2013 CLN Digest

Throughout 2012, the Conservation Leadership Network worked with a broad array of partners, bringing together professionals at national, state, regional, and local levels to achieve common ground, and most importantly, on-the-ground results that benefit our treasured natural resources, economic health, and overall quality of life. We are moving forward into 2013 with some great new projects on the horizon. Select highlights are included in this newsletter, along with important information on several of our key events planned for our courses, new projects, new partnerships, producing ever stronger results.

Livability A New Focus Area For 2013
The Conservation Leadership Network will be strengthening livability capacity in five communities starting in 2013.  Through a partnership with the Federal Lands Livability Workgroup comprised of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the National Park Service (NPS) and other land management agencies, we will assess trends in livability associated with federal lands and their surrounding gateway communities, including identifying transferable lessons learned, and providing specific recommendations and actions plans for moving forward.  The initiative expects to include a broad mix of public lands, refuges, forests, and parks, from a geographic and demographic cross-section of the country.
New Frontiers In Species Mitigation
Through a unique partnership with regulators (U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers), users (the U.S. Army, Marines, USDA Office of Ecosystem Management, and the Federal Highway Administration), and bankers (through the National Mitigation Bankers Association), the Conservation Leadership Network is actively helping to facilitate conservation banking on the ground.  
A pilot place-based offering of the partnership’s highly acclaimed course was held in April 2012 for the state of Texas which drew record attendance and an even longer waiting list!  Next stops for the place-based course in 2013 will be the Pacific Northwest in February and the Southeast in the fall.  
Additionally, The Conservation Fund is working on the cutting edge of species and habitat mitigation through its involvement in the Mid-West Wind Energy Development Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan (MSHCP). The Regional Wind Energy MSHCP is being developed in partnership with the US Fish and Wildlife Service Region 3, the 8 partner states in Region 3, a consortium of progressive wind energy companies, and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), to both streamline the permitting process to facilitate renewable energy while simultaneously developing best management practices for species protection and mitigation that can be applied holistically across the region.
Expansion Of Curriculum To Meet Changing Needs
Curriculum for two of our main courses is expanding to meet the changing needs of our audiences!  Starting in in 2013, our Balancing Nature and Commerce course will be structured to meet the needs of ALL rural communities and landscapes (not only “Gateway Communities”) and will cover new topics including Alternative Energy and Food Security. 
 In 2012, we met the increasing demand for an advanced-level Green Infrastructure course in piloting our GI 201 course: “Implementing Green Infrastructure at Multiple Scales” – which provided the much-needed tools and techniques for green infrastructure practitioners to overcome challenges to implementation. 
Exploring The Carbon Footprint Of Moving Freight
In 2012, The Conservation Fund’s Conservation Leadership Network partnered with the international transportation company, CSX, to sponsor the creation of Moving Freight: Economy and Atmosphere, a curriculum unit to educate school-age students that the train tracks they drive over and the trucks they pass on the highway everyday are connected to a world-wide web of industry, culture, commerce and environmental consideration.