January 14, 2016
In a great victory for landowners interested in conservation the enhanced tax incentive for conservation easement donations has been made permanent. In strong bipartisan action, the House voted 318-109 and the Senate voted 65-33 to pass the bills that included the incentive, and, the president signed it into law on December 18, 2015, and it applies retroactively to January 1, 2015. The incentive, considered by many to be the most important conservation legislation in 20 years, encourages landowners to place conservation easement on their land to protect important natural, scenic and historic resources.
The Land Trust Alliance led its more than 1,100 member land trusts and five million supporters through a collaborative, multi-year campaign to secure the incentive’s permanency. Lands placed into conservation easements continue to be farmed, grazed, hunted or used for outdoor recreation and wildlife conservation, and these lands remain on county tax rolls, strengthening local economies. The incentive:
For more information about the tax incentive, visit http://www.landtrustalliance.org/land-trust-alliance-praises-congressional-deal-backing-major-conservation-legislation.
Louisiana Releases Draft Annual Plan for Coastal Restoration and Protection.
Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) released its draft Fiscal Year 2016-2017 Annual Plan for Integrated Ecosystem Restoration and Hurricane Protection in Coastal Louisiana. This year’s Annual Plan expands on last fall’s recommendation by CPRA to advance two sediment diversion projects at Mid Barataria and Mid Breton. National and local conservation groups working together on Mississippi River Delta restoration – Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana – released a statement in support of the sediment diversions as a key strategy in rebuilding the collapsing Mississippi River Delta. To review the plan, visit http://www.nola.com/environment/index.ssf/2016/01/proposed_2017_coastal_restorat.html. To view the statement by the conservation groups, visit http://www.mississippiriverdelta.org/blog/2016/01/12/louisiana-releases-draft-annual-plan-for-coastal-restoration-and-protection/.
In other CPRA news, Johnny Bradberry has been tapped by Governor John Bel Edwards to lead the organization which oversees billions of dollars of state and federal funding used to manage the state's coastline. Bradberry currently serves as the vice president of business development for Volkert, an engineering and environmental firm. He was the secretary of the Department of Transportation and Development under former Gov. Kathleen Blanco. For more information, visit: http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/01/john_bel_edwards_cpra.html.
Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science Conference to be held February 1 – 4, 2016.
The 2016 conference theme, “One Gulf: healthy ecosystems, healthy communities,” will focus on opportunities to promote and sustain a healthy Gulf environment, communities, and economy, including new discoveries, innovations, technologies, and policies. A strong emphasis this year will be placed on the human dimensions of oil spill in addition to the ecosystem science research that has led past conferences. This year's conference will be held at the Marriott Tampa Waterside. To learn more and register, visit http://www.cvent.com/events/2016-oil-spill-and-ecosystem-science-conference/event-summary-52ad0b225ba54cf0960090070e6f8073.aspx.
Mississippi Extends Public Comment Period on Multiyear Implementation Plan (MIP) for RESTORE Funding from Bucket One.
On December 9, 2015, the State of Mississippi’s initial Multiyear Implementation Plan (MIP) was made available for public review and comment in accordance with the RESTORE Act. An addendum to the initial MIP has been published which provides clarification on each project’s start date, end date, and the availability of a map illustrating the location of each project. The public review and comment period has been extended to Friday, February 5, 2016. For more information, visit http://www.restore.ms/.
Webinar on Private Land Partnership Opportunities Available for Streaming Online.
Bridget Collins, Manager of Private Lands Stewardship at the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), presented a webinar on private land partnership opportunities in the Gulf of Mexico region through NFWF and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. The presentation, originally broadcast on December 10, 2015, includes detailed information on the NFWF Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund, their Gulf Coast Conservation Grants Program, and the NFWF-NRCS Gulf Partnership initiative. Special thanks to NFWF for hosting the webinar. Use the link below to view the presentation: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/6386703876679059457
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Sets January 28 Deadline for Gulf Coast Conservation Grant Submissions.
NFWF’s Gulf Coast Conservation Grants Program (GCCGP) supports conservation projects that enhance coastal habitats of the Gulf of Mexico and bolster priority fish and wildlife populations, while strengthening resilience within the coastal region. The program supports priority conservation needs of the Gulf that are not otherwise expected to be funded under NFWF’s Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund or other funding opportunities associated with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill (e.g., RESTORE Act, Natural Resource Damage Assessment, Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, etc.). The program seeks to advance innovative restoration concepts and approaches, and fund species and habitat projects benefitting Gulf coastal ecosystems and communities. For more information, visit http://www.nfwf.org/gulfconservation/Pages/home.aspx.
Land Trust Alliance Southeast Program Seeks Conservation Manager.
The conservation manager position offers an exciting opportunity to play a leadership role in the land conservation community of the Southeast United States. The position is primarily responsible for developing, managing and delivering programs to build strong land trusts and enhance their capacity to achieve their missions more effectively. The Southeast Program office is located in Raleigh, NC but the successful candidate’s location may be open for negotiation in one of the following southeastern states. The application deadline is January 29, 2016. For more information visit http://www.landtrustalliance.org/job/southeast-conservation-manager-land-trust-alliance-location-flexible.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.