Program areas at The Conservation Fund
Conservation real estate:conservation acquisition. Since its founding in 1985, The Fund has conserved more than eight million acres across all 50 states with A total appraised value of more than $7 billion, in over 3,400 separate transactions. Conservation acquisition is The Fund's primary business unit for implementing The Fund's strategy of buying land and interests in land for Conservation. This business unit acquires land and interests in land on behalf of government agencies at The federal, state and local levels. It also provides financial and technical assistance to government agencies and to other Conservation organizations to acquire Conservation properties on their own behalf. The Fund does not generally serve as The permanent Conservation steward of The properties it acquires. Instead, The Fund acquires properties deemed priorities by The Fund's partners, holds those properties for interim periods to allow The partners time to secure permanent funding for The acquisitions, and then sells The properties (in whole or in part) to The partners seeking assistance.the Fund uses its own capital for real property acquisitions as well as philanthropic donations, program-related investments, and government grants. The Fund's capital used for acquisitions largely consists of funds from its "revolving Fund," which is made up of charitable gifts, gifts of surplus corporate real estate that The Fund has sold for cash, and accumulated gain on and capital returned from past real estate transactions. Sources of funding for dispositions to partners include federal, state and local government funding programs and philanthropic funds from foundations and private individuals. Once A property has been transferred to The long-term holder and if The Fund is able to recoup its investment, capital is returned to The revolving Fund for use in other real estate transactions, thus "revolving" these funds.working forest Fund. The Fund believes The loss of working forests is The single greatest land Conservation challenge in The u.s. today and A critical aspect of The country's ability to mitigate climate change and support at-risk rural economies. As of december 31, 2019, The Fund has protected approximately 660,000 acres of critical forests in The u.s., securing 154 million metric tons on carbon dioxide equivalent (mtco2e).the working forest Fund business unit is committed to conserving The last of The large intact forests in The u.s. So they remain sustainably managed forests, providing good local jobs, as well as clean water, clean air, habitat for wildlife and outdoor recreation, and critical carbon sequestration capacity to help address climate change. Like The Fund's other real estate activities, The working forest Fund seeks to be an interim owner of these forest assets to facilitate permanent protection through The implementation and sale of Conservation easements and direct sales of The properties to public agencies. The working forest Fund's focus is on large, natural forests with The highest Conservation value and often The highest risk of fragmentation when sold on The open market.by 2060, The u.s. could lose up to 37 million acres of privately held forests to fragmentation or conversion to non-forest uses. To meet profit maximization mandates within 10- to 15-year Fund lifecycles, The investor owners of timber properties frequently over-harvest, break up large forest parcels, and convert forests to development. The working forest Fund seeks to disrupt this pathway of forest loss while preserving The productive value of these working assets and securing The multiple societal benefits working forests generate. The working forest Fund has developed A successful model to acquire, sustainably manage, and permanently protect high Conservation value timberland. As of december 31, 2019, $542.9 million in capital has been deployed in 38 projects to protect approximately 723,000 acres of u.s. timberland. The working forest Fund has fully exited 13 projects, achieving permanent protection of The properties and generating A positive return on The Fund's investment. The remaining projects are being sustainably managed by The Fund or its partners and are awaiting permanent protection through Conservation easements or transfers to public agencies or other Conservation partners.conservation loans. The Conservation loans business unit provides bridge financing and technical assistance to land trusts and other organizations to protect critical natural resources in their communities. Working closely with Conservation acquisition field staff, this business unit addresses an unmet need for bridge financing and provides The Fund with an alternative mechanism for The Fund to achieve Conservation outcomes through assistance to other organizations in lieu of implementing land transactions directly.as of december 31, 2019, Conservation loans have assisted with The Conservation of 158,000 acres through 385 loans in 40 states. The Fund's portfolio of loans made by this business unit had A principal value of $17.7 million as of december 31, 2019.mitigation solutions. In partnership with developers and regulatory agencies, The Fund completes Conservation acquisitions and other projects to offset The impacts on natural resources from construction and operation of energy and infrastructure projects and provides advice on mitigation strategies before and during infrastructure project development. The mitigation solutions business unit helps developers meet regulations and offset construction or operational impacts to sensitive resources. The Fund does not advocate on behalf of infrastructure projects but serves as A bridge between project developers and regulatory agencies to help develop and then implement mitigation plans. To cover core operating expenses, The Fund receives an administrative fee for The Fund's mitigation services. The Fund provides mitigation solutions for The often-unavoidable impacts of infrastructure projects on The following resources: endangered species; migratory birds; bald and golden eagles; aquatic resources; visual and cultural resources; and state and federal lands. Mitigation services have been provided for all seven sectors of major energy and infrastructure development: oil and gas (upstream and downstream), electric transmission, wind, solar, hydropower, and transportation.the Fund's mitigation activities provide private capital to enable its Conservation partners to achieve their priorities. This capital has largely been used as funding for The Fund's Conservation acquisition activity but also has been used on occasion for The Fund's working forest Fund activity. Since The Fund began providing mitigation services in 1998, nearly $250 million has been transferred to The Fund to use over varying time periods to acquire land and interests in land, to complete restoration and/or to take other actions to mitigate for impacts to resources; over half of this amount was spent as of december 31, 2019 on mitigation projects. Additionally, more than 285,000 acres have been protected in 30 states using mitigation funding.
Other Conservation services:conservation services. Conservation services comprises A group of programs dedicated to advancing The dual mission of The Fund by building networks of support for Conservation. These grant-funded and fee-for-service programs focus on impact areas such as sustainable food system implementation, access to land for disadvantaged populations, urban Conservation, rural economic development, water quality/supply protection and enhancement, aquaculture, and climate change adaptation. This business unit includes:conservation leadership network. The Conservation leadership network ("cln") is A team of experts that brings diverse constituencies together to achieve common ground to facilitate results such as revitalized downtowns, comprehensive transportation solutions, small business development, resolution of infrastructure challenges, more livable communities, and support for innovative markets for ensuring water quality. Cln delivers these results through multi-disciplinary course offerings, innovative demonstration projects, regional programs, and sustainability consulting that supports on-the-ground solutions.freshwater institute. The freshwater institute is A research and development facility dedicated to sustainable water use and reuse. This program combines applied research, engineering and economic development skills to show how freshwater resources achieve economic and environmental goals. It works with government, industry, nonprofits and individuals to shape sustainable, environmentally responsible solutions to water resource management, creating innovative solutions to sustainably produce salmon and other cold-water species. Resourceful communities. Resourceful communities involves work with grassroot organizations to create opportunities to preserve rural landscapes and strengthen local economies, primarily in north carolina. Examples include network building and managing grant programs that support eco-tourism, youth Conservation programs, farmers markets and cultural heritage preservation. Resourceful communities also provides A range of training and technical assistance to achieve community goals.strategic Conservation planning. Strategic Conservation planning brings strategic Conservation expertise to communities, government leaders, and industry across The country to achieve The multiple benefits from investing in clean air, clean water, habitat, climate resilience and adaptation, and community livability. Areas on which advice is provided include urban sustainability, food and farmland security, climate resiliency, water resources and strategic mitigation.