Partners for Conservation
Partners for Conservation (PFC) is a private landowner organization which communicates and collaborates on conservation partnerships for working landscapes to benefit present and future generations. PFC believes that collaborative conservation through private-public partnerships creates lasting conservation outcomes that sustain agricultural livelihoods. This national organization has a record of building trusting relationships and partnerships that expand and accelerate collaborative conservation approaches that sustain ecologically healthy environments, economies and communities.
PFC was formed in 2010 as a regional effort drawing existing landowner-led collaborations together to inject momentum into the public-private partnership approach to conservation and to stimulate voluntary incentive-based programs on working landscapes. Its founders were volunteer landowners in the Intermountain West who’d experienced opportunities to “partner up” with private and public partners to benefit both landscapes and human communities. Wanting to share their stories and stimulate more effective private-public collaborations, the group now provides mentoring and relationship support on working lands conservation programs. The board of directors of PFC is composed of landowners who are directly engaged in agricultural and natural resource-based pursuits.
Region of Influence
Though PFC started in the Rocky Mountain West and has a stronghold west of the Mississippi River, its influence is growing in other regions.
“North to south, west to east, landscapes and agricultural practices may differ, but the values and concerns of landowners are surprisingly consistent,” says Executive Director Steve Jester. This allows PFC’s special brand of collaborative problem solving to help landowners, partners, and communities from coast to coast.
PFC is often called to the table once “a crisis is thrust upon a landscape that impacts private landowners and the public in tangible ways,” says Jester. “Collaboration still tends to be the last resort instead of the first choice for sustaining landscapes. A sustainable conservation project is a delicate balance between ecology, economics, and people. People are always key to getting the work done. And that’s where we come in. We don’t move dirt or water. We move relationships.”
PFC supports landowners, members, and partner organizations through:
- Networking and events, such as its annual Private Lands Partners Day, which has grown from 30 to 200 people since 2008. Also through national and regional meetings, workshops, and forums, which bring leaders together to find pathways to collaboration.
- Presentations to stakeholders, such as landowners and decision-makers.
- Engaging elected and appointed leaders to support effective and efficient voluntary conservation programs such as U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)-Partners for Fish and Wildlife and Farm Bill conservation programs.
- Stimulating voluntary, incentive-based conservation partnerships on working lands.
- Transferring conservation experiences, expertise, and lessons learned abut cooperative conservation and historical land management tools.
- Increasing and leveraging funding for efforts that promote cooperative conservation.
- Regular communication with a growing public-private collaboration network.
The following projects embody the type of work that PFC supports:
- Sensitive Species Forum: In early 2014, PFC hosted its first Sensitive Species Forum, attended by landowners, FWS, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, state wildlife agencies, and a few nonprofit conservation organizations. Recognizing that successful management of sensitive species occurs when threats are addressed holistically allowing species to thrive, local economies to be sustained, and communities to remain viable throughout a shared landscape, the forum sought to identify and explore major sensitive species challenges that agricultural producers face in keeping farming, forestry and ranching viable. The forum promoted an understanding of endangered species regulation, conservation implementation approaches, and opportunities for voluntary, incentive-based solutions. It also built trust, transferred lessons learned from landscape-level collaborations, and strengthened proactive private landowner engagement in managing the decline of species programs. The forum resulted in a shared vision of success and increased communication and partnerships between agencies, landowners, and communities. Download the PFC Sensitive Species Factsheet.
- Working Landscapes Regional Collaboration Forum: In February 2015, the first Working Landscapes Regional Collaboration Forum was held in Susanville, California, deep in the heart of the SONEC region (the intermountain basins in southern Oregon, northeast California, and northwest Nevada in the Great Basin). Attendees included 80 landowners, ranch managers, conservation organization representatives, and government agency staff who came together to discuss collaboration for their working ranches and landscapes. Through stories from landowners involved in collaborative conservation efforts, the forum transferred lessons learned about public-private partnerships and landowner-led conservation efforts. The workshop guided conversations about the opportunities and challenges for collaboration in the region through facilitated small and large group discussions. The forum demonstrated that momentum created through collaborative success can be transferred through a regional collaborative network through stories, expertise sharing, ambassadors and peer-to-peer mentorship. Download the Proceedings and Major Findings document.
- Private Lands Partners Day 2015. Landowners and conservation partners gathered in North Platte, Nebraska September 22-25, 2015 for the 8th Annual Private Lands Partners Day. In what has become the nation’s premiere event for showcasing public-private conservation partnerships attendees were treated to a tour of the Sandhills Ecosystem and western Nebraska, and able to interact with conservation agency leadership from across the country. Landowners from Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska shared their stories of partnership. With ample time for sharing lessons learned both formally and informally this event continues to inspire conservation partnerships nationally while serving as a forum for improved communication between landowners and conservation partners. Download Summary Report here.
Relationship with IWJV
The IWJV views PFC as a critical organization to collaborate with and support due to their important role and relationship with private landowners and partners interested in enhancing communication and collaboration in working landscapes. We have joined together in multiple projects, such as the Working Landscapes Regional Collaboration Forum, to build relationships and create novel landowner-led solutions to landscape-scale conservation. Click here to find the fact sheet IWJV and PFC created for their joint hill visit in 2016.