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OSI Staff Hits the 'Virtual' Road to Promote Land Protection for Climate and Clean Water

Land protection is among the most effective, versatile, and cost-saving tools available to address climate change and maintain clean water. OSI translates scientific research into practical guidance to help land trusts and communities conserve lands that store and absorb atmospheric carbon, buffer the impacts of storms on flood-prone communities, and safeguard water quality.

In a slate of virtual presentations this spring, OSI staff are sharing their knowledge with the goal of empowering decision-makers with strategies that can guide land protection for water and climate benefits.

2021 Southeast Land Conservation Conference

Addressing climate change is a core theme of the 2021 Southeast Land Conservation Conference put on by the Land Trust Alliance. OSI staff are leading two sessions that aim to help land trusts embed climate priorities in land protection and support community resilience to climate change.

  • April 30, 9:00 am – 12:30 pm: “Land Protection to Curb Impacts from Freshwater Flooding”

Hallie Schwab, OSI Conservation Planning Coordinator; Maria Whitehead, OSI Senior Project Director for the Southeast; and Mary Alice Holley, Conservation Trust for North Carolina, will frame the important role that land trusts can play in addressing flood impacts through their conservation planning, acquisitions, and partnerships. It will also spotlight several efforts to foster local partnerships that support community priorities around flood resilience, including OSI’s land protection and planning work with partners along the Waccamaw River in Conway, South Carolina, a collaborative engaging community in plans to address flooding and expand recreational access along South Carolina’s Black River, and the Conservation Trust for North Carolina’s work to support flood resilience in Princeville, North Carolina.

  • May 11, 9:30 am – 10:30 am: “Conservation and Carbon Mitigation: Approaches to Maximize the Carbon Impact of Conservation Projects”

Joel Houser, OSI Southeast Field Coordinator will lead an interactive session offering practical guidance to help conservationists evaluate projects and land holdings for carbon storage potential, develop a framework for integrating carbon considerations into conservation easement language, and deepen their understanding of managing conserved lands to maximize carbon storage and sequestration. The workshop draws on research and consultation with field experts that helped shape OSI’s Appalachian Landscapes Protection Fund.

OSI's Abby Weinberg presents on forest protection and management as a climate change mitigation strategy.
OSI's Abby Weinberg presents on forest protection and management as a climate change mitigation strategy.

Other Workshops (Chronological Order)

  • March 31, 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm: “Science, Research, and Tools to Inform the Next Chapter of Appalachian Trail Landscape Protection and Stewardship” (Appalachian Conservation Perspectives Science and Stewardship Symposium)

OSI’s Director of Research Abigail Weinberg will present findings from an OSI analysis of climate resilience across the Appalachian Trail landscape that identified lands that serve as critical migratory corridors and facilitate species adaptation as the climate changes. Register for the webinar here.

  • April 15, 11:05 am – 12:45 pm: “Land Protection for Source Water Protection” (EPA Region 3 Source Water Leadership Forum)

Abigail Weinberg will share insights on role of land protection as a water protection strategy, drawing on research led by OSI to assess the impact of investments in forest and farmland protection through the Delaware River Watershed Initiative.

  • April 21, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm: “Practical Science: Climate Change & Forest Health, Mitigation, and Adaptation” (Upper Delaware River Watershed Earth to Sky Conference on Climate Change)

Abigail Weinberg will present a set of strategies to protect the carbon stored in forests as a critical tool for climate mitigation. By invitation only.

  • April 27, 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm: “Planning for Carbon, Part 2” (Land Trust Alliance Webinar Series)

Jennifer Melville, OSI’s Vice President Conservation Grants, and New England/Southern Canada Field Coordinator, and Abigail Weinberg will lay out principals for maximizing the carbon impact of land protection, including use of conservation planning, easement terms and management, and offer a deep dive into forest carbon data that can be used to prioritize land protection. The presentation expands on guidance laid out in a recently released report developed by OSI in partnership with Land Trust Alliance, The Nature Conservancy and American Forests. Register here.

  • May 5, 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm: “Riparian Conservation for Flood Resilience: Strategies You Can Use” (2021 New York Land Conservation Conference)

Hallie Schwab and Lee Alexander, Program Manager for the Streamside Acquisition Program at The Catskill Center, will showcase replicable conservation approaches that land trusts can use to build local and regional flood resilience, reduce flood impacts to communities, and protect clean water while providing a suite of additional benefits for people and nature. Register here.

  • June 22 TBD: “Maximizing Carbon Mitigation through Land Protection Programs” (U.S. Climate Alliance Learning Lab - Avoided Conversion Webinar)

Abigail Weinberg will share a set of resources and guidance developed to help organizations and agencies retain stored carbon and increase sequestration on the lands they protect or steward at this virtual Learning Lab offering for states that are part of the U.S. Climate Alliance. By invitation only.

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