OUR MISSION IS TO PROTECT FORESTS, FARMS, RURAL HERITAGE, AND WATERS OF THE CACAPON & LOST RIVERS WATERSHED
Cacapon & Lost Rivers Land Trust’s 2020-2025 Strategic Plan provides a roadmap to safeguarding the natural treasures lying just 1.5 hours from Washington D.C. Building upon our foundational Healing Waters Plan and Landscape Prioritization Model, urgency of our land protection efforts, benefiting both our local community and millions downstream who depend on our work for clean air and water.
Three Primary Organizational Goals
- Grow a Connected Network: We aim to proactively expand a network of protected land hubs and corridors, linking private and public land throughout the watershed. Using a science-based GIS model, we’ll prioritize strategic land protection based on ecological principles.
- Protect and Enhance Resiliency: Committed to the watershed’s ecological resiliency, we’ll align our strategies with evolving data and become a trusted leader in the land protection movement.
- Increase Awareness: We strive to raise awareness about the significance of land conservation and stewardship in preserving the natural resources and economic vitality of the Cacapon watershed. Through collaborative efforts, we’ll disseminate key messages and be a valuable information resource.
Our Strategic Objectives: Paving the Way Forward
GOAL ONE: Grow a Connected Network
Objective I: Utilizing our science-based GIS model, we’ll strategically protect high-priority areas such as agriculture, wetlands, streams, rural heritage, and climate-resilient regions, ensuring the health of our ecosystem and economic vitality.
Objective II: Engaging with our community through a Neighbor-to-Neighbor approach, we’ll work with landowners to protect 8,200 acres of high conservation value land via voluntary conservation easements.
GOAL TWO: Protect and Enhance Resiliency
Objective I: Aligning our land protection strategy with evolving resiliency data, we’ll raise awareness of the watershed’s significance within the larger Appalachian landscape and its crucial role as a migratory corridor and provider of clean water.
Objective II: Strengthening our organizational capacity and recognition, we’ll become a trusted partner and leader in the land protection movement, promoting a healthier Chesapeake Bay and resilient communities.
Objective III: Establishing the Cacapon Watershed Collaborative (CWC), we’ll unite partners to identify shared goals, implement effective land protection strategies, and secure additional resources.
Objective IV: Empowering landowners, we’ll educate them about the value of conservation easements and offer guidance on enhancing the ecological sustainability of their land.
Objective V: Demonstrating fiscal transparency, sustainability, and effective governance, we’ll lead by example in organizational practices.
GOAL THREE: Increase Awareness
Objective I: Partnering with fellow stakeholders, we’ll cross-promote information to amplify key messages about land protection’s impact on the watershed’s rural economy.
Objective II: Serving as a reliable information source, we’ll emphasize the link between land protection and water quality, productive farmland, and wildlife preservation.
By embarking on this strategic path, the Cacapon & Lost Rivers Land Trust continues to play a pivotal role in conserving the natural wonders that define our watershed.
Healthy Waters Prioritization Model
In 2003, the Cacapon & Lost Rivers Land Trust brought together more than 30 local, state, and federal stakeholders at a Healing Waters retreat to develop a consensual conservation strategy for watershed protection.
A key outflow of the retreat was the decision to develop a science-based GIS model to identify tracks of land with exceedingly high conservation values to protect through five spatial models: forests/uplands, agriculture, streams, wetlands, and rural heritage.
Data sets were classified into an 8 ordinal ranking based on a Jenks Natural Break Classification at the HUC12 and catchment levels.
The Cacapon Watershed GIS Prioritization Model, regularly updated according to current conditions and evidence, continues to guide strategic decisions for optimal land protection.