October 2012 Newsletter

We've taken a major step forward by beginning work on our Louisiana Conservation Center, due to come online in 2013 to join our other regional sites: Arkansas, California, Maine, Mississippi and the Houston region. As part of this process, I will be in Louisiana in December for meetings with both state agencies, various organizations and individuals key to dealing with the state's most pressing conservation issues.

Before long, we plan to add even more state sites, with Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee and Virginia among those next in line. Of course, the number of states and new national resources we add each year depends on two vital inputs from you. First, please continue to tell us about new information we need to add to our state and national databases. Thanks to your help, our user-friendly and comprehensive database resources already provide the world’s largest conservation “marketplace” – a marketplace attracting over 400,000 page view per month and on track to top a record five million visitors this year.

Remarkably, our unique service remains free to private landowners. But it is increasingly expensive to maintain. This challenge has increased further due to USDA's NRCS having cancelled our multi-year contract, leaving us more dependent than ever on individual, philanthropic and corporate sponsors. Therefore, second, please visit our donation page to either renew your support or make your first-time donation to support expanding conservation on private lands to benefit the public, the economy and the environment.

As a PLN newsletter reader, you’re already benefiting from another major step, the appointment of Frances Day who joined us in July as our new Director of Development. We welcome Fran back to Maine where she made great friends and great advancements for Thomas College as their award- and grant-winning Vice President of Institutional Advancement. After an equally productive stint in West Virginia raising the international as well as national profile of Future Generations, Fran is very busy coordinating all our RFF outreach activities, again both in the U.S. and overseas.

Drawing on her experience as a veteran development professional who has taught as well as practiced fund raising, Fran is taking our conservation initiatives to a new level thanks to her extensive ties with the philanthropic community throughout the country. For one visible sign of the many changes which Fran has launched, please visit our Resources First Foundation site where you’ll find a new look and a newly sharpened focus.

Follow Us on Twitter
Keep up with our latest RFF and PLN activities & concerns at www.twitter.com/ResourcesFirst

Thinning & Prescribed Burns
For a powerful explanation of the need for active forest management, watch this nine-minute video from Saving Our Forests at: www.savingourforests.com/Watch-The-Video.html
California rancher & forest owner Peter Stent explains that “My goal for future ecosystem-scale conservation is that I would like to be an early adopter, so that other people would follow suit. I think we have tremendous opportunity through the whole northern California watershed to greatly improve our water management and the health of our forests and to reduce our catastrophic wildfires.”

For his full story, read my two blogs: Will Forest Service Copy Rancher’s Zero-Cost Forest Management Plan? and Wildfires Spread because Congress & Enviros ‘Can’t See the Forest for the Trees.’

Forest Management Legacy
Read about the Pingree family’s precedent-setting conservation easement in these two PLN blogs: For a Maine Family Business – ‘The Forest Comes First’ and The Jobs Come Next. The 762,192 acre easement delivers immense benefits by eliminating development “in perpetuity.” Seven Islands Land Company President John McNulty explains that the easement supports the family’s business goals to use “innovative, cost-effective and sustainable management practices” and to balance “the financial demands of ownership with the practice of sustainable forestry while demonstrating the highest levels of integrity, credibility and innovative practice.”
Linking Small Easements to Multiply Benefits
The Pingree easement’s huge size has generated huge benefits. Meanwhile collaboration among a network of conservation organizations working in Montana’s Flathead River watershed shows that linking up many small-acreage easements can be equally effective in areas where 100 acres is a large holding. The full story is in my Conservation Easements Gaining Ground in Montana blog.
USDA’s Sage Grouse Initiative
Reversing a massive juniper invasion affecting over 12 million acres of grazing lands across the West is not only restoring sage grouse habitat but it’s significantly improving profitability and sustainability for ranchers from California to Idaho. Read more here: Conservation Could Save Sage Grouse & Ranchers from Endangered Species Listing.
Targeting Your Tax-Deductible Donations
Federal and state funds for conservation have been slashed! It takes not only passion but also ongoing funding to accelerate conservation efforts nationally and at state level. To narrow the ever-wider funding gap which limits our conservation efforts, please visit our donation page to make your tax-deductible donation to Resources First Foundation, a 501(c)(3) conservation nonprofit. Help us to continue to provide the critical land stewardship tools which private landowners, public agencies and private conservation organizations use on a daily basis to protect more land and natural resources with conservation easements and other on-the-ground conservation measures.
We Invite Your Input & Insights

To contribute items for our national conservation database or offer your comments, please email: jharsch@resourcesfirstfoundation.org. We welcome your participation in expanding our information resources and we're especially seeking success stories about farmers, ranchers and forest owners who are actively engaged in “keeping working lands working.”

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