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Conservation Toolkit|U.S. Forest Services | Environment and Natural Resources

Introduction

The Rocky Mountain West is the fastest growing region in the U.S., and rural development is one of the primary factors contributing to the loss of privately held open space in this region over the past 20 years. A vast majority of the growth in Wyoming over the next decade is expected to be exurban growth. Beyond Wyoming and the region, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service (USFS) projects that nationwide nearly 22 million acres of private, rural lands that are adjacent to national forest and grasslands will undergo residential development by 2030. Benefits of stemming some of this development and conserving private lands include: 1) buffering public lands to reduce wildfire risks for communities; 2) protecting critical wildlife corridors and habitat; 3) providing greater access to public lands for recreation; 4) protecting important watersheds; and 5) maintaining scenic vistas and culturally significant landscapes.

The USFS and the Ruckelshaus Institute of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Wyoming have partnered to develop a toolkit for land managers in Wyoming to aid the conservation of private land. The purpose of this toolkit is to provide those interested in public land management a comprehensive resource guide for exploring land conservation options with private landowners, communities, land trusts, and local planners. Further, the toolkit aims to provide information to land managers on state and local land use planning to help them engage effectively and collaboratively in ways that support the ecological sustainability and integrity of adjacent federal and state lands. The toolkit is meant to complement existing knowledge about land conservation programs with additional information, contacts, and resources, and to encourage land managers to participate, partner, and assist with local and county land planning processes and voluntary private land conservation efforts.

This toolkit includes:

  • Detailed maps and information on land ownership, existing conservation easements, and private in-holdings in federally managed lands in Wyoming;
  • A suite of conservation tools for federal, state, and local land managers;
  • A comprehensive list of local and statewide resources and organizations involved in land conservation;
  • Sources of funding for land acquisitions, easements, and land stewardship;
  • Collaboration, cooperation, and consensus building tools for public agency participation in local land use planning; and
  • An overview of state and local land use planning laws and regulations.


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