(Farm) Land for Water: Stories of success from Chesapeake land trusts
What is the most important asset in improving and protecting water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed? Many people would answer: land. More specifically, people who can work effectively with landowners to achieve better land management, access to more land, less land conversion, and more acres protected for all sectors, especially and including agriculture.
Join us for a webinar series featuring projects you may not yet know – but should! Land trusts, working with farmers, are doing some of most strategic, practical, and effective projects to improve and restore water quality on farmed lands in the Bay watershed. Join us to learn what they’re doing, where they’re doing it, what these projects have in common, why they’re successful, and how we as a coalition can do more and support more of it.
Each of these webinars will feature two case studies and leave lots of time for questions and discussion.
Thursday, April 5, 1:00-2:00 pm: Register Here
Honey Brook and Beyond (Brandywine Conservancy)
Working with farmers to both protect land and improve management practices, Brandywine has found this dual approach is mutually supportive: preservation leads to restoration and vice versa. Years of work in Honey Brook Township--a predominately Amish and Mennonite community of working farms in the headwaters of the Brandywine Creek—have yielded exceptional results in this neighboring watershed in the Delaware. This has yielded a replicable model about to be imported into the Chesapeake, coupling farmland protection and best management practices to deliver drinking water protection and Clean Water Act compliance.
Trifecta!: Saving Land, Water, and…Ice Cream (ClearWater Conservancy)
How do you protect local drinking water and a beloved community ag institution while (gulp) raising more money than you ever thought you could? Clear Water Conservancy’s Slab Cabin Run Initiative combines community conservation, municipal engagement, creative deal-making and a bold leap of faith to plant a flag for local water quality on farm land in a critical watershed—all while saving ice cream.
Thursday, May 3, 1:00 -2:00 pm:
Conservation TKO: How to Punch Above Your Weight (Cecil Land Trust)
Think you need a big staff and budget to pull off big projects? Think again.
With the right partners, land trusts with smart, creative leadership, deep and trusting local roots, and a lot of passion can really punch above their weight in the water quality world. More than 20 years ago, Cecil Land Trust punched above its weight in successfully protecting Garrett Island, the sentinel of the Susquehanna Valley. More recently, leveraging the right relationships in the right places, Cecil Land Trust found the right partners and funding to help restore streams draining thousands of acres of farm and forest land in Little Elk and North East Creeks in Cecil County.…all while still hiring its first ED.
What’s Good for the Goose is Good for the…Water (Piedmont Environmental Council)
Ever wonder how we’re going to truly restore clean water? One land trust has an answer: Relentless. Incrementalism. That is, the simple principle of stick-to-it-ive-ness. (Ok, admit it: it’s sexier than it seems at first). Learn how a sustained effort in Virginia’s Goose Creek watershed, evolved strategically and responsively over years, has become increasingly savvy about protecting and restoring water—and how it has achieved a staggering amount of success, with more on the horizon.
Registration is free, but required. (Registration details here). For questions or more information, contact Jennifer Miller Herzog, firstname.lastname@example.org.
This webinar series is hosted by Choose Clean Water Coalition and the Chesapeake Bay Land and Water Initiative, a partnership of the Chesapeake Bay Funders Network and the Land Trust Alliance.
About the presenters
Thursday, April 5:
Grant DeCosta – Senior Planner for Land Conservation, Brandywine Conservancy
Mr. DeCosta consults with landowners and farmland operators to develop and implement NRCS-level Conservation Plans and BMPs to ensure regulatory compliance and landowner conservation objectives. He also assists the Conservancy’s Land Conservation, Land Stewardship, and Municipal Assistance Programs with land preservation, municipal stormwater management, and property resource assessments. He holds a B.S. in Forestry and Wildlife Science from Virginia Tech and is certified to write USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service approved Conservation Plans.
Deb Nardone – Executive Director, ClearWater Conservancy
Deborah Nardone is the Executive Director at ClearWater Conservancy based in State College, Pennsylvania. She has primary strategic and operational responsibility to carry out ClearWater’s mission and lead the staff, volunteers, and friends of the organization in support of that mission. She is also the lead fundraiser and represents the organization to the community at large. Deb has 20+ years of broad experience in the field of natural conservation with local, state and national organizations including the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Allegheny Ridge Heritage Area, Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited, and the Sierra Club.
Thursday, May 3:
Bill Kilby – Board President, Cecil Land Trust
A life-long dairy farmer, Bill Kilby has been involved for more than 20 years in land and water conservation with Cecil Land Trust and the Cecil Conservation Partnership. In recent years, Kilby Farms has formed a partnership with a neighboring private school to promote land and water conservation and farm-to-table food use, and STEM/outdoor/environmental educational activities. In 2017, Bill’s leadership and innovation, and commitment to community partnerships and education garnered him the fifteenth annual Aileen Hughes Award for conservation excellence—an award given by Maryland Environmental Trust to recognize exceptional contributions of leaders in the Maryland land trust community.
Mike Kane – Director of Conservation, Piedmont Environmental Council
Mike became Conservation Director of PEC in 2015 after 10 years of service as PEC’s Land Conservation Representative for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier counties. Mike has been intimately involved in conservation work in the Goose Creek watershed since 2005, having worked with Goose Creek landowners to facilitate numerous easements, as well as development and implementation of a land restoration plan in the watershed that includes stream exclusion fencing and rotational grazing at a working livestock farm. Mike has more than 15 years of experience working with landowners, local jurisdictions, State and Federal agencies, and other allied organizations to foster the conservation of rural lands and promote vibrant rural economies in the Mid-Atlantic region. Mike's professional experience includes working as the Program Manager of the Loudoun County Purchase of Development Rights Program (2001-2004), and the Coordinator of the Bucks County (PA) Open Space Program (1997-2000).