Examples from my personal career include North Carolina’s informal coalition of public and private land and wildlife conservation organizations in the 1980s that formulated and implemented strategies resulting in protection of many dozens of natural areas, wildlife refuges, and parks across that state; formation of the statewide North Carolina coalition and network of private land trusts in the 1990s, which coordinated and orchestrated efforts to protect (and secured public funding sources for protecting) many more of that state’s most treasured and important natural places and ecological assets; and establishment, largely in the first decade of the 2000s, of similar coalitions of private land conservancies and allied public agencies across the southeastern U.S., from Virginia to Florida, from Kentucky to the Gulf of Mexico coastal region.
I believe 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. There has been no “umbrella” or coordinating entity serving the function of networking the various land and water and wildlife conservation groups working across the state or larger region. And the national associations of land or wildlife or river protection groups seldom work cooperatively and almost never attempt to integrate their program efforts, let alone to coordinate activities among their local member organizations.
I am heartened in now seeing more broadened efforts toward collaboration-building displayed among the current generation of land-water-wildlife conservation practitioners. A few current examples are the partnerships formed around protecting water quality and water-dependent ecological resources in the Chesapeake Bay basin, the ACE Rivers basin of coastal South Carolina, the upper Neuse River and lower Cape Fear River basins of North Carolina.
--Chuck Roe, Southern Conservation Partners President