Conservancy Earns National Recognition

Chippewa Watershed Conservancy Earns National Recognition

Strong Commitment to Public Trust and Conservation Excellence

March 15, 2018

Mount Pleasant, MI – At a time of political change, one thing is clear and consistent: Americans strongly support saving the open spaces they love. Since 1985, Chippewa Watershed Conservancy, has been doing just that for the people of Central Michigan. Now, Chippewa Watershed Conservancy has announced it has renewed its national land trust accreditation – proving once again that, as part of a network of 398 accredited land trusts across the nation, it is committed to professional excellence and to maintaining the public’s trust in its conservation work.

“Renewing our accreditation shows Chippewa Watershed Conservancy’s ongoing commitment to permanent land conservation in the Central Michigan Region said Jon Breithaupt, Executive Director. “We are a stronger organization than ever for having gone through the rigorous accreditation renewal process. Our strength means special places – such as Bundy Hill Preserve – will be protected forever, making the Central Michigan region an even greater place for us and our children.”

Chippewa Watershed Conservancy had to provide extensive documentation and undergo a comprehensive review as part of its accreditation renewal. The Land Trust Accreditation Commission awarded the renewed accreditation, signifying its confidence that Chippewa Watershed Conservancy’s lands will be protected forever.

Accredited land trusts must renew every five years, confirming their compliance with national quality standards and providing continued assurance to donors and landowners of their commitment to forever steward their land and easements. Almost 20 million acres of farms, forests and natural areas vital to healthy communities are now permanently conserved by an accredited land trust.

In 2016, Chippewa Watershed Conservancy completed a nearly quarter-million dollar fundraising campaign to purchase 100 acres surrounding Bundy Hill – the tallest point in Isabella County. The conservation group manages 21 additional nature preserves and 38 conservation easements on private lands. Over 5,200 acres have been permanently protected for the benefit of people, plants and animals.

“It is exciting to recognize Chippewa Watershed Conservancy with this distinction,” said Tammara Van Ryn, executive director of the Commission. “Accredited land trusts are united behind strong ethical standards ensuring the places people love will be conserved forever. Accreditation recognizes Chippewa Watershed Conservancy has demonstrated sound finances, ethical conduct, responsible governance, and lasting stewardship.”

Chippewa Watershed Conservancy is one of 1,363 land trusts across the United States according to the most recent National Land Trust Census, released December 1, 2016 by the Land Trust Alliance. This comprehensive report also shows that accredited land trusts have made significant achievements.

  • Accredited land trusts have steadily grown and now steward almost 80% of conservation lands and easements held by all land trusts.
  • Accredited land trusts protected five times more land from 2010 to 2015 than land trusts that were not accredited.
  • Furthermore, accreditation has increased the public’s trust in land conservation, which has helped win support for federal, state and local conservation funding measures.

A complete list of accredited land trusts and more information about the process and benefits are detailed at www.landtrustaccreditation.org.