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Easements to The Wildlands Project
June 15, 2004
By Julie Kay Smithson
Simply visit the Conservation Easements button at my website http://www.propertyrightsresearch.org/coneaefrms.htm for a comprehensive amount of information.
There are seventeen articles there, for this year alone; click on the 2002-2003 archives (located just below the title at the above URL/website address) and get 58 more, for a total of 75 articles that will give the group a vast resource with which to counter all that's 'out there' trying to sell the "conservation easement" concept to landowners.
The hook that entices private landowners to fall for conservation easements is thickly and tastily baited and pitched by land trusts and other "conservation" and/or "environmental" groups who "fish" for some of your property rights.
"The Landowner's Guide To Conservation Easements" is a 2000 publication of the American Farm Bureau Federation, and frankly, falls far short of adequately warning the landowner of the hook within the bait.
USDA's Economic Research Service has a 68-page downloadable document entitled "Partial Interests in Land: Policy Tools for Resource Use and Conservation," [authored by Keith Wiebe, Abebayehu Tegene, and Betsey Kuhn] which explains how government is using conservation easements as an alternative to regulation or outright purchase to protect riparian areas and other areas. http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/AER744/
Front Matter, 18kb http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/AER744/aer744fm.pdf, Introduction, 9kb http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/AER744/aer744a.pdf, Partial Interests in Land, 30kb http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/AER744/aer744b.pdf,
Partial Interests in Three Policy Settings, 526kb http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/AER744/aer744c.pdf, Markets for Partial Interests in Land, 43kb http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/AER744/aer744d.pdf, Valuation of Partial Interests in Land, 51kb http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/AER744/aer744e.pdf,
Lessons for Resource Use and Conservation Policy, 11kb http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/AER744/aer744f.pdf, References, 28kb http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/AER744/aer744rf.pdf, Appendix, 12 kb http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/AER744/aer744ap.pdf, Index, 24kb http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/AER744/aer744in.pdf. Order this report (stock #ERSAER744) http://www.ers.usda.gov/AboutERS/Sales/index.asp?pdt=2&pid=1063. USDA Order Desk at 1-800-999-6779 from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. ET Monday-Friday, except Federal holidays. Main website: http://www.ers.usda.gov/ (a search at this USDA Economic Research Service site for "conservation easements" garners 1,571 results...) Source: http://www.mass.gov/dfwele/river/pdf/rivsp99nl.pdf
Please bear with me and give this next lengthy paragraph a thoughtful read, because -- while it may not focus on the part of America where you live -- it is what is planned to happen, and how it is to happen, nationwide.
"A Proposal for Wilderness-Based Ecosystem Protection" - Bader (1991, 1990) describes a wilderness-based reserve network for the U.S. Northern Rockies. This system has been introduced in legislative form as The Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act, H.R. 488 ... This network makes use of four essential elements of reserve design identified by Noss (1992). These are cores, buffers, corridors and restoration. This proposed network, with its 74,415 km of new wilderness designations, would help provide for connectivity through designated linkage corridors, where road densities would be reduced [read on -- this will be explained]. Over 2,896 km (1,800 miles) of wild and scenic river designations would maintain connectivity for bull trout and other migratory fish species [no mention of "threatened" or "endangered" status whatsoever]. One new national park and preserve area is proposed, and another would be studied for suitability. Another provision is a pilot system of wilderness recovery areas (WRAs) totalling 4,030 km (1,556 mi.), where the process of restoring wilderness habitat, vegetation and low road-density conditions via road closures and obliteration would begin. The designations are designed to work in concert to achieve ecosystem protection and total 95,705 km (36,953 mi.); when added to existing