Gulf Partnership Annual Meeting Review and Resources

More than 100 land conservation practitioners joined the Partnership for Gulf Coast Land Conservation for the 8th Annual Land Conservation Conference September 27 – 29, 2017 in Pensacola, Florida. This year’s theme was Best Practices in Landscape Scale Land Conservation.

Wendy Jackson, Executive Vice President of the Land Trust Alliance, provided the keynote address and reminded us that successful land trusts listen to their communities and find out what their partners need, and then design ways that land conservation can help address those needs. She also encouraged the audience to invest in building relationships and trust with non-traditional partners.

Eric Eckl, owner of Water Words that Work, reminded listeners that conservation communications should be designed to motivate people to action - volunteer, donate, advocate.

James Tillman, Acting Associate Chief of USDA’s NRCS inspired participants by reminding attendees that conservation work isn’t just about healthy water and soil - it is also about people across the region whose ability to make a living depends on how well we do our work.

The two day program featured 10 breakouts, 31 presenters and 3 plenary sessions, and culminated with a panel discussion on Deepwater Horizon restoration and conservation activities led by the RESTORE Council, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund and NRDA. Special thanks to all presenters, sponsors, participants and volunteers for making this conference our best yet!

Ray Herndon, Chair of the Gulf Partnership Executive Committee, recently reported on the conservation success that the Gulf Partnership has had through its Project Assistance Fund from 2014 through June 30, 2017. In early 2014 the Gulf Partnership received a grant from the Knobloch Family Foundation to create a Project Assistance Fund (PAF) for its members. The PAF provides matching funds to partner land trusts to prepare land conservation projects for funding opportunities. Matching funds may be used for surveys, title work, environmental assessments, and related purposes. Highlights of the report include:

  • 14 projects have closed.
  • 20,390 acres have been permanently protected.
  • $226,141 in Project Assistance Fund monies have been spent to prepare land conservation projects.
  • $52,150,412 has been leveraged to purchase land and acquire conservation easements.
  • 11 additional projects are underway.