This session is an introduction to the Agricultural Land Easement program for new participants. Course will focus on explaining the purposes of the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program Agricultural Land Easement component including eligible land, eligible landowner and eligible entity requirements. Participants will be guided through the basic program processes from the application process through the easement closing and stewardship requirements. Participants will leave with a basic understanding of entity roles and responsibilities for ACEP ALE application and participation.
Land trusts have a long history of working to address climate change through their land protection work and by leveraging natural solutions to improve resiliency and capture carbon. More recently, the land trusts have also begun working at the national and state level to broaden support for climate action and to accelerate the country’s transition to a clean energy economy. The workshop will share the ways land trusts are approaching this big issue and provide case studies from states with very different political environments, each taking a very different approach to tackling the climate change issue. In North Carolina, that work is building support for climate action with conservatives. In Oregon, land trusts supported and put forward a carbon pricing proposal. In Florida, the work is helping develop regional local government climate compacts to promote natural climate solutions and greenhouse gas emission reductions. The case studies will offer ideas for how organizations of all sizes can connect to this work and contribute in a way that suits them.
Session Level: Intermediate Session Location: Raleigh Convention Center
With the increased challenges of climate change and landscape adaptation, how can we marry science-based conservation with scalable outcomes? Policy advocacy and lobbying are effective tools for the modern-day land trust as we seek to ensure the long-term resilience and relevance of our land and water conservation efforts. This interactive session will provide a crash-course on advocacy and lobbying tools for land trusts and other nonprofits. Through a series of case studies, the presenters will highlight the unique opportunities and challenges for 501(c)(3)s as federally- and state-regulated entities. Basics of lobbying will be explored to give participants a toolkit to engage in successful campaigns—including direct and grassroots lobbying. The presenters will highlight the major frameworks for tracking and reporting (IRS, LDA, state, etc.) to ensure advocacy activities follow relevant laws and regulations. The session will also explore the wealth of non-lobbying public policy activities in which non-profits can engage: partnerships with other organizations; technical assistance; nonpartisan analysis, study, and research; and exploration and discussions of broad social and economic problems. Tools will be shared to help understand and apply the relevant rules and develop a streamlined compliance process. Given the expanded role of technology and social media in conservation work, topics will include best practices around digital lobbying.
This session will provide Federal agency and partners perspectives on the Land and Water Conservation Fund, including information on the recent permanent reauthorization and project timelines and agency relationships from a partner perspective, legislative strategy for Dingell Act permanently authorizing LWCF and push for full funding, development of relationships with Congressional members and staffers, and agency timelines for LWCF proposals and budget/appropriations insights.
Session Level: Advanced Session Location: Raleigh Convention Center
With two-thirds of land in the Lower 48 under private ownership, many species of conservation concern depend on these privately held forestlands, wetlands, grasslands, marshlands, uplands, and riparian habitats for their persistence in the future. Land trusts are well-positioned to be leaders in stemming the current extinction and climate change crises. This workshop will demonstrate how land trusts can conserve wildlife through habitat improvement and protection, active management for key species, and strategic investments in rare, unique, or exceptional habitats. Because no funding source fits every land trust, our diverse panel will address a range of funding opportunities. Speakers will present resources available to land trusts, such as State Wildlife Action Plans, that can help guide wildlife conservation investments. Speakers will also review funding sources for wildlife conservation on private lands, including various Farm Bill programs, some of which now emphasize climate change adaptation as a priority investment. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will provide an overview on funding assistance and grant opportunities through the Partners for Fish and Wildlife, Coastal, and National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Programs. Representatives from two land trusts will present case studies of work they are doing that benefits wildlife, and the funding sources they use to support that work. Participants will complete the workshop armed with information on how to secure funds and collaborate with partners for wildlife conservation. Participants will also be encouraged to share their success stories, ask questions, or seek advice from the panel or other participants on how to support their current or potential wildlife conservation work.
This session will provide in-depth discussion of ALE including a focus on utilizing RCPP to accomplish easement enrollment goals. Session will discuss changes resulting from the 2018 Farm Bill Statute and the current progress of the NRCS ACEP regulation. The use of RCPP and ACEP ALE will be discussed along with items related to easement implementation of RCPP projects as a whole. The 2018 Farm Bill made substantial changes to RCPP that have added new flexibilities for easements under the program. With the 2019 RCPP funding opportunity open until early December, an overview of the RCPP easement component will be provided. Participants will leave with a better understanding of the ALE changes in the Statute and have the ability to discuss current policy concerning RCPP and ACEP ALE with state program managers.
Energy infrastructure is the new sprawl and a major threat to preserved lands. Several regions of the country are facing a proliferation of gas pipelines that often target preserved lands, and also further reliance on fossil fuels and exacerbate climate change. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is the primary federal agency that reviews pipelines, and confers the power of eminent domain that pipeline developers can use to seize preserved lands. Learn how land trusts are fighting to protect preserved lands from interstate gas pipelines and what you can do if the energy companies come knocking. The presenters will discuss their efforts to protect preserved lands from interstate gas pipelines, and to ensure that clean, renewable energy projects are appropriately sited.
Session Level: Basic Session Location: Raleigh Convention Center
Just 10 miles east of Raleigh lies the Marks Creek Rural Lands Initiative, a 50,000 acre watershed home to historic Shotwell, the Neuse River, Marks Creek and 2,200 acres of open space including Triangle Land Conservancy’s (TLC) 405 acre Walnut Hill Preserve. This open space initiative started off with a circle of the closest unfragmented rural landscape to the capital city twenty years ago and has grown to be one of the most successful conservation efforts in urban North Carolina. Meet many of the parties involved in this conservation effort and learn strategies used over the past 20 years to engage the local community, schools, and funders to protect the Marks Creek Rural Lands. TLC will discuss planning efforts and community engagement strategies that helped engage a diverse rural community and build support for conservation efforts and development of nature preserves within the landscape. A local community member will provide a fast paced Wild Ideas presentation that highlights the diverse and historical significance of the area. Partners will detail techniques including: local advisory groups, community charrettes, Bioblitzes, volunteer days and Wild Ideas events. These strategies provided meaningful and useful feedback for conservation efforts, preserve design, and natural/historical interpretation that your land trust could replicate. Finally Wake County will share tools and techniques for running successful local bond initiatives to support conservation efforts.
Session Level: Basic Session Location: Raleigh Convention Center