wilderness and national park areas these would total 140,000 km (54,054 mi.), approximately equal to the minimum area requirements [MARs] for grizzly bears. However, federal legislation cannot provide comprehensive protection for all grizzly bear habitat, and many migratory corridors pass through nonfederal lands where wilderness designation is not an option. But this network would protect the core grizzly bear habitat area and virtually all bull trout strongholds, and key habitat areas would be recovered. The appropriate scale for capturing broader scale environmental phenomena may be 10-15 and as much as 50-100 times [larger than] the largest disturbance patch (Shugart and West 1981). Wildfires burned 10,460 km (4,039 mi.), in the northern Rockies in 1988 (National Interagency Fire Center 1999)[here's the 'fire' piece of the puzzle]. Therefore, the total minimum dynamic area [MDA] (Pickett and Thompson 1978) could be 104,606-156,909 km (40,390-60,585 mi.) and potentially > 5 x 10 km. The proposed network falls within the range of the lower figures. Since the northern Rockies are home to other wide-ranging species, including carnivores such as wolves (Canis lupus) that may have minimum area requirements up to 38,849 km (15,000 mi.) exclusive of corridors (Bader 1991), these figures indicate that large landscapes are required to effect ecosystem protection in the U.S. northern Rockies. This strategy is designed to work in concert with other efforts, including fish passage proposals, litigation, species listings, conservation easements on private lands and methods to facilitate wildlife movements across major highway and rail corridors, to name a few. Economic studies by Garrity (1997) and Power (1992) concluded this network can be implemented at a net savings to taxpayers, and with minimal impact on timber industry employment [which they intend to be zero shortly, so of course there'd be a "minimal impact" on a dead industry]. Source (Page 9 from the 12-page document titled, "Wilderness-Based Ecosystem Protection in the Northern Rocky Mountains of the United States, by Mike Bader. Each of the twelve pages is marked at the bottom: "USDA Forest Service Proceedings RMRS-P-15-VOL-2. 2000 http://www.wilderness.net/library/documents/Bader_2-13.pdf
A quick search at Amazon.com for books with the words "Conservation Easements" in their title and/or description garnered 1,111 results, so you can readily see that CEs are a for-profit, land control enterprise skillfully couched in language deception. CE salesmen go beyond the offerings of $$$ to landowners to "protect" their land -- while robbing them of their ability to develop that land (even to the point of the landowners' children/grandchildren losing their chance to build homes on the land decades later) -- many "easements" are perpetual, i.e., forever.
Please note that this 'land trust' uses conservation easements expressly for wilderness, i.e., Wildlands:
New Wilderness Land Trust Founded: "The vast majority of land in the northeastern United States is in private or corporate ownership. With public lands relatively scarce, the best opportunities for protecting wilderness are often on private lands through private means. A new land trust -- the Northeast Wilderness Trust -- has been formed to help advance such opportunities, and is the only regional land trust focused exclusively on restoring and protecting wilderness areas. A member-supported nonprofit, the Northeast Wilderness Trust can hold title or “forever wild” conservation easements on land in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Wildlands Project Director of Education Tom Butler serves on the founding board of directors, along with conservationists from around the region. For information, contact email@example.com or visit www.newildernesstrust.org". Source (which is a part of The Wildlands Project): http://www.twp.org/inside_wp/news.html
My website also has an extensive Wildlands Project button: http://www.propertyrightsresearch.org/wildlndsprjctfrms.htm
I would be remiss if I withheld the fact that there are also 863 books currently available at Amazon.com that contain in their title and/or description the phrase "Wildlands Project."
Here's just one: Repairing Damaged Wildlands: A Process-Oriented, Landscape-Scale Approach, by Steven G. Whisenant, S. Whisenant.
The phrase "Landscape-Scale Approach" is your clue that the intent is to take control of all land and water and all resources. I hope this does not sound "conspiracy theory" related, because this is no theory; it is a full-fledged agenda.
