Those goals were outlined, recently, in an interview with Nature Conservancy executive director Dave Livermore.
“We want to increase emphasis on our commitment to global conservation,” he said. That includes continued efforts along the Great Salt Lake, which he called the “gas station for millions of waterfowl as they go on to Mexico and Argentina.
“We will try to continue our watershed reclamation,” which includes a collaborative effort with Utah and other states along the Colorado River and its tributaries, “which provide drinking water for 30 million people,” he said.
On climate change, Livermore said the Conservancy’s major emphasis is to “help humans, animals and the community learn how to practically adapt.”
Saying it’s vital to “protect nature for people,” he said the Conservancy does “not work on the radical right or the radical left, but on the radical center” as it strives to preserve more areas in their natural habitat.
“We sit down with local stakeholders to form environmental solutions, to protect nature and human well being,” he said, along with aesthetic values and bio-diversity.
“If we protect watersheds for drinking water, that protects us ecologically for the future, and also will help grow the economy,” Livermore said.
The Dugout Ranch, at the entrance to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park, is considered the “epicenter for a ground-breaking land use and climate change research center,” he said.
It covers 5,207 acres of private land with more than 335,000 acres of associated grazing allotments.
The facility will serve as a way to help ranchers, water districts and other natural resource managers best cope with ongoing changes that impact streams and range to forests.
The Conservancy works with many other conservation organizations, landowners, the public, and foundations to obtain property and funding for further efforts.
For example, its “Living Lands & Waters” campaign seeks to raise $43 million in four years.
Termed the “most ambitious conservation initiative in Utah’s history,” efforts are based to raise funds to assist in preserving eight major regions of the state that “harbor the most unique and at-risk plant and animal communities.”
A variety of diverse conservation projects are planned for each of those areas.
Areas earmarked include Virgin River Headwaters, Boulder Watersheds, Selman Ranch, Utah’s national forests, and the Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve.
At the Preserve, the intent is to continue growing the out-reach program designed to teach Utahns about the lake’s globally important bird habitat. The Conservancy’s Wings & Water Wetlands Education Program features guided field trips, educational materials, and workshops for fourth-grade students and teachers.
For more information about the campaign or the Conservancy, call 801-531-0999 or visit the Web at www.nature.org/utah.