This series of 12 case studies was developed for the Conservation Banking Training, offered annually by The Conservation Fund. These case studies profile approved and operational conservation banks from around the country. Appendices for each case study are available upon request; please contact mcarey@conservationfund.org.

Documents are PDF downloads. 

The Conservation Leadership Network (CLN) will be strengthening livability capacity in at least four communities (see list below) starting in fall 2013 as part of the Federal Lands Livability Initiative. 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, CLN will assess trends in livability associated with federal public lands and their surrounding gateway communities. This initiative includes a mix of public lands, refuges, forests and parks from a geographic and demographic cross section of the country.

What Is A Gateway Community?

CO-Grand-Lake-downtown-rikdom-Flickr-300x200Grand Lake, Colorado, is one of the gateway communities participating in the initiative. Photo by rikdom/Flickr. America’s gateway communities are places adjacent to our public lands  that attract visitors and residents looking for unique recreational and cultural experiences. These communities face unique challenges—such as how to protect the assets that make them special and appealing—and often must work together with their public land partners to overcome these challenges. CLN has worked with gateway communities for more than a decade through its Balancing Nature and Commerce Program. This program has shown time and again that when local government officials, public land managers and community residents have the opportunity to talk about issues related to local land use, economic development and nature-based tourism, they can find a common way forward that fosters community development while also promoting public land and the outdoors.

What Is “Livability”?

SC-Calhoun-Falls-Richard-B-Russell-Lake-fishing-ACE-300x200The annual Kid’s Fishing Derby at Richard B. Russell Lake in Calhoun, South Carolina. Photo by Army Corps of Engineers/Flickr. The term “livability” refers to the quality and location of transportation facilities in relation to broader opportunities such as access to good jobs, affordable housing, quality schools and safe streets. 

The Six Principles of Livability defined by the U.S. departments of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and the Environmental Protection Agency Partnership for Sustainable Communities include: 

  1. Provide more transportation choices. 
  2. Promote equitable, affordable housing. 
  3. Enhance economic competitiveness. 
  4. Support existing communities. 
  5. Coordinate policies and leverage investment. 
  6. Value communities and neighborhoods.

Learn more about Livability >> 

The Initiative: Livability Assessments & Workshops

OR-Sweet-Home-Weddle-Bridge-Sandy-Horvath-Dori-Flickr-300x200Weddle Bridge in Sweet Home, Oregon. Photo by Sandy Horvath-Dori/Flickr This fall, members of the CLN team, together with local representatives and a local design team, will visit and conduct a livability assessment in each of the communities selected for the initiative.

Based on this on-the-ground assessment, the team will provide a livability status report to each community. By assessing these diverse gateway communities, the team hopes to draw general conclusions and lessons about how best to create and improve livability standards in these and other gateway communities.  

Once the livability assessment report is provided to the communities, CLN will set up workshops, unique to each community, that will allow residents and local officials to meet with representatives from their neighboring public lands.  “It’s our goal to help communities foster valuable partnerships,” says Kris Hoellen, vice president of sustainable programs for the Fund and CLN director. These workshops aim to help build an action plan based on the evaluation of the community’s key livability factors, which may include the strength of community character, as well as the accessibility to transportation, affordable housing, employment and business opportunities. 

Selected Communities

An interagency selection committee comprised of representatives from the
USFWS, NPS, FHWS, USFS and BLM selected public lands and their gateway
communities to participate in this initiative. These include: Map-Federal-Lands-Livability-Fin-645x430
 


Colorado

Community: Grand Lake
Managing Agency: National Park Service
Federal Land: Rocky Mountain National Park
Other Public Lands:  Arapaho National Recreation Area (USFS)/ Arapaho Roosevelt National Forest (USFS)/ BLM lands/ Bureau of Reclamation
Read the full Grand Lake Gateway Community Livability Assessment Report (PDF) 

Michigan

Community: Spaulding and James townships, Saginaw City
Managing Agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Federal Land: Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge
Other Public Lands:  Green Point Environmental Learning Center (USFWS)/ Shiawassee River State Game Area (MIDNR)/ Saginaw Township public boat launch/ Saginaw Valley Rail Trail (Saginaw County)
Read the full Saginaw and Surrounding Townships Gateway Community Livability Assessment Report (PDF)

Oregon

Community: Sweet Home
Managing Agency: U.S. Forest Service
Federal Land: Willamette National Forest
Other Public Lands:  Foster Reservoir (USACE)/ Green Peter Reservoir (USACE)/ BLM lands/ Cascadia State Park/ Sunnyside County Park/ Riverbend Campground/ Sweet Home City Parks (7)
Read the full Sweet Home Gateway Community Livability Assessment Report (PDF)

South Carolina

Community: Calhoun Falls
Managing Agency: Army Corps of Engineers
Federal Land: Richard B. Russell Dam and Lake Project
Other Public Lands:  Parsons Mountain Recreation Area (USFS)/ Hartwell Project (USACE)/ J. Strom Thurmond Project (USACE)/ SCDNR, SCDPRT Lands
Read the full Calhoun Falls Gateway Community Livability Assessment Report (PDF)


Conservation (Species) Mitigation Banking

As a component of the annually-offered Conservation Banking Training course, we developed a series of twelve case studies.

Resources for the 8-part webinar series being offered from October 2020 – January 2021 can be found here. This series is designed to provide an introduction to foundational topics related to conservation banking for endangered species and habitat recovery, as well as joint authority programs that mitigate for impacts to wetlands and streams.


Third Party Wetland and Stream Mitigation Banking

Complementary to the annually-offered 3rd Party Mitigation Interagency Review Team (IRT) Training course, presentations and resources associated with the course are available.

Sustainable Tourism & Livability AssessmentsThe Conservation Fund’s Conservation Leadership Network works with communities across the country to provide assessments of an area’s natural, cultural and historic assets and evaluate opportunities to sustainably develop these assets predicated on livability principles.

Sustainable Tourism Assessments

As part of the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) program, The Appalachian Gateway Initiative: Natural and Cultural Heritage Tourism Development, The Conservation Fund and The National Trust for Historic Preservation were retained to assist communities in enhancing natural, recreational, arts and historic assets in order to create sustainable tourism programs.  Since 2007, this program has conducted six assessments and developed recommendations reports for each.  See a few of these reports below:


Other Sustainable Tourism Intiatives:

The Conservation Fund worked specifically with the community of Unicoi, Tennessee to help them achieve a vibrant community by enhancing their natural, recreational, cultural and historic assets.  As a result, The Conservation Fund developed a Sustainable Tourism Initiative for the county that provides a recommendation report for implementation of a sustainable tourism plan.

Read the Sustainable Tourism Initiative here >> (PDF)

Livability Assessments

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/action 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.

Read more about Livability and this initiative here >>

Read the full Grand Lake Gateway Community Livability Assessment Report (PDF) here >>

Teaching Kids About Carbon, Farming & The Environment


Download Available!

Download Moving Freight: Economy and Atmosphere school curriculum. (PDF)
Suitable for Grades 3-12.

CSX Final-Curriculum-illustration-390x260Graphic by JS Design StudioIn 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 are connected to a world-wide web of industry, culture, commerce and environmental impact.

The curriculum is designed to provide four activities that build with increasing complexity—or provide the option to be used as stand-alone modules—to help meet curricular goals in mathematics, economics and science.  Students from grades 3-12 will compare and contrast the efficiency of freight transportation in ships, trains, trucks, and airplanes using real-world examples and explore tools and resources on the internet.  Students will also discover the carbon cycle and the impacts of burning fossil fuels on the environment coupled with a comparison of calculated carbon footprints of freight transportation modes.

Additionally, CSX partners with many youth organizations including Future Farmers of America (FFA), a national organization preparing future generations to meet the challenges of the science, business, and art of agriculture.  For agriculture education with the FFA and school programs across the nation, we also developed an activity that investigates the carbon footprint of transporting the raw agricultural materials from farms to processing factories and finally to each student.  This activity demonstrates how raw goods comprise many of our everyday products and that the transportation of each of these materials emits carbon dioxide which adds to the impact of greenhouse gases. That impact reinforces the importance of efficient fuel consumption.

The Conservation Fund recognizes the shared values that CSX is striving to support through their National Gateway program: their desire to educate states and communities to efficiently and economically create safer, less congested roadways, bolster environmental health, and promote economic growth.  The Fund works on the ground across the country to help partners like CSX fulfill their conservation priorities through creative initiatives such as this in order to protect and enhance landscapes where Americans work, play, and rediscover history. 
Below are course offerings organized by Training Tracks. To see list of courses currently scheduled, go to Upcoming Courses.

Green Infrastructure:

*regional offering available upon request!

  • GI 101: Strategic Conservation Planning Using a Green Infrastructure Approach
  • GI 201: Implementing Green Infrastructure at Multiple Scales
  • Green Infrastructure and Municipal Water Management
  • Planning for Climate Change Using Green Infrastructure
  • GIS Tools for Strategic Conservation Planning

Rural Economic Development:

*regional offering available upon request!

  • Balancing Nature and Commerce in Rural Communities and Landscapes
  • Compatible Land Use Planning for Military Installations
  • Broadcast: How to Start a Sustainable Tourism Program
  • Broadcast: Keys to Success in Gateway Communities

Compensatory Mitigation Banking:

*regional offering available upon request!

  • Training Course for Wetland & Stream Mitigation Banking & In-Lieu Program Inter-agency Review Teams (IRTs)
  • Conservation (Species) Banking Training Course


By signing up for our e-newsletter, you agree to receive periodic communication about the latest news and work done by the Conservation Leadership Network. You can easily unsubscribe at any time, and we commit to only contacting you with pertinent, timely information. (See our Privacy Policy for details.)

We deliver action and impact. Our services focus on collaborative problem-solving—bringing people together to facilitate on-the-ground results. 

Conservation Leadership Network (CLN) staff are skilled presenters, facilitators, and content experts, backed by the expertise of The Conservation Fund and a community of CLN Partners. Our services include: 

Collaborative Problem-Solving

CLN forges on-the-ground partnerships with community, government, and corporate leaders around the country to reach conservation solutions.  We create neutral forums for discussion to reach shared objectives and goals. 

Read more about our projects >

Multi-Disciplinary Course Offerings 

Collaborative learning is our niche, and we’ve achieved great results.  We offer courses at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, and can schedule courses on site in local communities. By providing an open, safe and neutral environment for learning and dialogue, CLN inspires participants to test new ideas, exchange information, and form lasting partnerships.  

Upcoming courses and events >

Innovative Demonstration Projects 

The Conservation Fund works at the nexus of the environment and the economy. CLN is adept at convening disparate interests to create cutting-edge projects that serve as models for others around the country. 

Federal Lands Livability Initiative >

Implementing NiSource: Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan >

Community Capacity Building

Our community capacity workshops on green infrastructure planning and sustainable tourism program development are changing communities. CLN staff have worked with hundreds of communities across the country and bring national perspective to the table.

Balancing Nature And Commerce Program >

Success Story:  Unicoi County, Tennessee >

Regional Place-Based Offerings

We provide tailored, place-based offerings of all our courses and workshops, incorporating local trends and needs so that communities can work together to overcome barriers to reach their own conservation outcomes.

Texas conservation banking community >

Livability and Tourism Assessments 

We work with communities across the country to provide assessments of an area’s natural, cultural and historic assets and evaluate opportunities to sustainably develop these assets predicated on livability principles.

Learn more about our assessments >

Sustainability Consulting

We understand that the environment and economy must work in harmony in order to create a sustainable future, and so do our corporate partners. CLN continues to collaborate with private sector partners to develop strategies tailored to reach sustainability and corporate social responsibility goals with a “triple bottom line” approach.

Read about our work with CSX Corporation >
By the Numbers:
Over $3.2 million in grants and community services distributed since 1998.

Over 48 partner organizations engaged each year to forge leadership for on-the-ground conservation solutions.

Over 140 communities served each year.

Over 500 U.S. regulators from all U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Districts, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Environmental Protection Agency regional offices have been trained to develop successful conservation and mitigation banking programs. 
We believe communities and corporations can achieve environmental and economic successes when they work together to develop shared knowledge, networks and technical skills. Our Conservation Leadership Network (CLN) is a team of experts that brings diverse constituencies together to achieve common ground.

We deliver action and impact. Our services focus on collaborative problem-solving—bringing people together to facilitate results such as:

  • Revitalized downtowns
  • Comprehensive transportation solutions
  • Small business development
  • Resolution of infrastructure challenges
  • Creating more livable communities
  • Supporting innovative markets for ensuring water quality

We deliver these results through multi-disciplinary course offerings, innovative demonstration projects, regional programs, and sustainability consulting that supports on-the-ground solutions. 

The hallmark of our work is to delve into our partners’ needs, understand issues, and craft solutions that achieve outcomes that protect natural resources, while creating vibrant, sustainable economies. In sum we help ensure conservation that works for America.

We serve as a catalyst to action and impact. We work with community, government and corporate leaders to plan for the future, deepen regional connections, develop innovative conservation and economic strategies, and balance nature and commerce in ways that have a lasting impact.
 

Connect Regions

We connect regions by bringing together people who share common goals, despite professional or geographic distinctions. We’ve fostered partnerships and community economic development across the Canadian-Minnesota border branding the “Heart of the Continent”, along the Blue Ridge Parkway, and throughout the Appalachian Mountain area, for instance. In each case, community leaders developed new action plans to spur local economies and save favorite places.

 

Balance Energy and Environment

As America invests in energy infrastructure, we’re factoring in the environment. For example, energy provider NiSource Gas Transmission operates more than 15,500 miles of pipeline across 14 states. We worked with NiSource, the US Fish & Wildlife Service and state stakeholders to plan conservation across this entire region. Similarly, in the Midwest, we are convening wind energy companies, the US Fish & Wildlife Service, and state agencies to develop conservation plans for promoting renewable energy while protecting sensitive species.

Build Capacity and Develop Leaders

Collaborative learning is our niche and we are achieving results. Our community capacity workshops on green infrastructure planning are leading to the establishment of green infrastructure plans and our tourism assessments are changing communities. By providing an open, welcoming, and neutral environment for learning and dialogue, we inspire participants to test new ideas, exchange information, and form lasting partnerships.

Plan for the Future

West Virginia’s New River Gorge region is known as a recreation destination with wild scenery and small-town ambiance. That’s why, when New River Gorge was chosen as home to the annual Boy Scout Jamboree–and its 350,000 visitors–community leaders turned to us to plan its growing economy while keeping its character intact. We brought technical assistance to an audience made up of business leaders, elected officials, and public land managers to discover effective ways to balance nature and commerce.

Download the CLN brochure here.


Green Infrastructure Resources

Are you a green infrastructure practitioner looking to augment your expertise? Check out our Green Infrastructure Resources page, including links to projects and events, as well as archives of past programs.


Rural Economic Resources

Are you a rural community member looking for tools to support economic development? Check out our Balancing Nature & Commerce Program page, featuring a community of practice, tools, resources and innovative strategies being implemented across the nation. Or download the Balancing Nature and Commerce brochure here


Mitigation Resources

Are you a regulator, user, or banker in the field of compensatory mitigation? Check out our Mitigation Resources page for case studies, articles and links.


Water Quality Markets: Resources

From September 15-17, 2015, the USDA and EPA cosponsored the National Workshop on Water Quality Markets. This event was hosted by the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute at the University of Nebraska and coordinated by The Conservation Fund. The Workshop highlighted recent progress in water quality trading across the country with an emphasis on policy, resources, and tool development. The Workshop also provided EPA and USDA with an opportunity to lay out their vision for the role of water quality markets in advancing conservation and water quality goals and to provide participants with the tools to engage in water quality markets. See our compendium of resources associated with this program.