2018 Voters Support Conservation – $3 Billion of It

The November 2018 elections proved once again that voters support conservation funding. The Land Trust Alliance reports that 58 city, county or state ballot measures were considered in 23 states on election day. At least 49 of those passed. The Trust for Public Land's LandVote database tracks these ballot measures. 2018 results show voters approved over $3.2 billion in new conservation funding. This means funds that must be dedicated to land acquisition and protection. 2018 results show only one ballot measure in the Chesapeake Bay watershed states. Baltimore ...

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Holistic Approach Needed for Planning Energy Projects

A new report prepared by the Environmental Law Institute for the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership recommends specific actions that Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia may consider to address the impacts of proposed energy projects while improving land conservation outcomes. “The Chesapeake Bay region is home to a diversity of landscapes, historic places, ecosystems, and wildlife as well as an increasing number of pipeline and electricity transmission projects,” said John Griffin, program manager for the Partnership. “Energy facilities present the region ...

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Reclaiming History

Older woman standing in front of a broken down wood house structure.
The Washington Post reported last week on new findings about the extent of the Rappahannock Tribe's vast range and standing within the Chesapeake region. Archaeologist Julia King and Scott Strickland, an expert in geographic information systems, have used archaeological, environmental and historical data to predict the locations of Rappahannock settlements. As the Post writes, "the emerging story undercuts what Western historians have asserted for 400 years about the shape of native culture when the Europeans arrived in America, and it restores the place of the ...

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See How Climate is Changing at the County Level

The Bay Journal reported recently on a new tool displaying climate changes at the county level for most of the Chesapeake watershed and the northeast US. An interactive map allows the user to hover over a county and see trends in temperature, precipitation and growing season. The patterns are pretty clear. As Bay Journal notes: "climate data ranging from 1950-2013 in each county underscores that the vast majority of the watershed is getting hotter and rainier." A few examples cited by the Journal: In Franklin County in south-central Pennsylvania, the ...

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Virginia Governor Signs Order to Address Climate Threats

Last Friday (November 2), Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed an executive order setting out steps to improve resiliency to sea-level rise and natural hazards associated with climate change. Perhaps the most significant element of the order is the directive to complete and implement a "Virginia Coastal Resilience Master Plan." The plan, to be developed by the Chief Resilience Officer in consultation with local governments, state and federal agencies and non-governmental stakeholders, has several required standards. Among those related to land conservation is that ...

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One Billion for Land and Ocean Conservation

Today's New York Times includes an opinion piece by philanthropist Hansjörg Wyss in which he pledges to donate $1 billion over the next decade to land and ocean conservation. Wyss is motivated by both the negative--the startling ongoing loss of biodiversity--and the positive--the growing movement around the nation and the globe to protect the planet. He seeks to "accelerate land and ocean conservation efforts around the world, with the goal of protecting 30 percent of the planet’s surface by 2030." Wyss states "this money will support locally led conservation ...

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Key Fones Cliffs Property Under Contract for Conservation

The Bay Journal reports The Conservation Fund and landowner Terrell Bowers confirmed last week that Bowers' 250 acre property on Fones Cliffs is under contract for conservation. Bowers had approval to develop the property into 47 residential housing units and, more recently, was seeking a re-zoning to allow 10-story condominiums. Fones Cliffs is a significant cultural and scenic landscape along the Rappahannock River. It lies within the Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge and along the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. The cliffs ...

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Please Send Conservation Success Stories!

The Chesapeake Conservation Partnership is assembling success stories for a "State of Chesapeake Conservation" report--and we need your help! We are looking for your best conservation success stories of the last twelve months -- the Chesapeake watershed conservation results of which you are most proud. They could be big acquisitions or easements, or smaller ones that were a key priority. Or it could be an adoption of a key conservation policy. Or perhaps a new public access site. Don't hold back. Help us out and tell your story. It's easy! Here's all we need: A ...

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Proposed IRS Rule Change Threatens Land Conservation

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is proposing a new rule that would have a significant negative impact on land conservation, especially in Virginia. The proposal would change past IRS guidance and treat all state tax credits issued for a donation as quid pro quo (essentially a "payment"). As a result, the donor's federal income tax deduction would need to be reduced by the value of the credit. This is not just about land conservation. The proposed rule will impact approximately 100 different state tax credit programs nationally. But in the Chesapeake watershed it ...

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2018 Photo Contests Illustrate Conservation Values

Every year Chesapeake organizations and public agencies sponsor photo contests challenging the public to capture the most compelling images of public lands, wildlife and special places. The results are pretty spectacular. Here's a sampling of a few of this year's contests and where you can see the winning images: Maryland Department of Natural Resources just announced their 2018 winners this week and their are some stunners. Virginia State Parks "Get Outdoors" 2018 winners came out in July. Take a look. Scenic Virginia also sponsors a "Virginia Vistas" ...

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