ESF Achieves Land Trust Accreditation

In ESF, Press by Administrator

esf_logo_trans-cropMEDIA RELEASE

For immediate release: August 27, 2014
For more information:

Elkhorn Slough Foundation
(831) 728-5939

Mark Silberstein, Executive Director
marksilberstein@elkhornslough.org
or
Scott Nichols, Development & Communications Manager
scott@elkhornslough.org


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

proud.”

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.

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