Feb. 23 Update - Partnership for Gulf Coast Land Conservation


February 23, 2016




Save the Date!  Gulf Partnership Annual Meeting Set for Wednesday, May 11, 2016 in Birmingham, Alabama.


Gulf Partnership members and allies are invited to attend the 2016 Annual Meeting and help us set a course for success as an independent organization.  We will begin Wednesday, May 11 at 12:00 noon with a luncheon and plenary speaker and conclude at 5:00 pm.  This year’s meeting is being held in conjunction with the Land Trust Alliance Southeast Regional Conference for Community and Land Conservation.  The Regional Conference begins the evening of May 11 and continues through May 13.  The conference agenda will include two local field trips, plenary speakers, a special breakfast with local foundations; and 20+ workshops.  Registration will open in late February.  For more information about the Southeast regional conference visit: http://www.landtrustalliance.org/conference/southeast-regional-conference-community-and-land-conservation.


Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Trustees Propose to Accept Settlement with BP, Release Final Version of Comprehensive Restoration Plan.


On February 19, 2016, the Trustees released a final comprehensive, integrated, ecosystem restoration plan in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  The plan includes a discussion of the 6,300 public comments that were submitted on the draft plan, including comments submitted by the Gulf Partnership.  After a 30 day waiting period, the Trustees will make a final decision regarding whether to adopt the plan.  If adopted, the final plan would allocate up to $8.8 billion to achieve five goals: 1) restore and conserve habitat; 2) restore water quality; 3) replenish and protect living coastal and marine resources; 4) provide and enhance recreational opportunities; and 5) provide for monitoring, adaptive management, and administrative oversight to support restoration implementation.  For more information, visit http://www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov/2016/02/update-on-the-comprehensive-restoration-plan-for-the-gulf-of-mexico/.


Federal Judge Rules against NRDA Trustees in Case involving Alabama Hotel and Conference Center.


According to the Associated Press, U.S. District Judge Charles Butler recently ruled that state and federal NRDA trustees failed to comply with legal requirements governing the use of natural resource damages funds.  Butler blocked Alabama officials from going forward with a project to use $58 million in early restoration money to build a hotel and conference center at Gulf State Park.  The nonprofit Gulf Restoration Network brought the suit, arguing that a hotel development isn't proper use of money meant to restore coastal damage after the largest oil spill in U.S history.  The judge's decision does not block the state from proceeding with the project, only from using this particular pot of money.  For more information, read the article here: http://www.chron.com/news/science/article/Judge-blocks-Alabama-use-oil-spill-funds-to-build-6834827.php.


USDA Offers Free Webinars


Visit the USDA Science and Technology Training Library to stay up-to-date with the latest research and industry practices in forestry, conservation, bioenergy, climate change and natural resources. Most of our user friendly webinars provide the opportunity to accrue continuing education credits, from professional accrediting organizations such as Society of American Foresters, International Society of Arboriculture, The Wildlife Society, Certified Crop Advisors, and others. A webinar on landscapes for butterfly conservation will be held on March 23rd, 2016.  For more information visit http://conservationwebinars.net/.


Funding Opportunities.

The National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program (NCWCG Program) Announces 2017 Funding Opportunity. 

The NCWCG program is designed to acquire, restore, and enhance wetlands in coastal States through competitive matching grants to State agencies. The primary goal of the NCWCG Program is the long-term conservation of coastal wetland ecosystems. Projects can include: 1. Acquisition of a real property interest (e.g., conservation easement or fee title) in coastal lands or waters (coastal wetlands ecosystems) from willing sellers or partners for long-term conservation; 2. Restoration, enhancement, or management of coastal wetlands ecosystems; or 3. A combination of acquisition, restoration, and management. All projects must ensure long-term (at least 20 years) conservation.  Nonprofits must work with their State agencies to have projects considered.  The deadline for States to apply is Wednesday, June 29, 2016.  For more information, visit http://www.fws.gov/coastal/pdfs/2017NCWCGP_NOFOfinal01212016.pdf.


North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) Program Deadline is February 26, 2016.


The NAWCA Standard Grants Program is a competitive, matching grants program that supports public-private partnerships carrying out projects in Canada, the United States, and Mexico. These projects must involve long-term protection, restoration, and/or enhancement of wetlands and associated uplands habitats.  For more information, visit http://www.fws.gov/birds/grants/north-american-wetland-conservation-act.php.


Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program Deadline Set for March 14, 2016. 


The goal of the Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program is to accelerate strategic protection of healthy, freshwater ecosystems and their watersheds. This goal will be achieved by:

  • Funding key projects identified in existing watershed protection or conservation plans;
  • Building the sustainable organizational infrastructure, social support, and long-term funding commitments necessary to implement large-scale protection of healthy watersheds; and
  • Supporting innovative or catalytic projects that may accelerate or broadly advance the field of practice for watershed protection efforts. 

To find out more, visit:  http://usendowment.org/partnerships/hwcgrantprogram.html.


Upcoming Events


Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MSDEQ) to offer webinar on the Mississippi Gulf Coast Restoration Plan on March 1, 2016.


MS DEQ will host a complimentary webinar on March 1, 2016 at 10:00 am CT to discuss the Mississippi Gulf Coast Restoration Plan. The Plan is the result of a year-long data collection and stakeholder engagement effort funded by an earlier National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) grant to understand the Mississippi landscape and the restoration priorities of the public. During the planning effort, the Mississippi Comprehensive Ecosystem Restoration Tool (MCERT) and the Decision Support System (DSS) were developed to support science-based decision making for restoration. Webinar registration information will be available in the coming weeks.  For more information, visit http://www.restore.ms/mdeq-to-host-webinar/.


Seminar on the Impacts of Loss of Rural Land on Water, Wildlife and Agriculture to be held in Corpus Christi Texas, April 15, 2016.


The Texas Agricultural Land Trust will host a free seminar for landowners, attorneys, landowner advisers, natural resource professionals, and city or county officials. This seminar will focus on how the trends in land loss impact water quality and wildlife, and how it directly impacts landowners’ ability to manage their property and pass their cherished family land to future generations. It will also highlight successful programs from around the country that help landowners conserve their land while providing sources of municipal drinking water.  For more information, visit:  http://www.txaglandtrust.org/free-landowner-workshop-in-corpus-christi/.


Texas Land Conservation Conference to be held March 2 – 4 in Austin, TX.


The Texas Land Trust Council is hosting its annual conservation conference March 2 – 4, at the Airport Hilton in Austin, TX.  Workshop topics include technical issues around water rights and mineral rights, local conservation campaigns, and growing tomorrow’s conservation leaders.  For more information or to register, visit http://www.texaslandtrustcouncil.org.


Find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/GulfPartnership and visit our website at www.gulfpartnership.org.  The Partnership for Gulf Coast Land Conservation is organized under the auspices of the Land Trust Alliance which provides administrative and fiscal support.  The mission of the Gulf Partnership is to work together across the five Gulf of Mexico states to increase the pace, quality and permanence of voluntary land and water conservation in the coastal region. For more information regarding any item in this newsletter, contact Julia Weaver, Partnership Co-Coordinator at 228-219-2279 or jweaver@lta.org.


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