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WRC Earns National Recognition by Land Trust Accreditation Commission


Wolf River Conservancy Earns National Recognition by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission
Elite designation awarded to fewer than twenty percent of land trusts in the United States

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – August 5, 2015 – The Wolf River Conservancy today announced it has achieved land trust accreditation from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance. This honor follows an approximate 27-month process of extensive Land Trust Standards and Practices verification.

“This accreditation is a mark of distinction, showing that the Wolf River Conservancy meets high standards for land conservation and can continue to fulfill its promise of long-term conservation of the area’s vital resources,” said Keith Cole Executive Director for the Wolf River Conservancy. “Protecting our watershed and area wetlands assures we’ll have a clean, safe and plentiful water supply for generations to come.”

“Becoming an accredited land trust illustrates the continued growth of our organizational capacity and the ability of the Conservancy to complete its mission of protecting the Wolf River watershed floodplains and wetlands,” said Jeanne Arthur, president of the Conservancy’s board of directors. “I’d also like to acknowledge our Chief Financial Officer, Bob Wenner, for a his focus and dedication in leading our accreditation team.”

The Wolf River is a multi-faceted resource providing drinking water benefits, high quality wildlife habitat, top-notch recreation and historical and cultural connections throughout the region. The Conservancy has historically focused on saving the 100-year floodplain from being developed or converted to non-natural and destructive land uses, such as sand and gravel mines. This focus has helped the Conservancy protect more than 14,000 acres over the past 30 years.

The Wolf River serves the Memphis region in four distinct ways:
• Flood/erosion control – floodplains and wetlands temporarily store floodwaters, helping to protect property, transportation and lives
• Water quality – wetlands hold water long enough for it to be absorbed into the underground aquifer from which we receive our drinking water
• Wildlife habitat – the Wolf River supports a variety of animals and waterfowl, including endangered species
• Low-impact recreation – provide scenic wilderness experiences for hikers, runners, sportsmen, cyclists and paddlers in our area

The Wolf River Conservancy was awarded accreditation this August and is one of only 317 land trusts from across the country that has been awarded accreditation since the fall of 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 317 accredited land trusts account for more than three quarters 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. 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.

About the Wolf River Conservancy
For more than 30 years, the Wolf River Conservancy has expanded its mission, staff, resources, and membership. It has helped to protect more than 14,000 acres in the Wolf River corridor, including the beautiful Ghost River State Natural Area, launched the transformational Wolf River Greenway project, and connected thousands of people of all ages to the Wolf River through its education and recreation programs. Its vision includes the protection and enhancement of the entire Wolf River floodplain, from its origins at Baker’s Pond in North Mississippi to its confluence with the Mississippi River in Memphis, thereby providing a recreation and wildlife corridor of more than 90 miles while protecting critical aquifer recharge areas for public drinking water. For more information, visit wolfriver.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 is governed by a volunteer board of diverse land conservation and nonprofit management experts from around the country. See a complete list of all recently accredited land trusts online here.

About The Land Trust Alliance
Founded in 1982, the Land Trust Alliance is a national land conservation organization that works to save the place people need and love by strengthening land conservation across America. The Alliance represents 1,200 member land trusts supported by more than 5 million members nationwide. The Alliance is based in Washington, D.C., and operated several regional offices.
Posted by Kelsey Hamilton at 12:42 PM