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North American Grasslands Conservation Act brings restoration partnerships to the prairie

The passage of this act will improve not just habitat for wildlife but will slow, and ultimately help reverse, the decline of our nation’s grasslands. If you'd like to see this happen, you'll need to help out.

Last summer, Senators Ron Wyden of Oregon and Michael Bennet of Colorado introduced the North American Grasslands Conservation Act, which will provide resources to farmers, ranchers, and Tribes to voluntarily take steps to prevent the loss of grasslands and, when possible, restore them. Now, in the 118th Congress, lawmakers are considering additional updates to this bill and a bipartisan introduction in both the House and Senate is on the horizon.

This bill will create a voluntary, incentive-based grant program that focuses on partnering with private landowners — the stewards of their lands and waters — to conserve and restore grasslands across the country. The availability of grants is designed to be flexible, as the needs of one landowner to conserve grasslands will vary greatly across the nation: restoration of degraded grasslands, mitigating the threats of wildfire and drought, restoring watersheds, and improving the health of rangelands are among the many eligible activities for such grants…

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Judy Anderson

Report: New England forests can do more to combat climate change

Sharing information related to changes in woodland management is going to be important. No longer do all of the past assumptions pencil out.

“What this report shows is how with even moderate changes in land-use practices we can increase the amount of carbon sequestered and stored in our landscape. To me, as I watch us fail to meet nearly every emissions reduction target, the case for including New England forests in our policy discussions just gets stronger and stronger. These are things we can do today and they come with a range of other benefits that are good for all of society”…

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Largest urban forest carbon credit purchase to support conserving land

As land trusts work to slow down climate change, carbon credits are now part of the strategy. Ensuring that they are well-designed and applied appropriately is more important than ever.

The largest urban forest carbon credit sale in the nation, as of 2021, will support land conservation in the southwestern Pennsylvania region by Allegheny Land Trust.

This significant purchase increases the capacity of the land trust to conserve and care for more crucial green space in southwestern Pennsylvania…

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Land Trust of Napa Valley

Land trust works with partners to complete forest-thinning project in Angwin

Land trusts are working in partnership with local, state, and regional organizations to participate in climate-related demonstration projects and research, as well as sharing results as to how land can be managed to slow down climate change, reduce fire risk, and enhance other important goals.

The Land Trust of Napa County, California State Coastal Conservancy, Napa County Resource Conservation District (Napa RCD), and the Natural Resources Conservation Service are pleased to announce completion of a large fuels reduction and forest health project on the Land Trust’s Linda Falls Preserve in Angwin, CA.

This preserve is open to the public and many visitors come to the property to hike and see Linda Falls, a waterfall along Conn Creek.

The project involved thinning the forest across 120 acres. The thinning is aimed at both reducing the risks of wildfire along the southeast flank of the community of Angwin and increasing the resilience of the forest to fires, drought and other effects of climate change.

Angwin is one of the few areas in the hills of Napa County that has not burned in the last five years so wildfire risk reduction there is a priority for CAL FIRE, Napa Communities Firewise, and Napa County Fire…

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Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

How satellite-guided cows might save the Kansas prairie and make ranchers more money

Cattle may not boost plant biodiversity on the prairie as much as bison do, but The Nature Conservancy thinks it’s possible to manage them in ways that support healthier grassland. They are working with a Flint Hills cattle rancher near Strong City in Kansas, along with Kansas State scientists, to see how fitting a herd with GPS collars might help.

STRONG CITY, Kansas — Third-generation rancher Daniel Mushrush has 30-plus miles of barbed wire fence to tend to.

Calves wriggle beneath it. The wires get loose. Wild animals take a toll. And when streams surge after storms, rushing water often snaps sections in two.

For Mushrush and his family, the fence-mending on their Flint Hills ranch never ends. It’s inescapable.

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Climate change threatens the Great Plains, but bison may hold a key to resilience

Partnerships between tribal nations, land trusts, and universities are on the rise related to prairie management, biodiversity, and slowing down (and/or adapting to) climate change. This article touches on many of those concepts, including bison and cattle management.

“The 8,600-acre Konza Prairie Biological Station where Kansas State conducts its bison research lies in the Flint Hills, North America’s biggest remaining stretch of tallgrass prairie.

Once one of North America’s major ecosystems — covering large swaths of the Great Plains from what is today central Texas to south-central Canada — settlers and their descendants destroyed more than 95% of the continent’s tallgrass prairie for cropland and other development. Tallgrass in the Flint Hills escaped the plow only because the region’s shallow soil and rocky layers made farming less practicable there…

Bison act and eat differently than cattle do, though biologists say not all the differences are clear yet. Few studies compare these two bovine herbivores side by side.

Still, a few differences jump out. The bigger species not only eats more grass, it also spends less time along streams than cattle do and more time on hilltops…”

Cattle may not boost plant biodiversity on the prairie as much as bison do, but The Nature Conservancy thinks it’s possible to manage them in ways that support healthier grassland.

They are working with a Flint Hills cattle rancher near Strong City in Kansas, along with Kansas State scientists, to see how fitting a herd with GPS collars might help….

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Judy Anderson

Nature-based solutions funding database

You may want to share this resource with others as nature-based climate solution funding expands.

National Wildlife Federation has created an interactive database for communities interested in pursuing federal funding and/or technical assistance for nature-based solutions. You can use their filters to search for nature-based solutions funding and technical assistance resources that fit your needs. For additional information on search filters, see their Glossary page.

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© Marjo Aho from TNC

How nature can get us 37 percent of the way to the Paris Climate Target

This study by The Nature Conservancy and others is often cited as evidence that nature-based climate solutions could slow down climate change by as much as 37% worldwide.

“The last two years have seen significant global advancement on climate action, with hundreds of global businesses and national and sub-national leaders building on the momentum of the Paris Agreement to initiate new climate pledges, initiatives and funding programs. But there remains a gap between promised action and realized climate progress, and many solutions available to us now remain underutilized—especially in the land sector, which currently accounts for nearly a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions…”

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Coastal Wetland
Toni Greaves for The Pew Charitable Trusts

How can states set ‘blue carbon’ baselines to help meet their climate goals?

Watch Pew’s webinar: Federal resources for states to develop coastal wetland greenhouse gas inventories.

As awareness grows of the important contributions of “blue carbon” habitats—such as salt marsh, tidal forested wetlands, and seagrass beds—in sequestering carbon and reducing climate change impacts, states are beginning to incorporate these coastal ecosystems into their strategies for reducing emissions and enhancing carbon storage through improved management of natural and working lands.

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Low Water
Laura Brophy

States can use federal data to assess ‘blue carbon’ and combat climate change

The Pew webinar explored resources available to help quantify greenhouse gases captured by coastal habitats.

During a recent webinar hosted by The Pew Charitable Trusts, experts from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Silvestrum Climate Associates highlighted how new and expanded federal data resources can help states catalog and conserve “blue carbon”— carbon captured and stored in coastal wetlands…

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