fish and Wildlife Service invites you to become a reader of its new Fish and Wildlife News online magazine. Read About how the Service is creating a more Connected Constituency.
Wetland Forests protection initiative (www.wetlandforests.org ) is in the formative stage and focuses on raising public awareness and increasing the scale and coordination of efforts to protect more of the threatened forests in the river bottomlands and wetland areas of the southern U.S. This coalition is being organized by the Dogwood Alliance, and its mission is to conserve, restore, and improve Southern wetland forests through science-backed actions, diverse partnerships, and citizen and landowner engagement.
The Wildlands Network (www.twp.org ) pursues the vision of establishing four major corridors of protected and restored natural habitats connecting across the North American continent. This science-based solution is proposed in strategic response to what many recognize as the largely human-caused Sixth Great Extinction currently occurring. Its focus now is on devising the Western and Eastern Wildways corridors, including a connected system of conserved land linking 16 essential ecological core areas from Quebec, Canada, down the Appalachian mountains, on to restored and protected longleaf pine forests and coastal ecosystems in NC-SC-GA, and linking on to the eastern Gulf Coast and Florida Everglades. Wildlands Network also advocates for restoration of top carnivores to native ecosystems.
Wildlife Habitat Council (www.wildlifehc.org ) promotes and certifies habitat conservation and management on corporate lands through partnerships and education. The Council is supported by some of America's major landholding corporations. In 2016 the Council debuted a new certification program for wildlife habitat conservation practices on corporately owned and managed lands. Check out the WHC's Conservation Academy, with its many FREE educational webinars. WHC is promoting the wide use of the American Forest Foundation's Project Learning Tree educational program for America's youth.
Natural and Cultural Heritage:
Large Landscape Conservation Practitioners' Network
(c/o Center for Large Landscape Conservation ) is an alliance of individuals and organizations engaged in initiatives and promoting collaborations for conservation of large-scale landscapes. The Network offers an online learning platform for building and sharing knowledge on large landscape conservation. Recently the Large Landscape Conservation Network refined its organizational structure, crafted its new strategic plan, and upgraded its website. In the fall of 2014 the Network convened a hugely successful National Workshop on Large Landscape Conservation in Washington, D.C., and now offers modules from that conference on its website. The Network has released a new primer on large landscape conservation, and is finalizing an exchange program among practitioners. To learn more about the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, read the 2015 National Academy of Science report A Review of the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives.
In a recent article in BioScience, a prominent group of agency scientists and conservation leaders call for a cohesive and coordinated national approach to habitat preservation in the United States: "The future of habitat and biodiversity conservation will rely on an unprecedented level of cooperation across private, local, state, tribal and federal agency boundaries." Read a news synopsis here and access the paper's abstract.
The August 2016 issue of the George Wright Forum, the journal of the George Wright Society (GWS), is titled, Scaling Up: Landscape-scale Conservation in North America. The Special Theme issue of the journal explores the past and current practice of landscape-scale conservation through a diverse set of nine articles. Though the full content of the Forum's current issue is normally reserved for GWS members, the Society has graciously partnered with the Practitioners' Network to make this content freely available to our network here. More information on the GWS, including how to become a member to take advantage of future content and resources, can be found at the Society's website.
Network for Landscape Conservation (http://www.largelandscapenetwork.org ) is the community of practice for professionals working to catalyze a landscape conservation approach and to achieve on-the-ground success. This collaborative of practitioners in the private, public, non-profit, academic, and philanthropic sectors is focused on supporting and advancing the practice of landscape conservation. Their objectives are to
Living Landscape Observer (livinglandscapeobserver.net ) provides commentary and information on emerging fields of large landscape-scale conservation, historic preservation, and sustainable community development. The "living landscape" approach emphasizes preservation of a "sense of place." See also the Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation.
The Power of Partnership
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Environmental Restoration and