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Evaluating and Protecting Environmental Water Assets: A Guide for Land Conservation Practitioners

Evaluating and Protecting Environmental Water Assets

The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Sonoma Land Trust (SLT) and Alford Environmental are pleased to announce a new publication: Evaluating and Protecting Environmental Water Assets: A Guide for Land Conservation Practitioners. The handbook provides easy-to-understand guidance, resources and tools that California land trusts, open space districts, resource conservation districts and others can use to identify, evaluate and protect water resources. We all know that the health of the land and water are linked and land trusts are increasingly seeing opportunities to protect both land and water resources through land acquisition and through their own land management and restoration activities. Conservation organizations are well positioned to both apply traditional land protection strategies and to use new tools and strategies to further the critical role they play to enhance California’s watershed health and the survival of species, like salmon and trout, that depend on them.

If your organization is interested in water resources, water rights and water transactions, but feel it is beyond your expertise, then this guide is for you. The approach is clear and concise, and provides explanations and definitions that are easy to understand. It provides new ways to think of the relationship between water protection, land protection and functioning ecosystems. The guide includes:

  • a straightforward overview of water rights, 
  • the steps for conducting water resource and water rights due diligence on existing protected lands and for candidate conservation easement and fee acquisitions,
  • recommended actions to protect and maximize the conservation benefit of water rights, and 
  • recommendations for integrating environmental water asset evaluation and protection approaches into land and water protection operations.

Funding for the handbook was provided by TNC, the California Salmon and Steelhead Coalition, the S.D., Jr. Bechtel Foundation, Patagonia World Trout Initiative and Sonoma Land Trust.  For further information, contact Sara Press at sara@sonomalandtrust.org and Amy Campbell at acampbell@tnc.org.