With the call to increase land protection tenfold every year between now and 2030, land trusts must find new ways to identify and protect lands faster and to manage them for effectiveness. That means being even more strategic and implementing efficiencies into workflows to prioritize, engage, secure and monitor lands at top speed. We also must include communities and lands that traditionally have been left out for various systemic reasons and evolve our field to be more inclusive. Geospatial technologies help us understand where to direct resources and policies that will have the best outcomes for people and nature. Data shows us where protected lands can provide multiple benefits like health, biodiversity, equity and climate resilience.
No matter where your organization is in terms of capacity, funding or technical sophistication, you can tap into the power of data, science and technology to prioritize, secure and track protected lands. Experts from NatureServe, Center for Geospatial Solutions, the International Land Conservation Network and Upstream Tech will show you examples of how to access and use data and technology for your goals and how to tap into partnerships or networks that can support and amplify your work. We cannot meet these audacious land protection goals alone. Short presentations will be followed by an interactive panel session to discuss challenges, needs and the path forward as well as addressing participant questions.
This session will introduce participants to new and emerging opportunities for their networks of landowners to take advantage of funding for forest stewardship through the carbon market. It will focus on the Family Forest Carbon Program, a practice-based program developed by the American Forest Foundation and The Nature Conservancy to meet the challenges that many smaller-acre landowners face when considering traditional forest carbon offset programs. It will also include a discussion about our initial findings on the most aspects of a carbon program for smaller family landowners of less than 2,400 acres.
As the frequency and scale of natural disasters increases across the globe, local communities and organizations need more expertise, tools and resources to prepare and respond when disaster strikes. Since 2017, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has spent over $45 billion in recovery funding for states impacted by wildfires, flooding, hurricanes and tropical storms. As the consequences of climate change are hitting us all at the community and personal level, Congress has directed FEMA to expand their mandate to invest in more climate-resilient communities and natural infrastructure. The learning objectives of this session are to (1) Better prepare your land trust and community for a natural disaster by gaining an understanding of the relationship between local disaster preparedness planning, and the state and federal emergency management agencies (2) Learn from land trusts in California and Oregon that worked with FEMA and state agencies after devastating wildfires to try to secure hazard mitigation funding for land conservation and restoration (3) Gain an in-depth understanding of the 2021 funding opportunity and application process for FEMA's new Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) Program which "aims to categorically shift the federal focus away from reactive disaster spending and toward research-supported, proactive investment in community resilience."
The Land Trust Alliance’s 2017 bulletin announcing its new climate change initiative states, “It’s important to call attention to the local impacts of climate change in ways that will engage people in your community.” The bulletin also announced LTA pilot programs and initiatives aimed at supporting the buildout of large-scale renewable energy projects as well as promoting the use of land to mitigate climate change. Programs such as these will indeed require broad engagement by local communities. In 2019, the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation presented a speaker event to engage our largely rural and largely climate denying community about the local impacts of climate change. These had included a decade of local extreme weather which had caused millions and millions of dollars in property damage, crop loss, and even loss of life. JDCF’s program created a catalyst for our county board to resolve to consider climate change in future decisions as well as interest in creating a local green energy district. If we were to do that speaker event today, those outcomes would be too modest. In our Rally 2021 workshop, we have asked our presenters to address a second goal as well. That goal is to help land trust executive directors, senior policy and governance officers and board leadership explore ways in which they can not only engage their local communities on awareness of the local impacts of climate change but also be a practical resource in how those communities choose to mitigate the local impacts of climate change. Our presenters will also show how these climate change mitigation efforts can at the same time help communities to create new businesses and new jobs, become more resilient, and more supportive of conservation.
This interactive workshop will lead participants through an exercise to incorporate climate change considerations in stewardship activities. We will walk through an adaptation process outlined in “A quick start guide to adaptation planning for land trusts” to answer questions such as: 1) What are your stewardship goals? 2) Are you weighing climate risks and vulnerabilities that may affect those goals? 3) What are the actions you can take on your land to help address climate risks? We will introduce adaptation strategies and associated tools and discuss how to begin evaluating your stewardship activities through a climate lens. Walk away with motivation and ideas for action.
Flooding, sea level rise, and declining water quality are byproducts of climate change affecting communities across the country. The preservation of open space, reforestation, riparian and coastal buffer restoration and the use of green infrastructure are all powerful tools to increase resiliency. These projects also yield many co-benefits appreciated by nature lovers across the political spectrum. Land trusts are uniquely positioned to use water related issues as an entry point to a place-based conversation about climate change. The session will draw on The Watershed Institute’s experience educating audiences about climate related water-related issues and natural solutions and will provide an overview of the C-Change Conversations Primer that has been widely and successfully presented to moderate and conservative audiences across the country, reaching almost 15,000 people across 30 states to date. The politically neutral, nonpartisan approach of this presentation is effective with groups who feel uncomfortable talking about climate. Reaching groups like land trust supporters to deliver compelling data from trusted sources is critical to expanding our country’s understanding of the risk of a changing climate and to shifting the perception of climate change from a political issue to a human one that will affect everyone.
