Topic: Land Conservation

Northwest Mexico Land Conservation

Since 2008, under this program RLF implements a coordinated, adaptive framework to concentrate conservation investments in coastal priority areas on the Baja California Peninsula, systematically preserve the landscape integrity of the region, and prevent further fragmentation of coastal and marine habitats. RLF undertakes a multi-faceted approach to its work in Northwest Mexico, including land protection, capacity building, policy, and communications activities. RLF also coordinates with other grant makers and grantee networks to create synergies that multiply the impact of individual projects.

Wildlands Acquisition Program

The Wildlands Acquisition Program seeks to promote the permanent protection of California’s wildlands through preservation of desert park and wilderness areas. The program funds inholding acquisitions in priority wilderness areas and national parks and monuments to consolidate public land holdings for natural resource protection in the California desert, Carrizo Plain National Monument, and Eastern Sierra Nevada.

In addition to supporting the conservation of tens of thousands of inholdings, RLF helps build capacity among organizations seeking public funding for desert land protection.

San Francisco Bay Area Conservation

RLF has been working in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2001, when it commenced efforts to secure the acquisition of commercial salt ponds surrounding the San Francisco Bay. Current efforts support wetlands restoration around the Bay, with a focus on building a diverse constituency to support equitable, long-term funding and government policies for Bay restoration and flood improvements, including the effective implementation of Measure AA.  

RLF also supports a regional land conservation approach in the Bay Area that boosts ecosystem resilience for conservation and communities. RLF focuses on multi-benefit conservation efforts that protect and restore high-value habitat and wildlife linkages, provide recreation opportunities, and address natural threats such as climate change, flood, drought, and fire.  

Oregon Conservation Program

Launched in 2015, the Oregon Conservation Program supports development of effective conservation projects and policy, including long-term funding for land and water conservation. The program employs public education campaigns to build awareness and support for dedicated public funding streams and policies that advance Oregon’s conservation practices, including working lands and forest conservation. RLF engages diverse voices, including Oregon Tribes, in water conservation policy and funding discussions.

Governor Announces Ambitious Biodiversity Targets for California

Today, Governor Newsom signed an executive order to protect 30 percent of California’s land and ocean by 2030 (30x30). This announcement makes California the first state in the United States to commit to the global 30x30 effort targeted by the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. The executive order also directs California to elevate the role of natural and working lands conservation in its efforts to combat climate change. “Resources Legacy Fund congratulates Governor Newsom for taking this bold and necessary step to stem the dual threats of biodiversity loss and climate change. With this announcement, the governor demonstrates that…

River confluence Grand Canyon

Strong and Resilient: Supporting Western Conservation Communications

In early March, seemingly a lifetime ago, Alastair Lee Bitsói and I were excitedly preparing for Utah Diné Bikéyah to host the Advisory Board meeting of the Western Communications Hub (the Hub)* in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Hub, which supports non-profit organizations in advancing high-priority communications efforts, received 44 compelling project proposals and the board was tasked with selecting just six to fund. This work is perhaps more important now than ever as in-person communications have screeched to a halt, making digital communication vital to the ongoing work of so many organizations. I have the honor of managing the…

Economic Transitions in Energy-Focused Communities

The economies of the Intermountain West, especially energy-focused economies, have experienced tumultuous change in recent decades as a result of globalization, new technologies, regulatory changes, shifting consumer preferences, and competition from renewable energy. This report, funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, defines the primary challenges facing these communities and explores promising ideas on industry diversification and how to drive a healthy economic transition.


Montana Parks in Focus Recommendations

Montanans cherish their outdoor heritage, including 55 state parks that get two million visits a year. In 2018, RLF worked with Montana Governor Steve Bullock to address the stagnant funding, lack of public awareness, and deferred maintenance plaguing Montana State Parks. The Governor created a Parks in Focus Commission. RLF staffed its year-long effort to solicit public input and craft recommendations to ensure the necessary resources, capacity, and expertise to build and support the parks system Montanans deserve. Read the Commission’s final recommendations, published in December 2018.


Preserving Wild California

Preserving Wild California was a five-year, $150 million program designed to ensure permanent protection of wild lands through systematic acquisition and the fostering of supportive policies, organizations, and constituencies. Efforts significantly supported by the program led to federal wilderness designation of more than one million acres of California wild lands.

Dr. Steven Yaffee of the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan conducted a comprehensive assessment of the program, which can be viewed here.

A final report on the program, Preserving Wild California: A Legacy of Enduring Conservation, can be found here.