Following a rigorous evaluation, Sequoia Riverlands Trust (SRT) has been awarded accreditation from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission.
SRT is among just 11 such land trusts nationally to receive this recognition in the current round, and nationally among just over 200 total LTA accredited land trusts.
“Sequoia Riverlands Trust has earned the public trust in our area over many years. But it is especially gratifying to earn Land Trust Alliance accreditation because it underscores that our many supporters’ longstanding trust is well-placed,” said Soapy Mulholland, executive director of SRT.
Each accredited land trust must submit extensive documentation and undergo an exhaustive review. “Through accreditation, land trusts conduct important planning and make their operations more efficient and strategic,” said Tammara Van Ryn, Executive Director of the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, which operates under the auspices of the Land Trust Alliance, based in Saratoga Springs, New York.
Adam Livingston, Berkeley-based SRT Director of Planning, echoes her thoughts. “Applying for accreditation involved a thorough review of SRT’s policies and practices in nearly every area of our operations. Going through such a rigorous process strengthened SRT in a number of ways, and being accredited inspires us to continue improving our work in the future.” Livingston also said that SRT’s accreditation tells landowners, policymakers and the public that the organization meets a nationwide standard of excellence — the LTA Standards and Practices — in areas ranging from governance and recordkeeping to land protection and stewardship.
Hilary Dustin, Conservation Director of the Visalia-based SRT said that “SRT’s conservation work requires expertise in everything from real estate law to restoration ecology; from grant management to measures of livestock forage utilization,” she said. “LTA accreditation provides an objective measure of SRT’s adherence to technical standards and best management practices for all of this varied work.”
SRT is now authorized to display the LTA accreditation seal, indicating to the public that it meets the highest national standards for excellence, upholds the public trust, and ensures that its conservation efforts are permanent. “The seal is a high mark of distinction in the land conservation field,” said Aaron Collins, SRT Director of Communications and Community Relations. “Earning this accreditation reflects SRT’s ongoing dedication to the very best conservation practices and organizational effectiveness.” Collins added that conserving land helps maintain clean air and drinking water, improves food security, preserves scenic landscapes and views, offers recreational places, and enhances habitat for the diversity of life on earth.
“Across the country, communities have joined in forming land trusts to save the places they love. Land trusts have worked with willing landowners to save over 47 million acres of farms, forests, and other natural places people care about. Strong, well-managed land trusts unite effective champions and local caretakers of critical land resources, and safeguard these resources for future generations,” Collins said.
Sequoia Riverlands Trust (SRT) is a regional, nonprofit land trust dedicated to conserving California’s heartland and the natural and agricultural legacy of the southern Sierra Nevada and San Joaquin Valley. The wealth, productivity and beauty of this land inspire our work to conserve it for the prosperity and enjoyment of future generations.
Our mission is to protect working landscapes, wildlife habitat and scenic open spaces, while ensuring that economic growth in our communities remains vibrant and sustainable.
To accomplish this, SRT engages landowners, farmers, conservationists, business partners, and governmental agencies in the counties of Tulare, Fresno, Kern and Kings to collaborate on land conservation throughout California’s South Central Valley heartland.
To date, Sequoia Riverlands Trust has protected more than 13,000 acres. SRT owns and manages six nature preserves that protect 4,000 acres of remnant landscapes, woodland communities and wildlife habitat. SRT holds conservation easements on 23 properties totaling more than 4,235 acres of protected land, most of them on working farms and ranches. SRT has also collaborated with agencies, other non-profit conservation organizations and landowners to protect 3,811 additional acres.
The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, awards the accreditation seal to community institutions that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever. The Commission is governed by a volunteer board of diverse land conservation and nonprofit management experts from around the country. More information is available on the Commission’s website, www.landtrustaccreditation.org.
The Land Trust Alliance 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.