Publications

Advancing Innovative Finance Options for Improved Agricultural Water Quality

Advancing Innovative Finance Options for Improved Agricultural Water Quality

Declines in crop prices and broader concerns about farm program funding, coupled with farmer awareness of environmental issues, provides an impetus to advance on-farm conservation and the opportunity to diversify farm income through payments for water quality outcomes. This report builds upon the June 2020 report Prioritizing Resources to Meet Water Quality Goals to detail the challenges and opportunities associated with conservation finance for water quality, as the demand and solutions are rapidly changing.

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Prioritizing Resources to Meet Water Quality Goals

Prioritizing Resources to Meet Water Quality Goals

A partnership to assess agricultural practices and strategies to further improve water quality by the Sand County Foundation, the Noble Research Institute, Farm Foundation, and USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), with financial assistance from The Fertilizer Institute, USDA NRCS, McKnight Foundation, Ida and Robert Gordon Family Foundation, and Walton Family Foundation.

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The Conservation of Defense

The Conservation of Defense

Opportunities to promote conservation through military readiness.

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Improving Mitigation Under the Endangered Species Act

Improving Mitigation Under the Endangered Species Act

In this report, we offer ideas for improving ESA mitigation to address past gaps in mitigation practice and to confront future challenges arising from infrastructure development. The report first provides background on ESA mitigation, including the relevant laws and policies. The report then offers near and longer-term recommendations to improve ESA mitigation. These recommendations should form a core component of how the Biden administration approaches ESA permitting.

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Mississippi River Basin State Policies Relevant to Environmental Market Development

Mississippi River Basin State Policies Relevant to Environmental Market Development

As a legacy partner member of the Ecosystem Services Market Consortium, Sand County Foundation's experience working across state boundaries with farmers and government agencies on agricultural conservation issues, resulted in an invitation from ESMC to lead a rapid assessment of state policies relevant to the development of environmental markets within the Mississippi River Basin.

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Watershed Based Approach to Water Quality Compliance

Watershed Based Approach to Water Quality Compliance

This guidance document for Wisconsin municipalities incorporates lessons learned during our pilot project with the Village of Grafton. The process described focuses on building trust between stakeholders to achieve the goals and objects of an entire watershed community.

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Estimating the Water Quality Benefits of Prairie Strips Using SnapPlus

Estimating the Water Quality Benefits of Prairie Strips Using SnapPlus

Sand County Foundation and the University of Wisconsin are using SnapPlus to compare sediment and P losses from Wisconsin farmers with and without prairie strips.

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H2Equity

H2Equity

Rebuilding a Fair System of Water Services for America

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How to Help Conservation Data Tech Spread

How to Help Conservation Data Tech Spread

Our vision of a future in which new data technology originates from - and is adapted to - conservation so that we dramatically speed up the process of restoring & regenerating our planet.

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Watershed Approaches to Meet Permit Compliance

Watershed Approaches to Meet Permit Compliance

A primer in municipal-agriculture partnerships

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Executive Summary - Strengthening Urban-Rural Connections

Executive Summary - Strengthening Urban-Rural Connections

Twenty ways cities, towns, and water utilities can pay for water quality improvements on farms and get regulatory credit for doing so.

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Strengthening Urban-Rural Connections

Strengthening Urban-Rural Connections

This 2020 report by Kristyn Abhold and Timothy Male lists 20 ways cities and water utilities can pay for water quality improvements on farms.

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Municipal-Agricultural Watershed Partnerships Project Guide

Municipal-Agricultural Watershed Partnerships Project Guide

Furthering upstream-downstream partnerships in the Mississippi River Basin is the goal of a project spearheaded by Sand County Foundation. There are creative ways to achieve federal and state governments' clean water goals by forging partnerships between municipalities, utilities, and farmers who volunteer to work with them.

