Wednesday, January 25, 2023

DCNR Blog: A Landscape Approach To Conservation, Creating Economic Opportunity; New Video Released

For almost 20 years, Pennsylvania has been using an innovative approach to working with partners on conservation, sustainability, and recreation.

Known as the Pennsylvania Conservation Landscape Program, the effort to work in large regions toward goals of vibrant communities, protected natural assets, and quality of life is recognized nationally as a successful model of collaboration.

A recent video highlights how the Conservation Landscapes are framing their work around not only the biodiversity and ecological values of natural resources; but also around how people connect and rely on them for outdoor recreation, water quality, tourism, and sustainable economies.

Eight Unique Conservation Landscape Regions

Each of the landscapes, while built on the same foundational principles, has been encouraged to develop programs that meet the priorities of the local communities and the regional conditions. 

The eight regions are--

-- Pennsylvania Wilds -- A 13-county region in northcentral and northwestern Pennsylvania including Cameron, Centre (northern), Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, Lycoming, McKean, Potter, Tioga, and Warren counties

-- Poconos Forests and Waters -- Pike, Monroe, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Wayne, and Carbon counties

-- Lehigh Valley Greenways -- Lehigh and Northampton counties

-- Schuylkill Highlands -- Berks, Bucks, Chester, Lebanon, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Montgomery counties

-- Susquehanna Riverlands -- Lancaster and York counties

-- South Mountain -- Southcentral Pennsylvania including Adams, Cumberland, Franklin, and York counties

-- Laurel Highlands -- Southwestern Pennsylvania defined by three Allegheny Plateau ridges and including Somerset, Westmoreland, Fayette, and portions of Cambria and Bedford counties

-- Kittatinny Ridge -- Encompassing the Kittatinny Ridge in Pennsylvania extending 185 miles, marking the entrance into the Ridge and Valley region

All the Conservation Landscapes use the principles of locally driven planning, natural resource conservation, community renewal, and civic engagement.

Models of Successful Collaboration

Just before the pandemic, DCNR had an independent evaluation of the program conducted to outline the successes of the program and suggest ways to make it even better.

One of the recommendations in Pennsylvania Conservation Landscapes -- Models for Successful Collaboration (PDF) is to measure and communicate outcomes to show the value and impact of a landscape approach.

A work group that engaged Conservation Landscape stakeholders has identified four overarching goals that all of the regional partnerships are working to achieve; and has begun to compile information around two or three metrics for each goal.

The goals are--

-- Conservation and stewardship

-- Outreach and engagement

-- Outdoor recreation

-- Economic benefits or impact

Collecting metric information looking backwards has presented some challenges, but progress is being made on outlining data to be collected moving forward. Some highlights that are emerging include--

-- Across the eight regions, there are more than 2,000 partners engaged and connected to the landscape approach

-- Almost 320,000 acres of land have been conserved collectively by partners in the program

-- Close to $4.25 million in mini-grant funding has helped support small projects, engaged more partners, and completed local priority projects

-- The program has attracted more than $180 million dollars in non-DCNR grant funding from many sources

The Conservation Landscape program has created a number of best practices and a culture of trust that is a model for the landscape scale initiatives across the country.

It will help Pennsylvania tackle some of its most challenging and complex problems, including climate change and its impacts on people, communities, wildlife, and health.

Click Here to watch a video about the Conservation Landscape Program.

[Visit DCNR’s Conservation Landscape Program webpage for more information.

[Visit Explore PA Trails and Get Outdoors PA for recreation areas near you.

  [For more information on state parks and forests and recreation in Pennsylvania, visit DCNR’s website, Visit the Good Natured DCNR Blog,  Click Here for upcoming events, Click Here to hook up with DCNR on other social media-- Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.]

(Reprinted from DCNR’s Good Natured Blog.)

Resource Link:

-- Living Landscape Observer - Nature, Culture And Community

-- Spotlight PA-Stephen Caruso: Gov. Shapiro on banning new leases for oil & gas drilling in state parks/forests: "At this time, we have no plans to change that."

-- Spotlight PA: How Communities In Northcentral PA Are Attempting To Preserve A Scarce Resource - Darkness [Includes Natural Gas Flaring]

-- Republican Herald: Schuylkill River Greenways Assn. Receives DCNR Grant Toward Schuylkill River Trail Work

-- NextPittsburgh: Embrace Winter On The Allegheny Front At Black Moshannon State Park, Clearfield County

-- Erie Times: It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Eagle Nesting Season On Presque Isle State Park

-- Philly Voice: Greening Vacant Lots In Philly Raised Surrounding Property Values By 4.3% In First Year, Wharton Business School Study Finds

-- Delaware Highlands Conservancy Hosts March 9 Online Program About Protecting Your Land With A Conservation Easement.  5:15 to 6:15 p.m.

-- Vista.Today: 2 West Chester Residents Win PA Parks & Forests Photo Contest

Related Articles:

-- DCNR: Susquehanna River North Branch Named 2023 Pennsylvania River Of The Year  [PaEN]

-- PA Wilds Center, Leave No Trace Partner On Promoting Sustainable Tourism Practices In The Pennsylvania Wilds Region; Feb. 1 Webinar Set  [PaEN]

-- Brandywine Conservancy Ends Year Celebrating New Conservation Milestones, Including  70,000 Acres Permanently Preserved  [PaEN]

-- Natural Lands: New Garden Golf Course To Become Public Park In Chester County [PaEN]

[Posted: January 25, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

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