Too often we work in self-segregated and uncoordinated isolation in efforts to conserve and protect natural lands and wildlife habitats, rivers and estuaries, public parks and reserved community green places. Failure to coordinate efforts through cooperative alliances diminishes our ability to be effective in aim to protect and conserve more land and water resources.
North Carolina’s environmental protection and land conservation organizations—motivated by the state’s 20-year-old grants program that provides funding for combined land and water conservation projects—have worked together more closely than in many other states, and may serve as an example of how to build partnerships across the South. Until recently,when the North Carolina state legislature and governor drastically reduced funding and combined several of the Clean Water and other environmental trust fund programs, state funding for environmental trust funds in some years exceeded the $100 million annual goal. With the added benefit of privately contributed funds, federal government matching grants, and landowners’ frequent willingness to sell land or easements for conservation at substantially less than appraised value, the leveraging effect of these public funds produced magnificent accomplishments. . . .
Many of the private land trusts and conservancies in North Carolina have expanded their missions to become effectively combined land and water conservation programs. That too can serve as a model for regional application. The public may not fully understand concepts of watersheds and ecosystems, but they do understand that water quality and quantity are indivisibly connected to what happens on the land. And they are familiar with the negative effects of unchecked pollution, extraction, and sedimentation into North Carolina’s bodies of water. But from my observation, we too often miss opportunities in land conservation and water resource protection by failing to work in stronger collaboration, communication, and alliance among private and public efforts to conserve and protect land, water, and wildlife resources. I know of no “umbrella” or coordinating entities in any of our southern states that effectively serve the function of networking the various land and water conservation groups working in those states. And the national associations for land or wildlife conservation, or for river protection, seldom work cooperatively and almost never attempt to integrate their own program efforts.
With limited financial and human resources, and seemingly overwhelming forces threatening our environmental assets, it is necessary for those of us concerned with saving and defending the best, most critical, most fragile, most endangered of our natural resources to work more closely in partnerships, collaboration, and coalition to increase our odds of success.
We need to establish statewide and regional alliances for land and water resource conservation and stewardship that embrace broad arrays of engagement and promote exchange of information and coordination of efforts, including hosting occasional discussion forums. Such consortia of interests and higher level of coordination and communication will help us to accomplish greater scales of success and greater public awareness—and lead to the protection of more of our environmental heritage for the common good of all.
--Chuck Roe, president Southern Conservation Partners
Conservation, viewed in its entirety, is the slow and laborious unfolding of a new relationship between people and land.
There is in fact no distinction between the fate of the land and the fate of the people. When one is abused, the other suffers.
From the President
SCP President Chuck Roe looked at land conservation along the route of John Muir's "Southern Trek."
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