COLT’s weekly land trust news
February 8th, 2016
Happy Monday everyone,
After sifting through the muchos mensajes de correo electrónico that came through during a very pleasant vacation with family in Costa Rica last week, I think we’ve managed to pull together the latest news, grant opportunities, webinars, conferences, and other pertinent information for you to enjoy.
Be sure to look through some new grant and funding opportunities that have come across our radar, along with some interesting webinar series below.
However, first Kelley wanted to pass along an important policy update happening at the moment:
During this 2016 Oregon legislative session, COLT is tracking a bill, SB 1517, that would have sweeping impacts on voluntary conservation projects across Oregon. The bill has three general provisions:
- Makes wetlands restoration on land zoned for Exclusive Farm Use (EFU) a land use decision subject to county review and approval;
- Removes the liability shield protecting private landowners, including organizations and agencies, when they partner with ODFW or OWEB on fish and wildlife habitat improvement projects; and
- Increases from 50 to 100 cubic yards the amount of material that can be removed from waters of the state without a permit.
In partnership with the Network of Oregon Watershed Councils and the Oregon Association of Conservation Districts, COLT submitted in-person testimony opposing the bill last week at a public hearing in front of the Senate Committee on Energy and Environment. Other conservation groups are also raising concerns with the consequences of this potential legislation, and there several amendments are under consideration. Kelley was also quoted in a recent article in the Capitol Press about the bill.
The Senate Committee will hold a work session tomorrow at 3pm and potentially consider moving the bill out of Committee. You can watch a live stream of the session here.
We’ll keep you apprised on the developments.
In other news, we are excited to say that our 2015 State of the Lands report will be on the press for printing tomorrow morning. We hope to having them in hand by Friday, and will be sharing them with each land trust at the upcoming board meeting in Eugene on February 25th and 26th if not sooner. We also have a plan we will share on releasing the report to partners around the state to amplify its impact.
This year’s report gives a progress update on our collective impact around the state, and once again highlights stories that bring to life the work of each of our members. We had great help producing the report, and are eager to share the details and beautiful design with everyone. So keep an eye out for your new State of the Lands report!
Finally, President Obama’s budget for FY2017, which will be released in the coming few days, proposes full $900 million funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. In Oregon, we understand this will include substantial funding for the Pathways to the Pacific large landscape collaborative project involving the Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust and the Columbia Land Trust, among many other partners. We hope to hear more good news in the coming days about Oregon projects set to benefit from the President’s strong support for LWCF.
Ok, on to the latest news this week.
All the very best,