Partners for Conservation wanted to explore better ways to work through conservation issues and concerns besides regulation and litigation.

Group Solutions was engaged to design a forum for over 50 private landowners to meet with leaders of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS), the U.S. Department of Agriculture –Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), representatives from other public agencies and nongovernmental organizations.

The forum had 3 goals:

  • Highlight cooperative conservation successes
  • Provide a forum to hear landowner issues/concerns
  • Develop landowner-focused recommendations for improving cooperative conservation in the Southeast.

Participants discussed success stories and barriers to greater cooperative conservation. There were differences of opinion, but the dialogue was respectful and focused on solutions.

Landowners shared firsthand of knowledge about what programs and regulations were working as well as frustrations with programs and incentives that are not working as intended and their beliefs why.

The group had extensive dialog about the need for setting shared conservation goals. Team members also felt sustained, ongoing dialog is the key to achieving more effective conservation outcomes.

The landowners developed and presented set of 5 recommendations for improving cooperative conservation on private lands. The entire document may be viewed here.