Large-scale restoration projects can enhance habitat, provide nature-based climate solutions, improve water quality, and address community needs. They also involve a combination of state, federal, local, and nonprofit players who all bring their own goals and agendas to the table. Across the country, land trusts are stepping in as a partner to manage and facilitate these complicated and exciting projects. The skill sets, community credibility, and partnerships that land trusts bring to the table are allowing them to serve as effective managers for these projects. They are also finding that the projects can bring financial, membership, and conservation benefits back to the land trust. Three land trusts will share case studies of the restoration projects they are working on that have joint ecosystem and community benefits. From stream restoration projects that provide new parks to salt marsh restoration projects that protect infrastructure and decrease flooding risks, these projects are unique community conservation opportunities. As a panel, the presenters will answer questions about the process for taking on these types of projects and lessons learned along the way. The session will provide a chance for audience members to learn from each other and share their own experiences with these types of projects.
Equity, access and inclusion are all becoming important elements of our work. But with no universal standards or definitions, where do you start? To begin, we will reviewing common measures in use today. It will include a look at the data behind the measures: census, parks and open space, pollution burden and health factors. These data can be difficult to obtain and prepare, we will offer trips and tricks to make it easier. Building upon the existing measures, the session will discuss other potential data and factors to include to make a more detailed and nuanced analysis. Tips and tools will focus on both data and GIS tools. We'll wrap up with a guide to getting started in your own analysis. What key decisions to make and how to balanced available resources and tight deadlines.
Ever increasing in popularity, trails and recreational access are increasingly incorporated into land trust conservation projects. Trails facilitate physical and emotional human connection to the natural world that increase relevancy of land conservation. But not all trails are created equal, those not carefully planned, designed, built and managed can become detriments to conservation values that land trusts first sought to protect. A relatively new science, trail sustainability is still unknown to many land trusts. By understanding and implementing its principals, land trusts can effectively balance public recreation and natural resource protection. A sustainable trail will minimize impact to conservation values, reduce management burden and offer an enhanced user experience, a win-win-win that will convince even the most staunch skeptics of public access. Presenters will showcase bad vs. sustainable trails, convey critical concepts in developing trails to minimize impact to resources and demonstrate how to capably incorporate recreation on protected lands while being sensitive to conservation values.
The Land Trust Accreditation Commission permits remote monitoring for properties four out of every five years. However, it can be difficult for land trusts to know where and how to begin exploring new tools and approaches to monitoring. This workshop aims to serve as both a primer to remote monitoring technologies and provide insight on how land trusts could leverage these tools in their workflows for easement and fee lands monitoring with case studies from the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, Ducks Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy California, Minnesota Land Trust and Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. We’ll help answer questions like: What does remote monitoring mean and what are various options? How could this approach complement and enhance my monitoring requirements? What other aspects of my work could benefit from these technologies? How can this approach save money or free up staff time to work on other conservation strategies?
Drawing down carbon from the atmosphere and sequestering it on natural and working lands is essential to achieving climate goals. Increased adoption of regenerative farming practices such as conservation tillage and cover cropping can effectively reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and sequester carbon while also mitigating flood events, protecting water quality, recharging groundwater and increasing resiliency to drought. As land trusts and public agencies involved in agricultural land protection step up efforts to promote soil health and regenerative farming practices, they need both a better understanding of what drives adoption of key conservation practices, and how to measure the potential for impact and target efforts accordingly. This session, led by American Farmland Trust's Climate Initiative Director, Dr. Jennifer Moore-Kucera, will explore the GHG reduction potential of specific agricultural conservation practices, and how rates of adoption differ by region. The session will also introduce participants to two tools that can be used to visualize, target and quantify the GHG reduction potential of practices at different scales and under different scenarios: COMET-Planner, a tool designed by Colorado State University in collaboration with USDA-NRCS, and American Farmland Trust's new Carbon Reduction Potential Evaluator (CaRPE) Tool. The presentation will invite participants to share their successes and challenges in engaging farmers and ranchers around soil health and regenerative farming practices and to brainstorm ways they might use COMET-Planner and CaRPE to help them target, quantify and accelerate adoption of natural climate solutions on working lands.
This session will be most beneficial for land trusts with a service territory that includes a significant amount of public lands- particularly in high-use recreation areas. After a catastrophic wildfire in 2017, Friends of the Columbia Gorge launched a volunteer-driven effort to complete stewardship projects on federal and state public lands. Since the program’s inception, over 1,000 volunteers and numerous community and corporate groups have participated in more than 100 ecological restoration events. Over the course of two years, demand has grown extraordinarily- both from volunteers and land managers. Land managers need help. People want to help our public lands. Our organization can bridge that gap- but how do we grow the program sustainably and ensure that the work of our volunteers provides ecological benefit? To amplify our impact of stewardship across the Columbia Gorge, we are implementing a more cohesive approach across public lands and land trust preserves, while also integrating climate resilience into our stewardship decision-making.