For immediate release: August 27, 2014
For more information:
Elkhorn Slough Foundation
Mark Silberstein, Executive Director
Scott Nichols, Development & Communications Manager
Elkhorn Slough Foundation Earns National Recognition
Accreditation Awarded by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission
The Elkhorn Slough Foundation has achieved land trust accreditation from the Land Trust Accreditation
Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance.
“Elkhorn Slough Foundation’s accredited status demonstrates our commitment to permanent land
conservation that benefits the entire community,” says Mark Silberstein, Executive Director. “Our
community deserves no less. The conservation of a national treasure like Elkhorn Slough is a collective
effort and we are grateful for the continuing support and encouragement from our neighbors and partners.”
The Elkhorn Slough Foundation (ESF) is a community non-profit organization devoted to the
conservation of Monterey County’s most important coastal wetland. Elkhorn Slough is a natural resource
of national significance, and for more than 30 years ESF has promoted community involvement in the
slough through award-winning education, volunteer, and research programs. Surrounded by working
farms and undeveloped ridges and hills, this coastal estuary features a diversity of wildlife and land uses.
In 1997, the Foundation’s Board of Directors made the strategic decision to acquire, protect, and manage
land, becoming a land trust and adopting the mission to conserve and restore Elkhorn Slough and its
watershed. Today, the Elkhorn Slough Foundation is the owner of the largest acreage of conservation
lands in the slough with close to 4,000 acres under management.
Elkhorn Slough Foundation was awarded accreditation this August and is one of only 280 land trusts from
across the country that has been awarded accreditation since Fall 2008. Accredited land trusts are
authorized to display a seal indicating to the public that they meet national standards for excellence,
uphold the public trust and ensure that conservation efforts are permanent. The seal is a mark of
distinction in land conservation.
“This round of accreditation decisions represents another significant milestone for the accreditation
program; the 280 accredited land trusts account for over half of the 20,645,165 acres currently owned in
fee or protected by a conservation easement held by a land trust,” said Commission Executive Director
Tammara Van Ryn. “Accreditation provides the public with an assurance that, at the time of accreditation,
land trusts meet high standards for quality and that the results of their conservation work are permanent.”
Each accredited land trust submitted extensive documentation and underwent a rigorous review. “Through
accreditation land trusts conduct important planning and make their operations more efficient and
strategic,” said Van Ryn. “Accredited organizations have engaged and trained citizen conservation leaders
and improved systems for ensuring that their conservation work is permanent.”
According to the Land Trust Alliance, conserving land helps ensure clean air and drinking water; safe,
healthy food; scenic landscapes and views; recreational places; and habitat for the diversity of life on
earth. In addition to health and food benefits, conserving land increases property values near greenbelts,
saves tax dollars by encouraging more efficient development, and reduces the need for expensive water
filtration facilities. Across the country, local citizens and communities have come together to form more
than 1,700 land trusts to save the places they love. Community leaders in land trusts throughout the
country have worked with willing landowners to save over 47 million acres of farms, forests, parks and
places people care about, including land transferred to public agencies and protected via other means.
Strong, well-managed land trusts provide local communities with effective champions and caretakers of
their critical land resources, and safeguard the land through the generations.
“Going through the Accreditation process is like mountain climbing,” states Silberstein, who in 2013 was
named “Wetlands Leader of the Year” by the Environmental Law Institute. “It is a hard climb till you get
to the top, but standing on the peak is the payoff. Being among the Land Trusts across America that meet
the highest standards of ethical and effective operation is an accomplishment for which we all can be
About the Elkhorn Slough and Foundation
Elkhorn Slough, located in the central Monterey Bay area, is the largest tract of tidal salt marsh in
California outside of San Francisco Bay, and encompasses a wide variety of habitats — from oak
woodlands, maritime chaparral and coastal prairie to rare and threatened wetlands — that support
incredible diversity of life. Elkhorn Slough hosts 550 species of marine invertebrates, and 102 species of
fish, as well as resident sea lions, harbor seals and the densest concentration of endangered Southern sea
otters on the west coast. As part of the Pacific flyway, Elkhorn Slough bird numbers can soar during
migration seasons, nearly doubling the resident bird counts. The slough is designated a Globally Important
Bird area, with over 340 species identified in and around the slough.
As a land trust working to protect Elkhorn Slough and its watershed, the Elkhorn Slough Foundation has
conserved and restored native wetland and upland habitats, created buffer zones between farmlands and
wetlands that capture nutrient runoff before it reaches the slough and protected hundreds of acres of
productive farm and ranch lands. More information can be found at www.elkhornslough.org.
About the Land Trust Accreditation Commission
The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, based in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., awards the accreditation seal
to community institutions that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and
working lands forever. The Commission, established in 2006 as an independent program of the Land Trust
Alliance, is governed by a volunteer board of diverse land conservation and nonprofit management experts
from around the country. See a complete list of all six recently accredited land trusts online at
http://www.landtrustaccreditation.org/newsroom/press-releases. More information on the accreditation
program is available on the Commission’s website, www.landtrustaccreditation.org.
About The Land Trust Alliance
The Land Trust Alliance, of which Elkhorn Slough Foundation is a member, is a national conservation
group that works to save the places people love by strengthening conservation throughout America. It
works to increase the pace and quality of conservation by advocating favorable tax policies, training land
trusts in best practices and working to ensure the permanence of conservation in the face of continuing
threats. The Alliance publishes Land Trust Standards and Practices and provides financial and
administrative support to the Commission. It has established an endowment to help ensure the success of
the accreditation program and keep it affordable for land trusts of all sizes to participate in accreditation.
More information can be found at www.landtrustalliance.org.