We are thrilled to announce the schedule for summer Regional Meetings. Each day-long meeting will provide opportunities for a land trust only gathering, community partner meeting and field trip to a project or conserved property. Please mark your calendars and stay tuned for final details.
On June 3rd Governor Polis signed HB19-1264 into law extending the conservation easement oversight commission and division of conservation program to certify easement holders until 2026. Additionally, the bill creates a working group that will meet throughout the summer and fall to make recommendations on addressing disallowances and aggrieved landowners, orphaned easements and alternative methods for conservation valuation. The working group will submit recommendations to legislature this fall. We will have updates and discussion at our Fall Policy Summer in October as well.
We are grateful for our champion legislators and partners in conservation who sponsored this bill:
· Representative Dylan Roberts
· Representative Jim Wilson
· Senator Faith Winter
· Senator Kerry Donovan
You can read more about the bill and see the full text here: HB19-1264
The coalition opposed this bill as it was a retread of the 2018 legislation Rep. Lewis introduced that we opposed. It died in the House Rural Affairs and Agriculture Committee on February 4th. We provided testimony to oppose the bill.
This article is re-posted from the Conservation Futures Project. Original post: January 22, 2019.
Since 1965, land trusts and their partners have helped Colorado families conserve over 3 million acres of working lands, wildlife habitat and open spaces that define our state and contribute to our quality of life. This work is voluntary, collaborative, nonpartisan and local. It respects private property rights and makes a positive difference in communities across the state.
Private land conservation in Colorado has grown significantly since its inception. In response to increased interest in, and demand for, land conservation across the state, the number of land trusts has increased from fewer than 10 in the 1980s to more than 30 today. The state’s conserved acreage has tripled since 2005 alone, thanks in large part to the creation of Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) and the state conservation easement tax credit, which together have invested over $1 billion in conservation to date. Colorado now ranks 4th in the nation for conserved private lands, behind only Maine, California and Montana.
Private land conservation preserves the best of Colorado for future generations and provides real financial benefits to the public that drive state and local economies. According to recent reports from Colorado State University, every dollar invested in conservation through GOCO and the conservation easement tax credit returns between $4 and $12 in public benefits to the people of Colorado. And every dollar invested through Federal Farm Bill conservation programs generates $2+ of economic activity that is associated with 1,100 Colorado jobs, creates $86 million in value-added, and is particularly impactful for rural communities.
Interest in private land conservation remains stronger than ever. Many land trusts now have waiting lists for new projects, which underscores the urgency of their work as Colorado looks to accommodate 3 million new residents in the next 30 years.
This article is re-posted from the Conservation Futures Project. Original post: January 8, 2019.
Keep It Colorado recognizes the importance of the role of the board in ensuring the integrity and longevity of the organization. There are current openings for four additional board members, especially from medium (Expenses $300k-$699k) and small (Expenses less and $300k) land trusts in Colorado.
If you are interested in, or know someone who would be a great fit in the role, please send all nominations with a cover letter and bio/resume to: firstname.lastname@example.org by January 23 with "KIC Board" in the subject line. If you have any questions, please reach out to any of the current board members or Vanda Dyson, Interim Coordinator for KIC, also at email@example.com. The current board will vote on the nominations at the January 30, 2019 board meeting.
This article is re-posted from the Conservation Futures Project. Original post: December 21. 2018
Last week, the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts (CCLT) Board of Directors and the Conservation Futures Project (CFP) Steering Committee unanimously approved a business plan for our new coalition of land trusts and their partners, which each of you helped to design this year through the CFP. This is the final step in the CFP, which will formally wind down on December 31 to make way for the public launch of our new coalition – which we’re naming Keep It Colorado – on April 1, 2019. Until then, you’ll continue to receive legislative updates from CCLT, which will remain active on your behalf throughout the session.
As we make this transition, we wanted to pause and offer our sincere thanks for helping to make 2018 a remarkable year for the future of conservation in Colorado. Together with partners across the state, we scored major legislative victories including the reauthorization of GOCO and the creation of a new Division of Conservation. We fostered innovative regional partnerships, facilitated conversations about long-term stewardship and alternative easement valuation, and connected with colleagues at CPW and COSA’s annual conferences. And we did all this while continuing our day-to-day work with landowners to conserve the agricultural and natural lands that define our communities, and our strategic planning work to build a new, statewide coalition with the vision and capacity to guide and support us as we evolve to meet current and future challenges.
None of this would have been possible without the passion, professionalism and creativity you brought to the CFP this year. We couldn’t have done it without you, and we are grateful for your support and engaged participation over the last 12 months. From all of us on the Steering Committee, thank you.
Starting in January, a new board of directors will step in to lead CCLT as it transitions to Keep It Colorado. This board will be chaired by Rebecca Jewett (Palmer Land Trust) and include Carlos Fernandez (The Nature Conservancy), Jim Petterson (The Trust for Public Land), Tony Caligiuri (Colorado Open Lands), Rob Bleiberg (Colorado West Land Trust), and Erik Glenn (Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust). In addition, we’ll elect representatives from four other land trusts—we’ll be soliciting recommendations from CCLT members for these positions in early January. Representatives from the Land Trust Alliance and Colorado Open Space Alliance will fill the ex-officio seats starting in February. This inaugural Keep It Colorado board includes a mix of CFP Steering Committee members and new board members, which we believe will provide the right balance of continuity and fresh perspectives needed to successfully launch the coalition.
From January through March, this board will work with interim coordinator Vanda Dyson to locate the coalition’s headquarters, establish its operating and financial systems, and recruit its Executive Director. The board will continue to work with Jordan Beezley and lobbyist Benjamin Waters to achieve our community’s 2019 policy goals at the Capitol, and will elect representatives from three affiliate members next summer.
Following the coalition’s April 1 launch, the board and Executive Director will recruit the remaining staff and begin implementing programs that advance the coalition’s key priorities:
Advocating for sound public policy that supports conservation at the local, state and federal level based on our collective input and priorities;
Ensuring that we’re always up-to-speed and can weigh in on new developments through regular communications and one-day summits each spring and fall;
Galvanizing our members to address emerging issues and opportunities, including those related to training and capacity-building (which the coalition intends to deliver to members starting in 2019 through a partnership with LTA); and
Helping us connect more people to our work through strategic, coordinated public outreach.
These programs reflect the collective priorities we identified through the CFP and share three major themes that we heard repeated over the course of this year. First, we’re ready to think big when it comes to the future of conservation in Colorado. Together, we can be stronger and more effective in our work, and a reimagined coalition can provide a critical framework for bringing us together to generate more impact. Second, it’s imperative that all voices are heard. The coalition we build will only be strong if it represents conservation from every corner of the state. And finally, the success of our new coalition depends on us. All of us need to ensure that we’re dedicating time and resources necessary to help the coalition achieve the goals we’ve identified together. It only works if we’re “all in” for the long-term.
The Conservation Futures Project was made possible by the Gates Family Foundation, Great Outdoors Colorado, the Trinchera Blanca Foundation, the Terra Foundation, the Land Trust Alliance, the Colorado State Forest Service, and generous private donors. Please join us in thanking these partners for their incredible support, guidance and inspiration.
Onward to a bright future and continued success,
Tom Gougeon and Russ Schnitzer
Gates Family Foundation
Great Outdoors Colorado
Palmer Land Trust
Colorado Open Lands
Colorado West Land Trust
The Nature Conservancy
The Trust for Public Land
Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust