Discussion Paper: Establishing an Edmonton Regional Land Trust

Tags: Establishing, Regional Land Trust, Land Trust, conservation, Habitat Acquisition Trust, Canada, communication, Boston Natural Areas Network, Legal structure, governance model, Edmonton, personal communication, City of Edmonton, the organization, steering committee, The Land Conservancy, advisory committee, Land Trust Alliance, community, Board of Directors, Portland Trails, the Trust, conservation organizations, municipal governments, Edmonton Regional Land Trust Page, Municipal District of Foothills, urban conservation, the City of Calgary Parks, membership based organization, Boston Redevelopment Authority, Land Conservancy, Urban Wilds, Conservation covenants, conservation easement, National Trust, Meewasin Valley Authority, Sheep River Land Trust, local community groups, local environmental groups, Ducks Unlimited, Wildlife Habitat Canada, Nature Conservancy, Abbotsford Community Land Trust, conservation groups, America, Land Trust Alliance of America, urban conservation strategy, development community, Stewardship, Alberta Environmental Network, Parks Foundation, Edmonton Regional Land Trust, interim steering committee, Edmonton area, Alberta Conservation Association, Environment Canada, Strategic Planning, urban land trust, conservation efforts, Conservation Easements, Edmonton region, Urban Land Trusts, TLC, conservation land trust, Calgary Parks Foundation, Acquisition Trust, statement of purpose, advisory committees, municipal government, land trusts, HAT, BNAN
Content: Discussion Paper: Establishing an Edmonton Regional Land Trust M.J. Salomons August 2004 Commissioned by the Land Stewardship Centre of Canada, the Legacy Lands Conservation Society and the Natural Areas Advisory Committee Funding for this report has been generously provided by the Alberta Sport, Recreation, Parks and Wildlife Foundation Submitted to the Office of the Community Conservation Coordinator, City of Edmonton
Executive Summary This background report and discussion paper describes and evaluates models and experiences of successful urban land trusts from across North America, applies lessons learned to the Edmonton context, and suggests an implementation schedule and recommendations for the establishment of an Edmonton region urban conservation land trust. In general, conservation land trusts are private, charitable organizations with the primary role of protecting land under their stewardship from undesirable change. Conservation land trusts are the fastest growing segment of the conservation movement in North America today, and are an excellent vehicle for strengthening local community involvement in conservation issues. While there are hundreds of examples of successful conservation land trusts from across North America, there are very few examples of urban conservation land trusts, in part because of the challenges associated with conservation in an urban context. These challenges include the debate between conservation and development in urban areas, the high costs of land acquisition, and the difficulty and expense associated with site maintenance and long-term stewardship. However, there are examples of successful urban land trusts and the lessons we can learn from their experience include: the need to develop and strengthen partnerships (including community groups, conservation groups, the development community and government); the need to work at a regional level; the need to strongly engage the public, and the need to focus on financial sustainability of the organization. A four phase implementation schedule for the establishment of an Edmonton region land trust is outlined: these four phases are 1) organizing and launching the organization; 2) strategic planning; 3) implementation; and 4) evaluation. This schedule is cyclical in nature, with specific lessons learned in the evaluation phase feeding back into improving the structure of the organization, the planning, etc. Final recommendations for the land trust, gleaned from interviews and literature, are 1) developing an effective urban land trust, and strategic planning for this trust, requires a regional land focus that incorporates other willing municipal and regional partners; 2) an urban land trust should be arms-length from government, while at the same time forming strong partnerships with government (and particularly municipal governments); 3) an urban land trust should have a broad mandate, potentially including the preservation of built heritage and the establishment of recreation trails; 4) an urban land trust should use all available tools to achieve its mandate, keeping acquisition
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as a last resort; and 5) an urban land trust should emphasize the development of strong partnerships, on developing and maintaining financial stability, and on communication and education.
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Table of Contents Executive Summary............................................................................................................................................ 2 Table of Contents ................................................................................................................................................ 4 Introduction......................................................................................................................................................... 5 Background...................................................................................................................................................... 5 Definition & Advantages of a Land Trust ................................................................................................... 6 Land Trusts in the Urban Environment .......................................................................................................... 7 Canadian Urban Land Trusts........................................................................................................................ 7 Abbotsford Land Trust Society................................................................................................................. 7 Calgary Regional Land Trust .................................................................................................................... 8 Habitat Acquisition Trust .......................................................................................................................... 9 The Land Conservancy of British Columbia (TLC).............................................................................. 10 American Urban Land Trusts ..................................................................................................................... 11 Boston Natural Areas Network .............................................................................................................. 11 Portland Trails........................................................................................................................................... 12 Challenges Associated with Urban Land Trusts ...................................................................................... 13 Recommendations for Urban Land Trusts................................................................................................ 15 Recommendation 1: Develop and Strengthen Partnerships ............................................................... 15 Recommendation 2: Engage the Public ................................................................................................ 20 Recommendation 3: Focus on Financial Sustainability ...................................................................... 20 Setting up an Edmonton Urban Land Trust ................................................................................................. 21 Steps in Forming a Land Trust.................................................................................................................... 21 Phase One: Organize and Launch the Organization............................................................................ 22 Phase Two: Strategic Planning................................................................................................................ 24 Phase Three: Implementation ................................................................................................................. 27 Phase Four: Evaluation ............................................................................................................................ 27 A Circular Process .................................................................................................................................... 28 Conclusions ....................................................................................................................................................... 28 Acknowledgements...................................................................................................................................... 29 Bibliography ...................................................................................................................................................... 31 Appendix 1: Suggested Land Trust Standards & Practices ........................................................................ 34
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Introduction Background "...urban parkland is not only a vital community asset, but it also serves to define a healthy, vibrant city -- one that attracts and retains investment, as well as a variety of social amenities.1" In 1986, an inventory of natural areas located in and adjacent to the City of Edmonton resulted in the identification of 1,049 natural sites2. In 1993 this inventory was updated and 311 of these sites were classified as significant and/or environmentally significant natural areas3. These sites were further prioritized in 19994; and in 2001, a consulting team short-listed 13 of the remaining 85 sites as high priority areas for conservation5. This report also recommended a strategy for the protection of these and other natural areas in Edmonton, a strategy that included a recommendation to establish an independent conservation land trust to hold and manage conserved sites6. This recommendation was supported by the City of Edmonton in September of 2001, with a stipulation that the community take the lead role in this initiative. The overall goal of this report is to describe and evaluate models and experiences of successful urban land trusts. More specifically, this report will compare examples of municipal or regional public land trusts, document and then assess the conservation focus of these land trusts, recommend best practices and lessons learned from these organizations, and apply lessons learned to the Edmonton environment. This report will be used to support the development of an urban conservation land trust to protect agricultural lands, heritage areas and buildings, and natural ecosystems within the city of Edmonton and surrounding region. Although the City of Edmonton has indicated that it may be willing to partially fund the establishment of this trust, it is envisioned that the land trust will eventually be at arms-length from government.
1 Evergreen Common Grounds, 2004: p. 1 2 Ealey, 1986 3 O'Leary et al 1993 4 Geowest Environmental Consultants Ltd. 1999 5 Westworth et al, 2001 6 Ibid, p. 51 Establishing an Edmonton Regional Land Trust
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Definition & Advantages of a Land Trust A conservation land trust is a private, charitable organization whose primary role is to protect land under its stewardship from undesirable change7. Also known as conservation foundations or conservancies, land trusts have a century-old history in North America, with the first trust appearing in the eastern United States in 1891. The land trust concept was born out of a desire in local citizens to protect their natural areas. These citizens would then buy and jointly steward the open spaces they deemed critical to the quality of life in their community8. Although Land Trusts are often involved in a wide variety of different activities, the three fundamental activities of all land trusts are 1) site selection (some mechanism must be in place for determining which sites are appropriate to conserve and which are not), 2) site securement (there a number of tools that can be used to protect a site, including applying a conservation easement on the site, partnership arrangements with other groups, purchase of development rights, and site acquisition), and 3) site stewardship (once the site is secured, the site must be monitored and maintained in perpetuity)9. As a conservation tool, a land trust has a number of advantages. Land trusts are flexible: they are able to negotiate with landowners discreetly, confidentially, and quickly; and, because they are smaller with fewer procedural requirements, they can generally act more quickly than government agencies. A land trust is not subject to changing political influences and policies. Financially, most land trusts operate as charitable, non-profit organizations, which provide income tax savings for those contributing cash and for those donating land or buildings. As locally based organizations, land trusts have a familiarity with and a loyalty to the local area. As such they are able to draw on local volunteers and other community resources; are able to gain the trust and confidence of local landowners; and are able to maintain control over land and Natural Resources at the community level. In summary, land trusts are an excellent vehicle for both involving local community and strengthening community involvement in conservation issues. As private conservation organizations, land trusts also have a number of disadvantages. Many land trusts struggle financially and are forced to put a considerable amount of time and energy into fund-raising for the continued operation of the organization. As well, trust lands are not exempt 7 Arendt, 1999 8 Greenaway, 2003: p 4 9 Nature Conservancy of Canada, 2000
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from potential expropriation by municipal governments, and the granting of conservation easements can sometimes trigger subdivision or development permit approval10. Land Trusts in the Urban Environment "Green space protection contributes to the sustainability and liveability of a community by improving health, sense of place and ecological functioning."11 Land Trusts are the fastest growing segment of the conservation movement in North America today. The Land Trust Alliance, an umbrella group representing land trusts across the U.S., currently has a membership of more than 1,300 land trusts12. While Land Trusts are a much more recent phenomenon in Canada, the 2003 edition of the Canadian Land Trust Directory13 lists over 100 land trusts from across Canada. However, in spite of the popularity and usefulness of land trusts, there are very few examples of urban conservation land trusts, both in the United States and in Canada. A closer look at those land trusts that do function primarily as urban conservation land trusts provides some explanation of why this is so. Canadian Urban Land Trusts Many land trusts in Canada that deal with urban lands are in that situation by default: for example, the Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust was originally a rural land trust, but with rapid urban growth in Southern Ontario they are now dealing with lands located in the urban-rural fringe14. There are, however, a small handful of Canadian Land Trusts that have the protection of urban environments as their primary mandate. These Land Trusts are described below. Abbotsford Land Trust Society Web-site: http://www.community-fdn.ca/abbotsford/land.htm Conservation focus: The Abbotsford Land Trust Society (ALTS), of Abbotsford, British Columbia, works to protect important natural areas, historical and cultural sites, and other lands of community importance for the benefit of Abbotsford residents. The Abbotsford Land Trust does this through the 10 Greystone Consulting, 2004 11 Evergreen Common Grounds, 2004, p. 4 12 http://www.lta.org/ 13 Available on-line at: http://www.uoguelph.ca/~claws/ 14 Stewart Chisholm, Common Grounds Manager, Evergreen Canada ­ Personal communication, July 22, 2004.
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maintenance and promotion of healthy ecosystems, the development of educational programs, community outreach, and by acquiring or holding conservation easements on lands. The ALTS is currently involved in a project in partnership with other groups to set priority targets for land donation and acquisition on a watershed basis. Legal structure and governance model: The Abbotsford Land Trust Society is a locally based, non- profit charitable organization formed in 1997 through a partnership between the City of Abbotsford and the Abbotsford Community Foundation. A Board of Directors, all of whom come from the Abbotsford Community Foundation, governs the Land Trust. Initially, before proper legislation for the Land Trust was in place, land donated to the Land Trust was held by the City and managed by the City's Parks Department. Funding: The Abbotsford Land Trust Society is currently supported by the Abbotsford Community Foundation and the Municipality of Abbotsford, although the Trust has a long-term goal of being a self-sustaining entity with its own endowment fund. The city currently provides office space and equipment, and technical and property ownership support. Money for staff is on a project specific basis from a variety of donors, including private foundations, credit union grants, private BC conservation organizations, and the federal government's Eco-action program. The Abbotsford Land Trust Society currently holds an easement on a 0.4ha piece of land. There is an endowment fund in place ($130,000), with the interest going to help pay for stewardship of this 0.4ha site (including insurance) and for the current ALTS staff position. Calgary Regional Land Trust Web-site: http://www.landtrustproject.com/ Conservation focus of the land trust: The draft vision of the as-of-yet unnamed Calgary Regional Land Trust is the conservation of open or natural areas principally within the boundaries of Calgary, the Municipal District of Rocky View, and the Municipal District of Foothills. The emphasis will be on natural, agricultural, heritage, scenic, and recreational values; and on integrated open spaces, including those associated with rivers, creeks, wetlands, and other environmentally significant areas. It is envisioned that this would be accomplished largely through coordination of existing efforts and stakeholders, promoting partnerships, creating mechanisms for communities and citizens to be more involved in protecting land, and through acquiring lands and holding conservation easements.
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Legal structure and governance model: The Land Trust is currently guided by a Steering Committee. The Steering Committee includes membership from the Calgary Parks Foundation, the Municipal District of Rocky View; the Municipal District of Foothills; the City of Calgary Parks; and Ducks Unlimited Canada. The initial recommendations of the steering committee are: 1) The Land Trust will be incorporated as an independent body under the Societies Act of Alberta with charitable status, and capable of holding easements under Alberta's Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act. 2) A voting membership will be open to those who reside in the geographical area covered by the Land Trust. Members will pay yearly dues, set at a `reasonable' level. 3) An elected board of directors will ultimately govern the land trust (with the possibility of a limited number of appointed positions). Members will elect directors on an annual basis. 4) To facilitate an "arms length" relationship to governments and their agencies, a non-voting Advisory Committee appointed by the Board of Directors should be set up. The Advisory Committee will include representatives of municipal governments, non-profit organizations, landowner representatives and other persons with relevant experience. 5) Administrative staff should be hired to manage Board business. Funding: Although the Land Trust is not yet in operation, initial funding ($20,000) to investigate the feasibility of a land trust came from money left over from a conference on green infrastructure held in Calgary. Habitat Acquisition Trust Web-site: http://www.hat.bc.ca/ Conservation focus: The Habitat Acquisition Trust (HAT) is a regional land trust established by the Victoria Natural History Society in December of 1996. HAT was established to enhance the protection and stewardship of regionally significant lands on southern Vancouver Island and the southern Gulf Islands, in the southwest corner of British Columbia. The three main activities of HAT are: 1) Acquisition of significant lands: When significant properties become available for purchase HAT carefully considers the ecological and community values. However, the high cost of land in this region gives partnerships an important role in acquisitions. 2) Conservation covenants (easements): HAT holds covenants on thirteen ecologically significant properties and is currently negotiating covenants with 6 additional landowners. 3) Community projects aimed at Environmental Education and stewardship. Educational programs, funded through private foundations, are an important part of HAT's mandate.
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Legal structure and governance model: HAT operates as a charitable organization with its own board of directors. Funding: As little provincial funding has been available for land trusts, the funding base for HAT is quite broad. Sources of funding include lottery funds; federal government funds (Eco-action, etc); foundations; local credit unions; the Victoria Foundation; and contributions from members. Although HAT does host some fund-raising events, these usually build more support for HAT than raise money, and tend to use up a lot of volunteer's time (which is often limited in the first place). The quarterly newsletter functions as a fund-raising vehicle as well15. The Land Conservancy of British Columbia (TLC) Web-site: http://www.conservancy.bc.ca/ Conservation focus of the land trust: TLC works throughout British Columbia, protecting important habitat for plants, animals and natural communities as well as properties with historical, cultural, scientific, scenic or compatible recreational value. The Land Conservancy operates five regions around the province, each headed by a Regional Manager. Each region develops its own priorities based on local circumstances and opportunities. The Lower Mainland region, for example, is further divided into five regional districts, with one district focused specifically on the Greater Vancouver Area. Legal structure and governance model: TLC is a non-profit, charitable trust modeled after the National Trust of Britain. It is a democratic, membership-based organization and governed by a volunteer elected Board of Directors. TLC relies on a strong membership (currently 2,000 members) and volunteer base to help maintain its operations. Funding: As a membership based organization, membership fees cover core operations (which include 35 staff members throughout the province). Grants from private foundations cover small programs, while most acquisition and protection work comes from solicited donations16.
15 Jennifer Eliason, Stewardship Coordinator, Habitat Acquisition Trust ­ personal communication July 21, 2004 16 Ilene Palmer, Regional Manager, TLC Victoria ­ personal communication August 12, 2004
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American Urban Land Trusts There are a number of lessons to be learned by studying the more established land trust movement in America. The American Land Trust Alliance (of which there is no current national Canadian equivalent) offers a number of services to North American based land trusts, including training courses, nation-wide standards, and group insurance. In addition, innovative practices from specific municipalities in America provide valuable lessons in how to accomplish urban conservation goals. These include the application of cluster development models17; municipalities buying and protecting land lying outside their municipal boundaries in order to protect important watersheds (New York City has done this along the Hudson River; the City of Calgary has emulated this model along the Bow River)18; and the application of the conservation corridor/greenways concept using urban lands as a stepping stone for species movement19. There are also many differences between American and Canadian approaches to establishing urban land trusts. Generally, it is easier for land trusts to operate in America. Tax laws provide more benefits to land trust donors in America than in Canada, and land appraisal mechanisms are different20,21. In many cases, there is a difference in land parcel value in the urban core of American cities. Many inner city lots in America have little resale value: in some cases, they are owned by the city because of tax delinquency and are then sold to non-profit groups for a token fee22. Finally, despite the relatively large number of urban land trusts in America, there are few that function as a conservation land trust, and even fewer where that is their primary focus. The two examples of urban American land trusts below are those that have the conservation of natural areas within an urban area as a primary goal. Boston Natural Areas Network Web-site: http://www.bostonnatural.org/ Conservation focus: Boston Natural Areas Network (BNAN) was founded in 1977 by a small group of citizens who took up the challenge of a Boston Redevelopment Authority report entitled Boston 17 Tom Cameron, formerly with Alberta Sport, Recreation, Parks and Wildlife - personal communication July 8, 2004 18 Ibid 19 Locke Girvan, Environmental Analyst, Strathcona County - personal communication July 20, 2004 20 Stewart Chisholm, Common Grounds Manager, Evergreen Canada ­ personal communication, July 22, 2004 21 Tracey Tarves, Senior Program Manager, Parks Foundation Calgary ­ personal communication July 26, 2004 22 Stewart Chisholm, Common Grounds Manager, Evergreen Canada ­ personal communication, July 22, 2004
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Urban Wilds. In this report, 143 Urban Wilds or unprotected sites of natural beauty and environmental significance in Boston neighbourhoods were listed. The goal of BNAN is to make these Urban Wilds a permanent part of a public open space network. In 1990, BNAN issued an update to the 1976 report that highlighted 30 of these Urban Wilds as particularly significant, and in 1992 began focusing on the opportunity to connect protected and at risk Urban Wilds with existing or potential public parks to create open space systems of urban greenways. BNAN is also a strong supporter of community gardens, and in addition to owning 25% of the 200 community gardens in the Boston area, manages Garden Futures, a collaborative of the non-profit organizations that own and manage community gardens. Although BNAN does own community gardens, their work with urban wilds has been focused on getting these into public-park ownership (with the exception of several very small parcels, acquired under exceptional circumstances). BNAN primarily works as a facilitator: beginning with community organizing and support; sometimes raising private money; and sometimes providing start-up funds. BNAN also helps with environmental education, with biotic inventories on specific sites, and continues to be a `friend' of the site and partner in its protection (although the majority of the stewardship of protected sites, including signage, maintenance, insurance, etc. remains the responsibility of the city and state park departments). Legal structure and governance model: BNAN is governed by a 17 member Board of Directors. Funding: Currently, 800 acres of the Boston Urban Wilds have been protected, and are now owned and maintained by either the City's Parks department or the State Parks department. BNAN, by working in collaboration with partners, has been involved in protecting over three-quarters (646 acres) of these lands. BNAN operates with a yearly budget of $750,000 USD, and employs a staff of eight people. Much of BNAN's support comes from individuals, as well as donor foundations. Portland Trails Website: http://www.trails.org/ Conservation focus: Portland Trials was founded in 1991 with goals of creating a 30-mile trail network within the Greater Portland Area; serving as a public advocate for the protection of and access to natural places within the region; and encouraging the participation of neighbourhoods, schools and the business community in trail use and stewardship. The motivation to develop the organization came from concern about rapid growth in Portland, and a subsequent long-range plan
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to conserve and develop trails and natural areas for the city. Although this plan was approved by city council, the time frame for its implementation was seen as so long-term that many were concerned that nothing would ever get done. In response to this, the Portland Trails organization was established. Portland Trials relies heavily on volunteers, who conduct the majority of trail maintenance and stewardship. Volunteer initiatives are sometimes individually based, but are more often based on specific businesses, scout troops, or school groups who are looking for team building or volunteer opportunities. Legal structure and governance model: An elected Board of Trustees governs Portland Trails. board members are elected from the membership at an annual meeting, although occasionally individuals with specific skills are recruited from outside the membership23. Funding: Portland Trails currently own 80 acres of land in the City of Portland, and holds easements on many other tracts of land. Funding is largely from members and from regular non-profit sources (i.e. donor foundations, corporate sponsors, fund-raising events). Portland Trails has found that recreational trails are a good vehicle to use for fund-raising24; trails appeal to a wide variety of donors (not only those interested in conservation issues); donors receive a significant amount of publicity; and once one section of trail is established it becomes a drawing card for other donors. Challenges Associated with Urban Land Trusts While the examples above show that land trusts can be a valuable tool for urban conservation efforts, they also provide insights into the unique challenges facing urban conservation land trusts in the North American context. Challenges associated with Site Selection: Selecting sites that are of significant natural or environmental value is a challenge in an urban environment. There is a general societal perception that natural sites and urban areas are mutually exclusive concepts, with true `nature' or `wilderness' only occurring away from any human habitation or influence. In Vancouver, for example, although there is interest in protecting historic buildings within Vancouver, most conservation projects take place on the periphery of the city25. Any natural site that is going to be conserved on a long-term basis must be of sufficient size and must be connected to other protected sites: both of these criteria 23 Nan Cumming, President, Portland Trails ­ personal communication August 12, 2004 24 Ibid 25 Tamsin Baker, Regional Manager, Lower Mainland, The Land Conservancy ­ personal communication July 27, 2004
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can be a challenge in an urban or peri-urban setting. Finally, there is a significant amount of controversy associated with any conservation project located close to urban areas. As one individual with a long experience of working on conservation projects in Alberta noted, "In Edmonton there are, roughly speaking, two categories of people: those interested in land speculation, and those interested in land conservation26". While this is obviously an oversimplification to make a point, it does highlight the tensions that influence urban conservation projects. Challenges associated with Site Securement: One of the main challenges to site securement in the urban context is high land market values. Because of this, it is often a challenge to raise funds for natural area purchases, as an equivalent dollar amount can protect a much larger parcel of land in a rural or remote setting. The criteria for application of the Ecological Gifts program, a tool used by land trusts to increase tax benefits to land donors, are sometimes not applicable to urban natural area situations27. Lands secured, either directly or indirectly, by the land trust can be subject to expropriation by a municipality under the Municipal Government Act28. And finally, conservation easements are a relatively new and generally unknown tool for protecting land. As such, landowners are very cautious about applying conservation easements to their land, especially in an urban context where land values and pressures to develop are so high29. Challenges associated with Site Stewardship: There is both a need and an obligation to properly steward protected lands for the long-term. This includes developing and applying a long-term maintenance plan for the site, paying taxes and Liability Insurance, doing preventative maintenance, and building infrastructure (signs, fences, trails, etc). For rural land trusts, stewardship of sites can often function adequately with volunteers. Urban lands, on the other hand, are often subject to a high level of abuse and misuse, and thus their stewardship requires a significant level of resources and time commitment30.
26 Tom Cameron, formerly with Alberta Sport, Recreation, Parks and Wildlife - personal communication July 8, 2004 27 Ron Bennet, Ecological Gifts Coordinator, Environment Canada ­ personal communication July 21, 2004 28 Greystone Consulting, 2004 29 Tamsin Baker, Regional Manager, Lower Mainland, The Land Conservancy ­ personal communication July 27, 2004 30 Valerie Burns, President, Boston Natural Areas Network ­ personal communication July 30, 2004
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Recommendations for Urban Land Trusts In the last few years three separate reports have examined barriers to the success of stewardship and conservation organizations in Canada31. The main barriers identified in all three reports were 1) a lack of coordination among partners; 2) a lack of public awareness of conservation issues and activities; and 3) a lack of financial resources. Recommendations dealing with these three barriers to success are singled out here to emphasize their importance. (Other recommendations for Best Practices are included in the `Forming an Edmonton Land Trust' section of this report). Recommendation 1: Develop and Strengthen Partnerships "Successful greenway implementation will require developing partnerships between private landowners and local community groups, since limited resources and public sentiment preclude large- scale government intervention in many communities32" While land trusts working in rural areas occasionally act unilaterally to safeguard important conservation areas, the difficulties of working in an urban environment make this almost impossible for urban-based land trusts. To be successful, land trusts, and especially urban land trusts, need to value and nurture collaboration with a variety of partners33. These include community groups; local, provincial and national conservation groups; the development community; and municipal, provincial and federal government agencies and departments. Community groups: An example of a conservation project in the Edmonton region is the Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary. This nature sanctuary, although owned by the Canadian Nature Federation, is managed locally by a `Friends of' society. This type of management arrangement often works well in a city, where people care about what's going on in their own backyards34. Particular attention needs to be paid to developing partnerships with landowners in the operation of the organization. Although this sounds like an obvious recommendation, this is often not the case, as in a recent study where local conservation groups interested in protecting farmland did not have a single farmer among their membership35. Another example of effectively developing partnerships with community groups is from the City of Portland, where Portland Trails has instituted a program where schools 31 Evergreen Common Grounds, 2002; Millar, 2003; Wildlife Habitat Canada, 2002 32 Ryan & Walker, 2004 33 Millar, 2003 34 Kim Good, Coordinator, Abbotsford Community Land Trust ­ personal communication July 21, 2004 35 Ryan and Walker 2004
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work to develop trails to connect their schools with local parks. This work becomes part of the curriculum during the school year, and when the hands-on work of building the trail begins, families often participate36. Conservation groups: Most large urban centres have a variety of different groups working to address urban environmental issues. This can lead to a subtle form of competition between groups for the limited sources and amount of available funding 37. Success in this situation relies on developing and maintaining good relationships with other local environmental groups, on working in conjunction with other organizations where possible, and on avoiding overlap by focusing mandates38. Partnerships with larger provincial, national and even international partners can also be an effective strategy for achieving the objectives of a local land trust as well as strengthening the land trust as an organization. For example, a conservation group with a specialized mandate like Ducks Unlimited could be approached to partner on the conservation of a specific wetland site. Groups like this are often willing to work in an urban or peri-urban situation but are unwilling to take the lead in the initiative; therefore, they welcome these types of collaborative efforts39. Joining an organization like the Land Trust Alliance of America (www.lta.org) (while there is a move to set up a similar organization, as of yet no analogous organization exists in Canada40) would also be helpful. The LTA offers training and educational courses, land trust liability insurance, and land trust standards and practices aimed at developing an individual land trust's credibility and effectiveness. The development community: An urban conservation strategy that recognises the needs of the development community is most likely to be effectively implemented. The development community will support strategies that are transparent, fair and efficient - particularly if these requirements result in positive value-added benefits to their properties and the communities in which they are situated41. Municipal, provincial, and federal government: There are significant advantages to land trusts operating separately from government42. One of the chief advantages is increased flexibility. For example, Portland Trails is able to own land not just within the City of Portland but also within 36 Nana Cummings, President, Portland Trails ­ personal communication August 12, 2004 37 Tamsin Baker, Regional Manager, Lower Mainland, The Land Conservancy ­ personal communication July 27, 2004 38 Jennifer Eliason, Stewardship Coordinator, Habitat Acquisition Trust ­ personal communication July 21, 2004 39 Kim Good, Prairie Trust ­ personal communication July 21, 2004 40 Lynn McIntyre, Stewardship Director, Wildlife Habitat Canada ­ personal communication August 30, 2004 41 Gye, 2003 42 Tracey Tarves, Senior Program Manager, Parks Foundation Calgary ­ personal communication July 26, 2004; Larry Simpson, Regional Director, Nature Conservancy of Canada Alberta Region ­ personal communication July 20, 2004; Lisa Fox, Coordinator, Abbotsford Community Land Trust ­ personal communication July 2x, 2004
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neighbouring municipalities, thus maximizing the connectivity and use of its trail systems43. At the same time, however, developing effective partnerships with various levels of government appears to be instrumental to success for urban-based land trusts. Collaboration with government is especially important when planning for long-term stewardship of natural areas. As the experience of the Boston Natural Areas Network indicates, this is a task that is perhaps best supported by public funds: even with eight staff, over 20 years of experience, and an annual operating budget of over 750,000 USD, BNAN members feel they are under-resourced to steward the natural areas they have helped to protect44. Because of this, although BNAN works to protect natural areas, it has focused on getting these areas into public park ownership45. There are many examples of successful land trust/government partnerships. The Land Conservancy - Vancouver currently owns an urban creek and has formed a partnership with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the City of Vancouver, and a local stewardship group to manage and maintain this area46. The Sheep River Land Trust in Okotoks was formed to purchase property under development pressure along a riverine escarpment in Okotoks. The land was secured by purchase, conserved by the placing of a conservation easement, and then transferred to the town for operations and maintenance47. While Portland Trails started out completely separate from government, over time it has found itself working more and more with the City and now has a strong and very successful partnership established48. Strongly related to the importance of developing partnerships is the need to work at a regional level49, including integrating work with other regional natural systems initiatives50. A significant number of natural areas in an urban context are located at the urban fringe. The long-term protection of these lands usually necessitates working at the ecosystem level rather than an individual site level, and thus requires collaboration among adjacent municipal and county planning departments. Locally, the Big Lake management plan and the Beaver Hills Initiative are examples of working in partnership with surrounding municipalities. 43 Nan Cumming, President, Portland Trails ­ personal communication August 12, 2004 44 Valerie Burns, President, Boston Natural Areas Network ­ personal communication July 30, 2004 45 Ibid 46 Tamsin Baker, Regional Manager, Lower Mainland, The Land Conservancy ­ personal communication July 27, 2004 47 Calgary Parks Foundation, 2004 48 Nan Cumming, President, Portland Trails ­ personal communication August 12, 2004 49 Gye, 2003 50 Ibid
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The Value of Partnerships "Through this research, and in Evergreen's ongoing work with parks planners, stewardship coordinators, and others working for green space preservation and stewardship in Canada's urban municipalities, partnerships have emerged as a clear and dominant theme51" Canada is home to a number of excellent examples of partnerships that have contributed greatly to conservation goals. A few of these partnerships that may be applicable to the Edmonton situation are outlined below. The Land Conservancy, British Columbia (www.conservancy.bc.ca): The Land Conservancy (TLC) is modeled after Britain's National Trust, one of the oldest and most successful conservation trusts worldwide. TLC currently operates a series of exchanges between TLC and National Trust staff as a method of maximizing learning from the National Trust experience. The TLC has borrowed various programs and fund-raising ideas from the National Trust, while staff exchanges provide an efficient way of learning from the experience of a well-established trust52. Meewasin Valley Authority, Saskatoon (www.meewasin.com): Faced with overlapping jurisdictions and common concerns about protection of natural and heritage resources in the South Saskatchewan River Valley, the City of Saskatoon, the Province of Saskatchewan, and the University of Saskatchewan partnered in 1979 to create and jointly fund the Meewasin Valley Authority (MVA). These partners co-manage the conservation of the valley's resources. MVA operates as an autonomous, non-profit agency with statutory funding from the City, the University, and the Province. MVA is an example of interjurisdictional resource management; it provides a number of financial benefits to the city (for every dollar contributed by the city, the province contributes two; as a non-profit body, the MVA can also leverage other funding); and the integration of the University brings applied research to bear on the conservation and best use of the valley, including water quality and heritage and ecological resources. The City of Burnaby: The city, in conjunction with a local Fish and Game Club and the B.C. Institute of Technology, supports a number of `streamkeeper' groups. These volunteer organizations work to
51 Evergreen Common Grounds, 2004. Please note that most of the information from the following examples is taken directly from this report as well. 52 Ilene Palmer, Regional Manager, TLC Victoria ­ personal communication August 12, 2004
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protect and restore aquatic habitats through water quality monitoring, clean-ups, habit surveys, and fish monitoring. The City's planning department provides ongoing in-kind support to these groups. The City of Guelph & the City of Whitehorse: Guelph and Whitehorse are two examples of cities that have partnered with industry, conservation groups and local community groups to either purchase, receive donations of, or otherwise gain access to urban parkland. For most urban green spaces the city has taken over stewardship (signage, maintenance, insurance) of the sites while various independent bodies retain ownership. City of Ottawa: To stretch limited parks and recreation budgets, the newly amalgamated municipality of Ottawa is developing partnerships with social service agencies and recreation clubs that lease land in a 53 hectare Riverfront Park, a piece of land that has recently come under the jurisdiction of the City. The City is assisting with the development of comprehensive management plans, as well as options for restoration and programming. By working with agencies that have a long-standing interest in the site, the City hopes to expand the services offered without a significant increase in operating costs. City of Fredericton: Fredericton has partnered with the Nature Trust of New Brunswick and other conservation groups to transform an abandoned 9-hectare dumpsite into a unique public green space. The City is responsible for site maintenance, while the Trust is responsible for education programming and monitoring. City of Oshawa: When the City of Oshawa was deeded a 131 hectare wetland from the Federal Department of Transportation, they did not have the financial resources nor the staff capacity to restore and manage the site. At the urging of a local conservation group, the City entered into a partnership with the Canadian Wildlife Federation and the local conservation group in order to raise funds, to do ecological restoration, and to formulate a management plan. This partnership has since expanded to include Ducks Unlimited and numerous other community groups and service clubs. The City of Edmonton and surrounding region contains a number of committed citizen and industry groups, development companies, non-governmental organizations, and educational institutions that would not only be potential partners in the development of a regional land trust, but would be invaluable partners in the implementation of specific conservation projects. Developing strong relationships with these groups should be a clear priority for any future land trust.
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Recommendation 2: Engage the Public "...urban habitats are rarely protected through ownership or conservation easements; urban habitat conservation is commonly achieved through community involvement and Education Programs..."53 Public awareness of conservation issues and activities is an essential component of a successful conservation and stewardship strategy54, and successful organizations understand the needs of their communities and adapt their conservation priorities accordingly55. The support of community members is very important to leveraging public funds. An effective communication and education program is essential for developing public awareness, support, and engagement in conservation programs56. An important element of engaging the public is to begin protecting land ­ no matter how modestly ­ as soon as possible57. Beginning organizations have a tendency to get too involved in planning, which can paralyze the organization. Success often breeds success, and success stories should be actively publicized58. Doing so will help to build the momentum of the organization, and will help to build the public awareness and support necessary for success. Recommendation 3: Focus on Financial Sustainability The stability of a land trust is essential for landowners to feel confident enough to donate land or easements to the organization ­ perpetual protection needs to be ensured. A successful stewardship and conservation organization especially needs long-term financial stability in order to maintain its long-term programs, and to retain and train long-term staff and volunteers59. This is particularly true if the organization holds any conservation easements, which are ineffectual unless they are properly monitored and enforced. Financial planning for the organization therefore needs to start immediately60. An endowment fund to pay for staffing and to help with stewardship costs is the ideal61, and provides more of a guarantee of the long-term viability of an organization. A broad based membership with dues can also provide some of the financial stability needed for an 53 Watkins & Hilts, 2001 p.6 54 Evergreen Common Grounds, 2002; Millar, 2003; Wildlife Habitat Canada, 2002 55 Millar, 2003 56 Boon, 1997 57 Cox and Dorn, 1993; Tamsin Baker, Regional Manager, Lower Mainland, The Land Conservancy ­ personal communication July 27, 2004 58 Tamsin Baker, Regional Manager, Lower Mainland, The Land Conservancy ­ personal communication July 27, 2004 59 Evergreen Common Grounds, 2002; Millar, 2003; Wildlife Habitat Canada, 2002 60 Cox and Dorn, 1993; Millar, 2003 61 Larry Simpson, Regional Director, Nature Conservancy of Canada Alberta Region ­ personal communication July 20, 2004; Millar, 2003.
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organization. Generally, however, land trusts are involved in a substantial amount of fund raising, usually for specific projects but sometimes to help cover staffing and office costs as well. Diverse funding from a variety of sources is a strong indicator of an organization's success62. One group has suggested that a rough rule of thumb is to aim for 45% of funding coming from the community, with the rest from private foundations and government sources63. Setting up an Edmonton Urban Land Trust "Urban citizens are increasingly interested in having a role in the development and enhancement of their communities, and the expertise and enthusiasm they can bring to urban greening projects is, in many cities, a relatively untapped resource."64 Steps in Forming a Land Trust The prescriptive literature on how to establish a land trust is extensive. The Land Trust Alliance of America has published a guide entitled Starting a Land Trust: A guide to Forming a Land Conservation Organization. The LTA has also developed Land Trust Standards, which have been adapted for the Canadian context by the Land Trust Alliance of BC (see Appendix I). The LTA of BC is also working on a best practices report for land trusts in the Canadian context, with a planned completion date of spring 200565. Environment Canada staff are willing to assist with the drafting of the vision and mission for new land trusts in order to ensure compliance with their Ecological Gifts program66. The newly founded Prairie Trust, whose members have significant experience with land trusts, is willing to assist new land trust initiatives67. Finally, there is the potential to buy background planning documents from the yet­to-be-named Calgary Regional Land Trust68. More challenging is adapting these general prescriptions to the Edmonton environment. A model implementation schedule for an Edmonton land trust is described below, organized into four phases: organizing and launching the organization; strategic planning; implementation; and evaluation. 62 Millar, 2003 63 Dave Walker, Ontario Land Trust Alliance ­ personal communication July 19, 2004 64 Evergreen Common Grounds, 2004 65 Sheila Harrington, Executive Director, Land Trust Alliance of British Columbia - personal communication July 26, 2004 66 Ron Bennet, Ecological Gifts Coordinator, Environment Canada ­ personal communication July 21, 2004 67 Kim Good, Coordinator, Abbotsford Community Land Trust ­ personal communication July 21, 2004 68 Tracey Tarves, Senior Program Manager, Parks Foundation Calgary ­ personal communication July 26, 2004
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Phase One: Organize and Launch the Organization Establish an interim steering committee: This essential committee will be an interim group that performs the initial organizing, researching, fund raising, and recruitment of board members for the Trust. This committee needs to be a broadly based group of people with a wide range of skills, interests, and backgrounds. Because of the vital importance of partnerships, it is essential that the steering committee have representation from other municipal governments in the region, from the major conservation groups operating in the Edmonton region, and from the development community. In order for the organizational work on the Trust to progress quickly, the steering committee will need to meet regularly and relatively often. Draft a mission and statement of purpose with clear objectives: One of the first tasks of the Steering Committee will be to define a vision and mission for the Trust. This will include the geographic area covered by the Trust, the activities of the Trust, and the overall goals of the Trust. Suggesting the general mandate of the organization (which can be modified following public consultation) is an essential prerequisite to deciding on management and membership for the organization, and for choosing a board of directors. There are two things to keep in mind when crafting the statement of purpose and objectives for the Trust. Firstly, it is important to keep the terms of reference for the Trust broad, including provisions for the protection of agricultural land, heritage buildings, recreation land, wildlife corridors, and possible other lands69. Having a broad mandate attracts a broad range of interests, encourages a wide and more stable base of support, and creates a greater range of opportunity for the Trust70. Secondly, the purpose and objectives of the land trust must be considered in the context of the Canadian Customs and Revenue Association regulations for charitable organizations. Some purposes, for example political lobbying, are not compatible with CCRA regulations. A suggested purpose/mission statement that takes into account the importance of working at a regional level is as follows: `The Edmonton Regional Land Trust will work to provide a means for the selection, securement, and stewardship of sites, areas and objects of ecological, heritage, recreational or agricultural interest in the Greater Edmonton Region, primarily for the use, enjoyment and benefit of present and future citizens of the region." 69 Tom Cameron, formerly with Alberta Sport, Recreation, Parks and Wildlife - personal communication July 8, 2004 70 Turner, 2004
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Inform and involve the community: Holding a well-publicized public meeting will inform the broader Edmonton community about the plans for the Trust, will assess their opinions, and will help to identify those who support the idea71. Developing and maintaining community engagement in the land trust from its initiation is critical to its success. Establish an organizational structure: Decisions will need to be made rather quickly regarding membership and management of the Trust. A recommended structure for an Edmonton Regional Land Trust is an open membership with an elected Board of Directors. Two appointed advisory committees would, in turn, serve the Board of Directors. The first advisory committee would be focused on providing advice on conservation priorities, and would include representation from municipal governments (primarily community services and/or planning), local universities, and local conservation organizations. The second advisory committee would be focused on providing advice on business and the real estate market as well as on fund-raising, and would include representation from municipal governments, the development community, and real estate and fund-raising professionals. This organizational structure would have a number of advantages: an open membership would encourage a broad base of support for the Trust; instituting membership dues (even if they were kept low) would help to establish a financial base of support for the organization; having appointed municipal government representatives in the advisory committees (which would be non- voting structures) would help to keep government involved ­ an important factor in the long-term success of the Trust ­ while also keeping an essential level of separation from the Trust; and having two advisory committees providing advice and recommendations to the board of directors would help to bring a variety of expertise and points of view to the table, while limiting potentially crippling internal debates within the advisory committees. Choose board members: A committed Board of Directors is essential to the success of any organization, especially a new organization operating in a contentious atmosphere. A strong, diverse board, with a wide range of skills is essential72, and will help to develop strong community support for the land trust73 as well as laying the basis for a strong and durable organization. Urban-based
71 The Land Trust Alliance of America, 1990 72 Millar, 2003 73 Ibid
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land trusts need to be savvy74, with a high degree of knowledge and ability, and this must be reflected in the Board of Directors. Although it is envisioned that the Board of Directors will eventually be elected by the organization's membership, the founding board will probably need to be recruited by the members of the steering committee. The Board of Directors will be responsible for hiring staff for the Trust, most probably someone to function in the Executive Director position. Suggested qualifications for an Executive Director include someone who is well connected in the Edmonton area75; who has a background in both real estate and in ecology, and is creative, personable, and good at fund-raising76. Fill out the paperwork: Drafting and filing articles of incorporation, applying for charitable status, and setting up a record-keeping system and formal accounting system should be done carefully and thoughtfully, as any weaknesses in these areas may come back to haunt the organization77. Any land trust needs the flexibility to buy and sell on short notice, and this must be accommodated in the organization's structure. Having staff in place to assist with this step would be ideal, as filling out the paperwork for an organization can be time-consuming. This process should be started if possible by the interim steering committee since the application for charitable status can take many months to process. Formal launch of the organization: The official launch of the organization is a good time to generate interest and knowledge of the Trust through the media and through marketing. Phase Two: Strategic Planning "...one of the most important things [for the development of stewardship and conservation organizations] would be goal setting and priority setting: once you write them down, its amazing how they come about.78" Even with a clearly defined vision and mission, it is essential to develop a strategic plan for the Trust, along with a specific time-line and implementation schedule. This includes determining which lands to secure (site selection), how and when to secure them (site securement) and how to manage them (site stewardship). The essential steps in this process are outlined below. 74 Stewart Chisholm, Common Grounds Manager, Evergreen Canada ­ personal communication, July 22, 2004 75 Lisa Fox, Coordinator, Abbotsford Community Land Trust ­ personal communication July 2x, 2004 76 Tamsin Baker, Regional Manager, Lower Mainland, The Land Conservancy ­ personal communication July 27, 2004 77 http://landtrustalliance.bc.ca/ 78 Jim Fraught, Executive Director of the Federation of Ontario Naturalists, quoted in Millar, 2003
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Conduct an inventory: Although inventory work on natural sites within the city of Edmonton has been done, this must be updated and expanded to the surrounding regions. In addition to an inventory, it will be necessary to establish land ownership; management status; and the financial costs of both protecting and managing the land79. Cooperation with surrounding counties, through the amalgamation of existing inventories, has the potential to significantly ease the creation of an overall inventory, saving both time and money. Develop a Greenways Master Plan: Decisions about which lands and areas to focus on requires working on a regional, rather than site-specific basis80. Most of the environmentally significant natural areas of focus will be in the urban-fringes, and conserving these sites will necessitate working together with surrounding municipalities as well as with other local conservation groups, such as the North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance, the River Valley Alliance, etc. This is an echo of one of the recommendations from the "Conserving Edmonton's Natural Areas" report, which was to develop, in consultation with community stakeholders and adjacent municipalities, a `Greenspaces Master Plan' that would set out the City's long term strategy for conservation of natural areas and integration of conserved lands with the river valley and open space lands. The success of this approach has been shown through the work of the Boston Natural Areas Network (BNAN). While BNAN initially focused on protecting individual natural areas, in the early 1990's they revised this approach to instead focus on creating corridors of green space incorporating reused industrial lands, railway lines, and existing parks. This approach has been quite successful81. The scientific advisory committee for the Trust will play a lead role in the development of this regional greenways master plan. Establish Priorities: Using the greenways master plan as a template, it will be necessary to determine which are the short, medium, and long-term priorities for protection. People often approach land trusts with parcels of land to conserve, and it is important to know the priorities of the Trust82. The real estate advisory committee will take the lead in determining these priorities. An important consideration in establishing priorities for the Trust is that highly visible projects attract public support for and knowledge of the trust, in addition to the conservation benefits of the project. For example, a TLC Vancouver project to restore a heritage garden in Burnaby ­ even though it took 79 Kim Good, Prairie Trust ­ personal communication July 21, 2004 80 Calgary Parks Foundation, 2004 81 Valerie Burns, President, Boston Natural Areas Network ­ personal communication July 30, 2004 82 Tamsin Baker, Regional Manager, Lower Mainland, The Land Conservancy ­ personal communication July 27, 2004
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a significant volunteer and cash commitment - got a huge amount of attention from the public83. Likewise, by concentrating on the establishment of recreation trails, Portland Trails is able to generate more support for their projects than if their main concern was simply conservation of natural areas. Expand the Planning and Legal Tool Box: While land acquisitions are usually seen as the primary function of a land trust, they are usually expensive both in terms of dollars, staff time and volunteer commitment. As such they should be looked on as a last resort tool84. It is often possible to accomplish the same objectives by using other mechanisms, for example zoning changes, working with city parks, and density compensation schemes, which may be much less expensive85. While some of the options available are described as part of this report, work on continuing to research, implement, and advertise these planning and legal tools is an important continuing role of the Trust86. For example, in the Edmonton area industry as a group has indicated a need for tools that provide incentives for conserving natural areas or that at least do not financially penalize landowners or developers that have natural areas on their land87. Develop a Communications and Education Strategy: A communications and education strategy is an essential element of a successful land trust. This should not be left to chance, as it is in many conservation organizations, but should be developed and implemented at the early stages of the trust. Education can be an excellent way for land trusts to meet their objectives: for example, promoting good land stewardship has proven to be a very effective way (both in terms of meeting objectives and reducing costs) of meeting conservation objectives88. Specific activities that an Edmonton Regional Land Trust should be involved in as part of its communication and education strategy are public speaking tours and the establishment of a Speaker's Bureau, the development of a website, and the publication of newsletters and an annual report.
83 Ibid 84 Ibid 85 Andrew Schoepf; Parkland Stewardship Program, Alberta Fish and Game Association ­ personal communication July 19, 2004; Kim Good, Prairie Trust ­ personal communication July 21, 2004 86 Evergreen Common Grounds, 2004 87 Alberta Environmental Network and the City of Edmonton, 2001 p. 51 88 Jennifer Eliason, Stewardship Coordinator, Habitat Acquisition Trust ­ personal communication July 21, 2004
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Phase Three: Implementation Begin Protecting Land: Once specific goals and objectives have been established, it is important to not delay in protecting land89. First impressions are important, so actions should be taken immediately to build the type of image desired. This may involve doing something soon that makes it clear to others what the organization can do for the community. If at all possible, this should entail having a site ready to go as soon as the land trust is launched90. This will help build membership and the support of non-members in the public and in government agencies. It is also essential to building financial support for the organization, which is much easier when a successful model of the organization's work can be pointed out91. A proactive approach should be taken in terms of land selection. Instead of waiting for people to come to the trust with land to conserve, take the conservation tools developed, figure out who is dealing with land in the community, and work out partnerships using the priorities developed92. It is important to remember that in addition to implementing a strategy to secure areas, a management plan for the site must be established, including a long-term financial plan. As part of providing a financial base for the organization, the Edmonton Regional Land Trust will sell annual and life memberships to citizens of the region and will also request that the City of Edmonton and surrounding municipalities and counties contribute towards a $2 million dollar endowment fund for the operation of the trust. Phase Four: Evaluation "Organizations that do not rigorously evaluate or measure the effectiveness of their programs have a hard time demonstrating the kinds of tangible results that inspire donors93" Evaluate Program Effectiveness: The final phase in the cycle is evaluation. Evaluation is not just based on the effectiveness of achieving specific conservation targets, but should also focus on how well the organization is working and on improving it. This is important not just to make programs and projects more effective, but also to demonstrate measurable outcomes to donors and constituents94. 89 Cox and Dorn, 1993 90 Ernie Ewaschuk, Executive Director, Land Stewardship Centre of Canada ­ personal communication August 27, 2004 91 Nan Cummings, President, Portland Trails ­ personal communication August 12, 2004 92 Tamsin Baker, Regional Manager, Lower Mainland, The Land Conservancy ­ personal communication July 27, 2004 93 McKinsey Report 2001, quoted in Millar, 2003 p.13 94 Millar, 2003.
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A Circular Process The four phases described above are part of a continuing circular process (see Figure 1): Organization, leading to Strategic Planning, leading to Implementation, leading to Evaluation, and then using the results of the Evaluation stage to go back to improving the Organization, etc. These are not necessarily distinct phases: there is some overlap between the sections and some are on going. However, some Organizing is necessary before Strategic Planning, some Planning must take place before Implementation begins, and so on.
Organizing
Planning
Evaluating
Implementing
Figure 1: The four-step circular implementation process
Conclusions In the midst of rapid growth that is predicted to continue for the foreseeable future, Edmonton's citizens are echoing other municipalities across Canada in calling for more and better green space. A survey of Canadian municipalities found that financial constraints constitute the greatest challenge to meeting this need95. New models of green space development, protection and stewardship are needed in order to meet urban residents green space needs, and community involvement through the vehicle of a land trust is one model with significant potential. At the same time, a land trust is not the solution to all of Edmonton's conservation needs, nor will it absolve the city of additional efforts and expenditures in this area. Developing an Edmonton area land trust is not about privatization of conservation efforts in the city: it is about developing additional tools for conservation, and broadening involvement in conservation efforts.
95 Evergreen Urban Greening Report
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Finally, while there are significant opportunities for conservation work in an urban setting, there are also a number of significant challenges. Adequately addressing these challenges requires that an urban land trust pay particular attention to the following recommendations: · Planning and implementation, while it can be focused on the City of Edmonton, must be at a regional level and must incorporate other municipal and regional partners. · An urban land trust should maintain a separation from government, while at the same time forming strong partnerships with government (and particularly municipal governments). · An urban land trust should fully develop all of the various tools available for protection of land, keeping acquisition as a last resort. · An urban land trust should have a broad mandate, potentially including the preservation of built heritage and the establishment of recreation trails. · An urban land trust should emphasize work on developing strong partnerships, on developing and maintaining financial stability, and on communication and education. Acknowledgements The author would like to thank the many individuals who provided invaluable advice and background information for this report. Those who freely contributed both their time and expertise include Grant Pearsell, Conservation Coordinator, City of Edmonton; Adele Mandryk, University of Alberta; Dr. Ross W. Wein, University of Alberta; Tom Cameron, Alberta Parks, Recreation, Sport and Wildlife (retired); Kim Good, Prairie Trust; Ron Bennet, Environment Canada; Stewart Chisholm, Evergreen Canada; David Park, Alberta Conservation Association; Jennifer Elliason, Habitat Acquisition Trust; Locke Girvan, Strathcona County; Larry Simpson, Nature Conservancy of Canada; Dave Walker, Ontario Land Trust Alliance; Andrew Schoepf, Alberta Fish and Game Association; Lisa Fox, Abbotsford Land Trust; Tracey Tarves, Parks Foundation; Sheila Harrington, Land Trust Alliance BC; Stephen Outlaw, Land Trust Alliance of America; Tamsin Baker, The Land Conservancy (Vancouver); Valerie Burns, Boston Natural Areas Network; Brenda Wispinski, Strathcona County; Nan Cummings, Portland Trails; Ilene Palmer, The Land Conservancy (Victoria).
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Many thanks are also due to both Dr. Ross W. Wein, Ernie Ewaschuk and Adele Mandryk, who kindly reviewed a draft copy of this report and provided valuable advice and input. The Alberta Sport, Recreation, Parks and Wildlife Foundation generously provided funding, and the Land Stewardship Centre of Canada had the vision and willingness to financially partner to make this report a reality.
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Bibliography Alberta Environmental Network and Community Services, City of Edmonton. Conserving Edmonton's Natural Areas: A Framework for Conservation Planning in an Urban Landscape. Volume 2: Technical Report. 2001. Arendt, R. Growing Greener: Putting Conservation into local plans and Ordinances. Island Press, Washington, D.C.: 1999. Boon, John. Land Trust Paper. The Land Centre: 1997 (available at: www.landcentre.ca). Calgary Parks Foundation. Proposed Regional Land Trust: Summary of Public Input. February 2004 (available at: www.landtrustrproject.com) Cox, Ken and Graham Dorn. Wetlands Conservation in Canada and Saskatchewan: Lessons and Ideas to be used for Land Trust Formation. Second Interprovincial Land Trust Conference. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan: 1993. Ealey, D.M. Urban Natural History Interpretive Sites in and Adjacent to Edmonton. John Janzen Nature Centre, Edmonton: 1986. Evergreen Common Grounds. Canadian Land Trust Survey: Needs Assessment 2002. Evergreen: 2002. Evergreen Common Grounds. Green Space Acquisition and Stewardship in Canada's Urban Municipalities: Results of a Nationwide Survey. Evergreen: 2004 (available at: http://www.evergreen.ca/). Geowest Environmental Consultants. Natural Areas in the City of Edmonton: Assessment of Conservation Value and Potential. 1999. Greenaway, Guy. Conservation Easements in Alberta: Programs and Possibilities. Corvus Conservation: 2003 (available at www.corvus.ca). Greystone Consulting. Regional Land Trust Study ­ Executive Summary Phase 1: Analysis of Legal Issues, the Development of Governance Model and the Investigation of Partnerships and their Roles and Responsibilities. Prepared for the City of Calgary Parks Foundation: 2004 (available at www.landtrustproject.com).
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Gye, Jeremy. Discussion Paper: Towards an Urban Forest Stewardship Strategy for Southern Vancouver Island. Habitat Acquisition Trust and the Georgia Basin Ecosystem Initiative: 2003 (available at: www.hat.bc.ca). Habitat Acquisition Trust. The HAT Manual: Protecting Natural Areas in the Capital Region. Habitat Acquisition Trust: 2004 (available at www.hat.bc.ca). Knudsen, Erika. Protection of Land with Agricultural Uses. Land Trust Alliance of BC: 2003 (available at: www.landtrustalliance.bc.ca). Millar, Heather. Successful Stewardship and Conservation Organizations ­ case studies and Best Practices. Commissioned Research for The Leading Edge: Stewardship & Conservation in Canada. Land Trust Alliance of BC: 2003. Nature Conservancy of Canada. Stewardship Manual. Version 1. Nature Conservancy of Canada: 2000 (available at www.natureconservancy.ca). O'Leary, Dennis, Jerry Bentz, David Ealey, and Andre Schwabenbauer. Inventory of Environmentally Sensitive and Significant Natural Areas: Technical Report. Prepared for Planning and Development, City of Edmonton by Geowest Environmental Consultants: 1993. Ryan, Robert and Juliet Hansel Walker. Protecting and managing private farmland and public greenways in the urban fringe. Landscape and Urban Planning 68: 183-198. 2004. Sandborn, Calvin. Green Space and Growth: Conserving Natural Areas in B.C. Communities. March, 1996. The Land Trust Alliance of America. Starting a Land Trust: a guide to forming a land conservation organization. The Land Trust Alliance of America. 1990. Turner, Bill. Protecting British Columbia's Cultural Heritage: the rewards and challenges of conserving built heritage. The Kingfisher, Vol. 8, Spring 2004: pp 1-4. Watkins, Melissa and Stew Hilts. Land Trusts Emerge as an Important Conservation Force in Canada. A Summary of the Land Protected by Land Trusts and the Current Issues and Challenges Facing the Growing Land Trust Movement in Canada. 2001.
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Westworth Associates Environmental Ltd. et al. Conserving Edmonton's Natural Areas: A Framework for Conservation Planning in an Urban Landscape. Alberta Environmental Network and Community Services, City of Edmonton: February 2001 Wildlife Habitat Canada. Volunteer Sector Stewardship in Canada Summary Report. Wildlife Habitat Canada and the Voluntary Sector Initiative: 2002.
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Appendix 1: Suggested Land Trust Standards & Practices The following standards were developed by the Land Trust Alliance of America and adapted for the Canadian milieu by the Land Trust Alliance of British Columbia. The following is a summary only: the complete list of standards is available at http://www.lta.org/resources/standards.html (for the original LTA standards) and http://landtrustalliance.bc.ca/standards.html (for the adapted Canadian standards) Standard 1: Purpose, Goals, and Objectives: A land trust must have a clear purpose, goals, and objectives. Standard 2: Board Accountability: The board of directors must assume legal responsibility and accountability for the affairs of the organization. Standard 3: Conflict of Interest: The board directors must take care that directors, officers, and staff avoid conflicts of interest and promptly declare those that cannot be avoided. Standard 4: Basic Legal Requirements: A land trust must understand, fulfill, and maintain its basic legal requirements as a non-profit organization and, if also a tax-exempt charitable organization, the basic legal requirements of such an organization. Standard 5: Fundraising: A land trust must conduct fundraising activities in an ethical and responsible manner. Standard 6: Financial and Asset Management: The board of directors must ensure that the land trust manages its finances and assets in a responsible and accountable way. Standard 7: Staff, Consultants, and Volunteers: A land trust obtains help--from volunteers, consultants, and in many cases paid staff--as necessary to carry out its programs, and must ensure that such resources have appropriate skills and are in sufficient numbers. Standard 8: Selecting Projects: A land trust must be selective in choosing projects. Standard 9: Choosing the Best Conservation Method: A land trust must select the best available practical method for protecting each property. Standard 10: Examining the Property: A land trust must compile and maintain knowledge about each property it protects.
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Standard 11: Ensuring Sound Transactions: A land trust must ensure that every transaction is legally and technically sound, and avoid foreseeable future legal problems. Standard 12: Tax Benefits: A land trust must ensure that landowners donating land or assets are informed that there may be tax implications and must formally advise donors to obtain independent legal and tax advice regarding the donation. Standard 13: Board Approval of Transactions: The board is responsible for every land transaction. Standard 14: Conservation Covenant Stewardship: A land trust must carry out a program of responsible stewardship for its covenants. Standard 15: Land Stewardship: A land trust must carry out a program of responsible stewardship for its land.
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