About the Partnership for Gulf Coast Land Conservation

Who We Are

The Partnership for Gulf Coast Land Conservation (the Gulf Partnership) is a coalition of more than two dozen local, regional and national conservation organizations that work in the Gulf Coast region within the five Gulf of Mexico states – Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Our mission is to increase the pace, quality and permanence of voluntary land and water conservation within the coastal region.

Our member organizations work with private landowners and local communities to protect the most important natural resources and beautiful landscapes in the region: ranchlands, mangrove forests, bays, bayous, estuaries, fresh water springs, longleaf pine forests, as well as sandy beaches and barriers islands.

The Gulf Partnership operates under the fiscal sponsorship of the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain and is governed by an Executive Committee comprised of leaders from partner organizations.

Executive Committee Members

Ray Herndon, Chair
The Conservation Fund

Tom Kay, Treasurer

Alachua Conservation Trust

Christine Johnson, Vice Chair

Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast

Lisa Creasman
The Nature Conservancy - Mississippi

Jeff Crosby

Colorado River Land Trust

Yael Girard

Weeks Bay Foundation

Meg Goecker

Alabama Coastal Heritage Trust

Robert Smith

Mississippi Land Trust

Program Sponsors

  • National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
  • Knobloch Family Foundation
  • Land Trust Alliance
  • U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, Inc.

How Land Trusts Work

A land trust is a nonprofit organization that works with landowners to conserve and protect land on a voluntary basis. Land trusts buy or accept donations of land or set up legal agreements with landowners called conservation easements.

Land trusts protect land using two common strategies:

  • Fee Simple: A land trust conserves land through a direct purchase or donation from an interested landowner. The landowner receives a benefit by receiving a fair price for the land or getting a tax benefit.
  • Conservation Easement: A land trust conserves land through a legal agreement with a landowner, which permanently limits uses of the land to protect its conservation values. A conservation easement allows the landowner to continue to own and use the land, as well as sell it or pass it on to heirs.

Strategic Conservation

The Gulf Partnership is committed to Strategic Conservation, the identification of the most important areas in a region for conservation, restoration and long-term management. This approach is in contrast to a scatter-shot approach - what some have called ‘random acts of conservation.’ We want every dollar spent on conservation to be used to create the most benefit.

In November 2014, the Gulf Partnership, in conjunction with The Nature Conservancy and The Conservation Fund, released ‘A Land Conservation Vision for the Gulf of Mexico Region’ which identifies the areas within the Gulf Coast region that are of highest priority for protection and restoration of natural areas and resources. The high priority areas are depicted in a series of maps that include:

  1. Focus areas identified by the partners that reflect local community values
  2. Wetlands
  3. Migratory bird habitat
  4. Scenic rivers
  5. Longleaf pine habitat

We will use the Conservation Vision to:

  • Identify conservation opportunities that will guide protection, conservation, restoration and resiliency planning efforts across the Gulf Coast.
  • Assist in developing a long-term strategy for the efforts of the Gulf conservation community.
  • Serve as a resource for state and federal decision makers, helping them consider and incorporate different opportunities in developing landscape-level restoration plans.

The Importance of Private Land

Of the more than 290 million acres contained with the five Gulf states, more than 86 percent is privately owned as agricultural or forested land. Private lands are a critical part of our culture and heritage that we do not wish to lose. Private lands provide benefits such as food and timber production, opportunities for hunting and fishing, and connection to family and community history. The Gulf Partnership wants to continue to work with private landowners to protect natural resources for future generations through land purchases and conservation easements – voluntary landowner agreements.

The Importance of Long-Term Management

All entities involved in land conservation – citizens, private landowners, nonprofits and public agencies – must prioritize ongoing management This is particularly true along the Gulf Coast where the use of prescribed fire and the control of invasive plants can add to management costs. We recommend that dedicated funds should be established to cover the costs of stewardship and maintenance for all protected lands.

Our History

The Partnership for Gulf Coast Land Conservation (Gulf Partnership) was organized in late 2010 with help from NOAA and the Land Trust Alliance to improve cooperation among land conservation organizations in the coastal region, and to give land trusts and partners an effective voice during the oil spill restoration process.

In early 2011, the Partnership received a seed grant from the Charles Stuart Mott Foundation to support start-up activities and hire two project coordinators. The Partnership held its first organizational meeting in September 2011. A study, written by the Alliance and program coordinator Liz Barber and funded by the Gulf of Mexico Foundation, guides the Partnership’s specific action steps.
Today the Partnership includes more than two dozen national, regional and local land trusts working with private landowners, public agencies and other entities across the Gulf Region to increase the pace, quality and permanence of voluntary land conservation.