So far today, I've heard from a rancher on the TX-Mexico border who has just learned what's planned for her ranch:
'"It's heeerrrre! Heard from our farmers yesterday. They received a notice from the IBWC (International Boundary & Water Commission) and the USACE (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) that these agencies are planning an easement along the river border. Various agreements within the Final Biological Opinion, available at http://www.ibwc.state.gov/EMD/LRGFCP/FinalBO_6_03.pdf, show the IBWC, along with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) has had these plans in place since 1996. In the signed agreement between these two entities, in exchange for letting the IBWC do its mowing operations to keep the Rio Grande River flowing and posing a lesser threat at flood times, USFWS has agreed that it will acquire 75 feet inland from water's edge for a cleared and mowed area -- and an additional 33' area to be vegetated and used for the wildlife corridor -- all called a “conservation easement”. All landowners are expected to comply with this agreement that they made with each other -- and to give up a 108-foot wide corridor that is on their land that borders the Rio Grande River. That's a mighty lot of land! There will be a public hearing at the end of the month. Though the targeted area is for the whole county, only two farmers are involved -- the rest of the land is already in the hands of environmentalists. In the notice letter, which only one farmer has received, no information was given other than notice of the meeting, the existence of the 2003 Biological Opinion, and that, should anyone have questions, they can call the real estate division of the IBWC. In other words, they expect complete compliance to a deal that is already done, the ink dry, the agenda in place. This is only the first step in plans that have already been formalized for land grabs in our area. To know that your 'neighbors' covet your land and possessions, and that they make quiet plans to take them from you, is awfully hard to live with on a daily basis, especially when one of those neighbors comes to your house and tells you how much he likes it and that he would like to live here. I told him that I like it, too, that I love living here and don't ever want to sell or move out. He just smiled. People can be so cruel. Heard from another gal today who has family elsewhere in the state. She said "they" are
taking land right and left up there and the residents have given up and given in, for they feel there is no way to fight these so-called ‘justified’ land grabs touted as being "for the good of the people and for future generations." I've given her your site before; I gave it to her again today. I think, this time, she'll look it up." Come, Lord Jesus, come!'"
-- and a Missouri resident (with an adult disabled daughter; this great mom fears that, in the case of a 'prescribed burn' gone awry, she might not be able to get her daughter out) who's just learned what's in store for a multi state area that includes her home and land:
"ALL: KINDLY READ BETWEEN THE LINES HERE ... we in the Ozarks are now officially in deep bandini ... please pray for us. I will do what I can to keep us in the public eye, whatever good that does ... the propaganda has now begun... Forest Service/Others to "Protect" Ozarks
All this, and over a dozen other states. Gang Greed has come out of the closet, and the coveted prize is our land, water and freedom.
All these threads are intricately interwoven. They are the fabric of a massive change being wrought in America (and the world) if we do not see and protect our rights ASAP! If I had the money, I could hire a full-time staff of fifty people -- and keep each of them busy -- on the property rights issues that I field, on my own, each and every day. It is a noxious weed with deep, deep roots that must be dug out.
Connecting the two phrases together is part of the Red Flags that fly whenever I read or hear about "conservation easements", "restrictive covenants" and the like. Please see the short list of 6 books here and consider the implications:
All 6 results for "Conservation Easements" "Wildlands Project" :
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Excerpt from page 50 "... the projector to the Sierra Club, EarthJustice Legal Defense, American Wildlands, Yellowstone to Yukon, and other conservation groups. In October of 1998, ... landowners, the use of conservation easements and other incentives, and ... options. The results of this project are guiding conservationists and land managers where to focus their ..."
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Excerpt from page 83 "... the "received wilderness idea, "and they are exactly what the Wildlands Project is about today: Ecosystem representation. Cores. Corridors. Carnivores. Aldo Leopold ..."
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Excerpt from page 167 "... respected philanthropic organization, chose Noss as a Pew Scholar in Conservation and Environment, and granted him ... Sunshine State [Florida] exemplifies how the Wildlands Project might work nationwide. Noss's map ... agencies or secured through conservation easements and management agreements. Where corridors cut across roads, the roads ..."
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page 125 "... protect land is to buy
it." He [Ted Turner] has a strong
conservation ethic and has been working with
The Nature Conservancy; there is a
conservation easement on the Flying D,
protecting it from future development.) The ..."
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Excerpt from page 199:
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Excerpt from Index "..., 361 Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority, 281 consciousness raising, 564 conservation easements, 144 conservation measures, 283-96, coercive, 304-8, for energy, 199, 202, ..."
Additional excerpts from some of the organizations listed about in the quotes:
American Wildlands (AWL): "Pure WCT [Western Cutthroat Trout] are extinct throughout most of their historic range, and existing populations are in imminent danger from land-use activities and hybridization with introduced rainbow and Yellowstone cutthroat trout. Even the strongest populations in Glacier National Park and the Flathead Basin of Montana are in serious decline. Reasons for the critical condition of the WCT include habitat destruction from logging, road building, grazing, mining, urban development, agriculture and dams, introduction of artificial hatchery strains, competition and hybridization from introduced non-native fish species, and over-fishing." Source: http://www.wildlands.org/water/wct/wct.html [Think about Gayle Norton's Four Cs* [see below] when you read the following, please] Cooperation With Others: A key component of the [American Wildlands] Lifescapes strategy is coordination and cooperation with other conservation groups, government agencies and scientists, private citizens, and local resident's groups. American Wildlands maintains contact, communication, and cooperative arrangements with a diverse group of other organizations and individuals. In the past year we have met with, collaborated, or worked on mutual problem-solving with: The Ecology Center, The Montana Gap Analysis Project, The Wyoming Gap Analysis Project, The Idaho Gap Analysis Project, The Wildlands Project, The Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project, The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks; The Idaho Department of Game and Fish, The Wyoming Department of Fish and Game, The University of Montana, Montana State University, The Greater Yellowstone Coalition, The Alliance For The Wild Rockies, The Yukon-to-Yellowstone Initiative, The World Wildlife Fund, The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, The Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Committee, The Crown of the Continent Electronic Data Atlas, Parks Canada, The Canadian Wildlife Service, The Wilderness Society, The Idaho Conservation League, The Northern Rockies Conservation Coop, The Craighead Environmental Research Institute, The Craighead Wildlife-Wildlands Institute, The Predator Project, The Great Bear Foundation, Pacific Rivers. Source: http://www.wildlands.org/wildside/issue1/i01lifesoft.html
Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority (CRRA): Russell Brenneman (Chair) is an environmental lawyer who has been involved in land conservation and environmental issues in Connecticut for more than thirty years. He helped organize several of the earliest community land trusts, drafted the legislation enabling conservation easements in this state and chaired the Connecticut Greenways Committee that was the precursor of the Greenways Committee. He serves on the boards of the Connecticut Forest and Park Association and the Environment and Human Health, Inc. He is a former member of the Conservation Law Foundation of New England and the International Council on Environmental Law. Mr. Brenneman is also the co-Chair of the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters. A graduate of Harvard Law School, he is counsel to the Hartford and New Haven law firm, Murtha Cullina, where he founded its environmental practice group. He was one of the organizers of what is now the Environmental Law Section of the Connecticut Bar Association. In prior years he has served as president of the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority and as chair of the Connecticut Energy Advisory Board. He is a member of the adjunct faculty of Trinity College, Hartford, and for a number of years taught environmental law at the University of Connecticut School of Law. Source: CTLCV (Connecticut League of Conservation Voters) Source: http://www.conservationeducation.org/contact_us.htm See also: SB540, an Act Concerning Consultants Hired By The Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority. Source: http://www.cga.state.ct.us/2004/ba/2004SB-00540-R000342-BA.htm
EarthJustice Legal Defense: "Because the earth needs a good lawyer" Health and Communities Docket: Most Earthjustice cases have several plaintiffs, sometimes more than twenty. The plaintiffs listed here are singled out to give an impression of the breadth and diversity of the organizations Earthjustice represents. Source: http://www.earthjustice.org/program/health_and_communities/index.html?ID=&show=Docket
Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative: This is a 7-page Forest Service Draft Report, but just this is enough to prove the agenda (NOT a conspiracy "theory"!). Please not that the list provided is clearly stated as being a partial list, and look who's in the number 5 slot on a list that is not alphabetically arranged -- oh, and while you're perusing this list, see how many organizations you recognize (some of them are federal agencies that your taxpayer dollars fund). Organizations Interested or Involved in Wildlife Linkage Habitat: One of the first observations to come from the Boise and Dillon meetings was that many organizations were already working on proposals for key wildlife habitat acquisition, conservation easements, defining wildlife linkage habitat, working with private landowners to maintain important wildlife habitat (including linkages), meeting with each other and other important work related to this effort. The partial list of these organizations includes: 1. American Wildlands. 2. Kendall Foundation. 3. Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. 4. Turner Endangered Species Fund. 5. Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative. 6. Geo Data. 7. Craighead Environmental Research Institute. 8. Greater Yellowstone Coalition. 9. Sierra Club Grizzly Bear Ecology Project. 10. National Wildlife Federation. 11. Defenders of Wildlife. 12. Trust for Public Lands. 13. Nature Conservancy. 14. Alliance of the Rockies. 15. Northwest Connections. 16. Great Bear Foundation. 17. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. 18. Idaho Department of Fish and Game. 19. Montana DOT. 20. Idaho Department of Transportation. 21. University of Montana: Spatial Analysis Lab. 22. Federal Highways Administration. 23. USDI Fish and Wildlife Service. 24. USDA Forest Service. 25. USDI Bureau of Land Management. http://www.fs.fed.us/r1/wildlife/igbc/Linkage/LinkageReport.htm
Sierra Club: The [Sierra Club's "Sprawl Hurts Us All"] report defines true smart growth as the solution to our growing pains by directing growth into traditional patterns that concentrate homes and jobs in pedestrian-friendly town centres surrounded by green belts. But in order to develop in areas with existing infrastructure and preserve farms and natural areas, the report calls on politicians to: 1. Stop building new highways in Ontario [Canada]. 2. Freeze new greenfield development projects until the Ontario government passes appropriate smart growth legislation. 3. Protect threatened farmland and green space by establishing urban growth boundaries and promoting conservation easements and purchase of development rights. 4. Freeze water supply projects that would trigger massive suburban sprawl. 5. Require an analysis of the financial, health and environmental costs of proposed developments before permits are issued. 6. Create a 1 million acre greenbelt around the Golden Horseshoe. 6. Abolish the Ontario Municipal Board and replace it with a new appeals board [appointed, not elected]. Source: http://www.sierraclub.org/rcc/midwest/sprawl.asp
The Ecology Center: [One of the Data Layers for the Yellowstone 2 Yukon Land Trust Collaborative Maps] Y2Y Linear feature density map: We still have to re-project and add this layer to the map server. This layer, conducted by Bill Haskins of the Ecology Center shows relative road densities at a 1km scale throughout the study area. Based on different road sources at various scales. Source: http://ims.geodata-mt.com/website/docs/y2y/maplayers.htm The Ecology Center: Tom Pratt, 801 Sherwood Street, Suite B, Missoula, MT, 59802 USA 406-728-5733. The Ecology Center works to protect biodiversity and intact ecosystems on public lands in the northern Rocky Mountains -- home to the largest expanse of wilderness and roadless areas in the continental U.S. Source: http://www.patagonia.com/za/PDC/Pgonia/grants_biod.jsp
The Wildlands Project (TWP): The Wildlands Project Contact: Leanne Klyza Linck, P.O. Box 455, Richmond, VT, 05477 USA 802-434-4077. The Wildlands Project is a coalition of environmental activists and conservation biologists working to protect and restore the ecological integrity of North America. ... the group's work to establish a system of core wilderness areas, biological corridors and buffer zones that will protect and restore populations of all species native to the continent. Source: http://www.twp.org Also known as North American Wilderness Recovery, Inc., 1955 W. Grant Road, Su. 145, Tucson, AZ. 85745-1147. Phone: 520-884-0875. Fax: 520-884-9062. Web site: http://www.twp.org. Purpose: Conservation projects and events. Source: http://www.grasslandheritage.org/resources.html Here's a great "dot connector" URL: http://www.tucsonaudubon.org/conservation/skyislands.htm Other [Wildlands] Corridors: The Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (403-609-2666; http://www.rockies.ca/ysy) is one of several projects seeking to link parks and reserves by wildlife-migration corridors. Here are a few