The Washington Association of Land Trusts is the collective voice of the land trust community. We champion the funding and tools necessary in the complex business of conservation. Protecting land requires a creative blend of public and private funding. WALT defends and expands the steadily threatened government funds that make conservation possible. The campaigns we spearhead make more grants accessible to ensure more federal funding makes it way to Washington. Our land trust community is united as one strong political voice with the power to lead advocacy efforts in Olympia and DC.
Download our fact sheet on WALT’s 2017 Legislative Priorities
A Healthy Puget Sound
The Puget Sound region has long depended on its namesake water body for its fisheries, its nutrient-cycling wildlife habitat, and for its power to protect against droughts and floods. Moreover, the Puget Sound brings in twenty billion dollars worth of economic activity in Washington.
Unfortunately, Puget Sound’s water quality, water quantity, and habitat has been degraded. Under constant urban expansion, many species are in decline and habitats are threatened by climate change. As a result, we see more land development, infrastructure, and pollution as imminent threats to the ecosystem degrading the overall health of the Puget Sound.
Take Action to Protect Puget Sound
The Washington Association of Land Trusts supports increased Puget Sound shoreline and statewide salmon acquisition and restoration funding, primarily through three key programs: Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program (ESRP), Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration (PSAR) program, and the statewide Salmon Recovery Funding Board (SRFB). These state-level funding sources protect critical habitat and fisheries in the Sound, its tributaries, and its coastline.
Our forests are critical for clean water and air. Our wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation support local jobs in the timber and tourism industries. However, our forests face many challenges. On the west side of the state, population growth and increasing development pressure mean that many working forests face the threat of conversion. In eastern Washington, overgrown and dry forests lead to catastrophic wildfires that take a huge toll on the landscape, impose huge costs for suppression, and place rural homes and families at risk. A recent study by scientists at the Nature Conservancy and US Forest Service showed that 2.88 million acres of eastern Washington forests are in need of restoration.
Take Action for Healthy Forests
The Washington Association of Land Trusts is working with partners to increase state funding for collaborative, science based projects that restore forest health across landscapes. Investments in forest health improve forest resilience, restore forest headwaters critical to water supply, and improve wildlife habitat. These vitally important contributions sequester carbon and mitigate risks associated with climate change, preserve recreational opportunities and generate jobs and economic activity in the woods.
Food is central to each of our lives — a cornerstone of our culture, our economy, our families. As farms change hands and farmland prices rise, our ability to rely on farming for nutrition and overall livelihood is severely threatened. The Washington Association of Land Trusts is leading a call to action to protect what is left of one of our most valuable natural resources: farmland.
What WALT is doing to protect farmland
WALT is focused on increasing funding through the Farm Bill, particularly through the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Agricultural Conservation Easements Program (ACEP-ALE). ACEP-ALE provides funding to eligible entities like land trusts to buy agricultural conservation easements on farm and ranch land, thus keeping productive land in agriculture.
Access the ACEP-ALE Factsheet