Alcoa Foundation announced on Nov. 16 a $200,000, two-year grant that will enable the California Council of Land Trusts (CCLT) to implement a program that identifies and addresses the impacts of climate change on land and water conserved by California land trusts. The CCLT is a statewide association for more than 150 land trusts devoted to conserving special lands and waters throughout California.
"In many respects, land trusts will be at the forefront of dealing with climate change. This project will address the needs of land trusts and the local communities they serve by increasing land trusts' knowledge and understanding of California's response to climate change, how their conservation programs can provide climate benefits, and the possible changes needed in their stewardship and protection activities," said Darla Guenzler, executive director of CCLT. Land trusts are the current U.S. leaders in permanently protecting forests, grasslands and other natural resource lands which can make a significant, positive contribution to climate change due to the capacity of these lands to sequester carbon dioxide.
Aspects of the project include creating a planning model to assist land trusts in developing adaptations for their stewardship and conservation activities in light of possible climate change impacts, and improving communications to increase understanding within local communities about long-term stewardship needs and issues, and how climate change can be expected to bring about significant changes to important open space lands that the public currently enjoys.
"The California communities where Alcoa has a presence are already partnering with their area land trusts in activities such as restoration, trail building and outdoor education. This project will expand this community partnership by addressing the long-term stewardship needs arising from global climate change to assure that these areas continues to receive the benefits that protected lands provide in their communities," said Alcoa Foundation President Meg McDonald.