WRA Hosts Colorado Ecosystem Services Partnership Event on Strategic Land Conservation in the West

WRA hosted a Colorado Ecosystem Services Partnership (CESP) event on February 23, 2017 at the Colorado State Land Board. More than 20 attendees braved a winter storm and came from as far as San Diego, California to attend three presentations focused on “Strategic Land Conservation in the West.”

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Program and Presenters

Erik Glenn, Executive Director of Colorado Cattleman’s Agricultural Land Trust presented a new perspective on the value of conservation easements in the West. Erik argued in favor of valuation based on the resources that are being conserved, instead of the conventional approach of valuing easements based on forgone development rights. This perspective is founded in the notion that natural resources are assets in and of themselves because of the various environmental services (i.e., carbon sequestration, natural purification of water, etc.) and environmental goods (i.e., livestock, timber, etc.) they produce. Shifting how we value conservation easements will be critical in weighing land use alternatives, engaging ranching families in conservation, and achieving the scale of conservation that is needed in the West.

Kelly Bennett, Managing Partner of Ponderosa Advisors, a boutique firm focused on applying technology and analytics to natural resource issues, and Board member of the Western Landowners Alliance (WLA), presented on WLA’s vision and strategy for engaging private landowners in effective stewardship to support prosperous business and healthy ecosystems. Kelly reflected on the value that WLA brings to ranching families, like his own, in Colorado and across other western states, from Sonora, Mexico to Alberta, Canada. For an example of WLA-supported stewardship on private lands, see the Stewardship Vision series on YouTube.

Drew Bennett, PhD and team lead of Colorado State University’s Initiative for Conservation on Private Lands, introduced the initiative’s work in developing education, science, and outreach programs to support conservation efforts on private lands, including those that incorporate innovative ecosystem services concepts. Drew highlighted the conservation value of private lands across the country and explained the importance of engaging the private landowner community in conservation, in Colorado specifically.

About CESP

The Colorado Ecosystem Services Partnership (CESP) exists to bring together professionals from across different sectors to share ideas and identify opportunities to partner on innovative ecosystem services efforts in Colorado. CESP events are held on a quarterly basis and rotate between Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins. The next CESP event will be held in April 2017 in Boulder. Contact Jane Rice to be added to the CESP listserv, or refer to the CESP LinkedIn group page for additional information.