others. Florida: In 1990 the Florida State Legislature passed the Preservation 2000 Act, which earmarked $3 billion in public funds to acquire land in endangered habitats, particularly that of the panther, as part of a plan to incorporate almost half the state into a system of reserves and corridors. (352-466-4136; firstname.lastname@example.org) Southwest United States and Mexico: The Sky Island Alliance has advanced a plan to connect isolated protected areas throughout the mesa and desert region of New Mexico, Arizona, and northern Mexico. (505-243-5319; email@example.com) Eastern United States and Canada: A consortium of environmental groups is attempting to build a reserve network, known as A2A, that will connect Algonquin Park in Ontario to Adirondack Park in New York. (802-864-4850; firstname.lastname@example.org) Southern Rockies: In 1998 the Southern Rockies Ecosystem Project released a plan to connect the reserves of southern Wyoming, Colorado, and northern New Mexico. (303-258-0433; email@example.com) http://magazine.audubon.org/y2y/
United Way: 2003 California State Employees Charitable Campaign. [Just look where your United Way dollars go! Conservation Easements -- Wildlands -- free legal representation by EarthJustice Legal Defense, and much, much more that is anti-human and pro-large predator. I'm not saying that the United Way doesn't do good things; I'm just asking you to take a look at the organizations that benefit from your donations.] Source: http://www.unitedwayslo.org/csecc/2003_State_Directory.pdf
Yellowstone to Yukon: Question 9 from the "Frequently Asked Questions" part of the Y2Y website [fairly bristles with 'c' words; think Gayle Norton]: How will Y2Y’s Conservation Area Design be implemented? Of course, conservation does not take place only through the establishment of new parks, wildlife refuges and other nature reserves. Effective conservation is also achieved on public and private lands through the dedicated and cooperative efforts of diverse individuals and institutions. Therefore, Y2Y’s Conservation Plan Implementation program aims to develop a shared conservation agenda that includes a variety of tools and information layers to facilitate conservation throughout the Y2Y region. Conservation easements, designation of new protected areas, cooperative management agreements, land acquisitions and exchanges, restoration efforts, and municipal growth management plans are just some of the on-the-ground mechanisms that may be needed for implementation. To minimize the need for new laws and planning processes, Y2Y will strive to incorporate the results of existing land-use processes in its planning, where they already reflect the needs of wildlife and support ecosystem integrity. Source: http://www.y2y.net/overview/faq.asp. Data Layers for the Yellowstone 2 Yukon Land Trust Collaborative Maps. Source: http://ims.geodata-mt.com/website/docs/y2y/maplayers.htm Excerpt from "From Yellowstone to Yukon," by Michael Finkel, published by the Audubon Society (undated): Y2Y's time frame for accomplishing its goals is imprecise, and much work needs to be done. Over the next few years, the groups and individuals involved with the initiative will attempt to map the best locations for the reserve network and its wildlife corridors. The network will include, as often as feasible, areas that are already protected. All the work will be filtered through the Y2Y home office, which is literally a home office--a staff of two toiling out of the second floor of a small house in Canmore, Alberta. Once the maps have been developed, discussions will begin with landowners-- governments, corporations, and individuals. There must be land purchases and exchanges, and conservation easements. Municipal-growth plans that establish and protect wildlife corridors will have to be passed. These efforts will be coordinated, for the most part, by the conservation groups that have the greatest expertise in each specific region. Nothing will happen, however, until there is widespread public support for the idea. Source: http://magazine.audubon.org/y2y/ The "Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative": http://www.rockies.ca/y2y
Ever hear of the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund? Me, either, but they certainly are the generous grant givers to Wildlands Project implementers and their ilk. This is worth looking at. Source: http://www.goldmanfund.org/grants/02grants_env.phpx
*The Four C’s: Consultation, Communication, and Cooperation, all in the service of Conservation. – Attributed to and regularly touted by Gayle Norton, Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior. Source: http://www.whitehouse.gov/government/norton-bio.html
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