To keep global temperature rise below 2-degrees Celsius, natural climate solutions must play a critical role. Carbon offset markets are one important tool for helping land trusts use their land to mitigate climate change and contribute to climate solutions. The Alliance believes that carbon markets are a potentially significant mechanism in bringing meaningful, new conservation finance to the table to fuel land stewardship and acquisition. Since 2013, more than a dozen lands trusts have developed forest offset projects, and generated significant revenue. These land trusts and their project development partners have learned important lessons and charted a successful path to market. However, many land trusts with more modest forest fee ownerships have found that path too challenging to follow due to
barriers including high cost of project development. Assessing the major obstacles facing most land trusts, while building on existing land trust offset projects, the Land Trust Alliance and Finite Carbon are collaborating to assist accredited land trusts in climate change planning and carbon offset project development. In this session, participants will learn through three examples of developed forest carbon offset projects, including the Passamaquoddy Tribe and two land trusts, about innovative tools to facilitate land trust access to forest carbon offset markets, including legal agreements for pooling lands between aligned landowners into joint projects.
Looking for a partner match? Interested in water quality and reduction of flood waters? Come hear how the Department of Defense (DoD) and its partners play a crucial role in land conservation, natural resource restoration, and climate resilience. DoD owns and manages over 25 million acres of land across the country. Many of these properties are vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Recurrent flooding, drought, extreme wildfires, and rising sea levels are among the threats that military installations currently face. Learn from experts about the Salt Marsh Initiative and efforts to respond to changing environmental conditions all while helping to protect the military mission and local economies.
As the human and financial cost of climate change continues to rise, governments are setting ambitious targets to stem greenhouse gas emissions. It has become clear that these climate targets cannot be met without the protection, restoration and sustainable use of nature and biodiversity. Grasslands store high levels of carbon in their soils, but a significant fraction is being lost through conversion to cropland or overgrazing. Avoiding the conversion of grassland to cropland can help reduce carbon emissions. The good news is protecting grasslands keeps that carbon in the ground and provides numerous other benefits to native plants, wildlife and water quality. Carbon markets can help finance the protection of grasslands and soil carbon, creating a new source of revenue for landowners engaged in sustainable management and conservation of natural and working lands. For land trusts, the carbon markets can help raise revenue to pay for land acquisition, conservation easements and stewardship.
In 2020, the Land Trust Alliance and The Climate Trust launched a partnership to increase funding available to land trusts for grassland and ranchland conservation easement acquisitions using up-front carbon payments and the development of grassland carbon offset projects. Come learn about why grasslands are so special, how grassland carbon offset project work and how this partnership may be able to help your land trust fund easement or in-fee acquisitions.
The social justice movement and worsening climate impacts require land organizations to re-think traditional approaches to land conservation planning. We will highlight innovative work on a statewide and local level to envision and implement a new paradigm in land programs. The Resilient Lands Initiative is an 18 month effort by a diversity of partners to develop a statewide land conservation plan for Massachusetts. A 40-person steering committee considered 9 “land values” including traditional values like habitat, farms, forests and water and added values such as helping people with climate impacts, supporting communities and local economies, supporting traditional Native American cultural values and improving public health in Environmental Justice communities. We reached beyond traditional partners to include public health, urban community groups and conducted 14 virtual focus groups that reached 270 people to include volunteers, farmers, foresters and advocates. This collaborative work is based on many years of regular planning between land trust and state staff highlighted by an annual overnight planning retreat. While the RLI process proceeded, MassAudubon, one of Massachusetts largest land conservation organizations began re-imagining its priorities with a similar lens in its new “Action Agenda” that includes creating new urban sanctuaries and focusing expanded conservation on resilience spaces that help both people and habitat. This effort was guided by a new statewide “resilience” mapping layer. Groundwork Lawrence will bring these statewide visions to the neighborhood level highlighting GWL’s community-led initiatives for tree planting, growing local food, creating new parks and greenspaces and providing affordable housing.
Landmark Conservancy in partnership with The Nature Conservancy and Gathering Waters have established an ambitious goal of focusing our land protection efforts on large tracts of land with high levels of climate resilience. Learn first-hand how a medium-size regional land trust utilized NIACS Vision sessions, The Nature Conservancy's Resilient and Connected Lands analyses, and a standard GIS dashboard to filter and prioritize large land tracts for protection. Learn how we used this approach to enhance strategic partnerships and launch innovative targeted landowner outreach with a goal of building a climate resilient landscape in Northern Wisconsin and beyond!
Communities across America are struggling with the impacts of a changing climate: increasingly severe storms, sea level rise, wildfires, heat waves, droughts, and myriad public health challenges. Climate change hits hardest in low-income areas and communities of color, the neighborhoods that are least equipped to respond. To that end, new investments in climate need to be directed to those places that will feel the greatest impact. Land trusts and local governments have an important role to play in creating new local funding for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Ballot measures to generate funding for these purposes are a critically important tool. In 2020, voters approved 51 of 55 ballot measures -- a 93 percent passage rate -- creating nearly $1.8 billion for new parks, water quality protection, natural areas, and climate in 23 states. One of those measures was Measure 2A in Denver, a quarter-cent sales tax that will provide $800 million to fund a wide range of climate initiatives. 2A is one of the first significant climate funding actions taken by a major American city and is an important blueprint for other local governments across the country. Land trusts have been involved in many of these successful ballot measures, developing their advocacy chops and, in some cases, truly transforming their organizations. This workshop provides land trusts with the tools needed to lead or support ballot measures. Learn how Denver successfully took their case to the voters to create new funding to address climate change in an equitable manner.