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Living a Land Ethic

Living a Land Ethic

A story about Leopold Conservation Award Recipient Bill Sproul and how his personal land ethic inspired by Aldo Leopold helps him strive to improve the land regardless of whether he owns or leases it.

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The Delights and Dilemmas of Rare Species Conservation

The Delights and Dilemmas of Rare Species Conservation

A collection of success stories about rare species conservation that demonstrate how different types of land managers have worked, often collaboratively, to achieve outcomes that reverse species decline. The stories center around species such as the Greater Sage-Grouse, swift fox, and the Louisiana black bear, and how conservation actions can result in the removal of a species from the Endangered Species list, or the elimination of a need to be listed in the first place.

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Stories from the Range: Ranching and Sage Grouse Conservation

Stories from the Range: Ranching and Sage Grouse Conservation

A collection of stories provides a glimpse into how six western ranchers have collaborated to improve sage grouse habitat. The stories highlight how conservation by private landowners and other organizations can lead to positive outcomes that benefit both landowners and the wildlife they seek to protect.

With sage grouse populations spanning 11 energy- and agriculture-rich states, state and federal agencies have poured $750 million to protect, restore and manage habitat for the bird to head off a listing. None of this successful conservation work would have been possible without the active and voluntary engagement of private landowners

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Policy Analysis on Critical Habitat Exclusions

Policy Analysis on Critical Habitat Exclusions

An analysis of a proposed U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service policy on Critical Habitat Exclusions provides organizations and individuals who have an interest in endangered species issues with a better understanding of the implications of this new policy and a set of recommendations for improvements to it.

Sand County Foundation, which serves as the fiscal sponsor for Mission:Wildlife, knows how important endangered species issues are, especially for landowners.  We have consistently advocated for greater application of incentives for landowners who voluntarily protect and enhance rare plants and animals.  Offering private property owners a pathway to exclusions from a critical habitat designation could be a powerful incentive for conservation as well as a remedy for one of the more injurious powers of the Endangered Species Act.

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Comments Invited on Draft USFWS Policy

Comments Invited on Draft USFWS Policy

A report from Mission:Wildlife and Sand County Foundation provides a summary of the draft U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service policy on declining species, and suggests ways it should be improved to create greater benefits for wildlife, landowners and businesses.

July 22, 2014 the USFWS released a promising new policy intended to encourage conservation actions for declining species. Implemented correctly, the policy could lead to the creation of new state programs that prevent species from ever needing the protection of the Endangered Species Act, produce mitigation credits that benefit wildlife and create a valuable commodity for landowners and investors. However, the policy needs improvement to achieve these goals.

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On the Land

On the Land

“On the Land” features compelling, in-depth stories of the lives and livelihoods of five Leopold Conservation Award winning landowners with distinctly different conservation stories.  Writer Andy Rieber’s deeply emotive accounts of these remarkable landowners will leave you feeling inspired.

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From Racing to Rights: Emerging Strategies for Improving Fisheries Management

From Racing to Rights: Emerging Strategies for Improving Fisheries Management

Fisheries experts increasingly emphasize the impact and usefulness of fisherman-to-fisherman exchanges. Sand County Foundation and the Alex C. Walker Foundation hosted North American fishers at a meeting that advanced the collective understanding of sustainable marine fisheries management. This report details the important lessons learned during that meeting.

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Improving Fisheries Management: Finding A Better Way

Improving Fisheries Management: Finding A Better Way

Building upon the successful fisheries workshop held in Del Mar, California in 2005 and arising from several important initiatives that emerged among the participants of that conference, Sand County Foundation, with support from the Alex C. Walker Foundation, Brenda Christensen and Tom Barry, the Bradley Fund for the Environment, and Kingfisher Foundation, brought together more than 50 fishers for a second “Improving Fisheries Management” conference. This report details the important lessons learned during that meeting.

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Running Free: The Baraboo River Restoration Story

Running Free: The Baraboo River Restoration Story

With partnership funding from the Bradley Fund for the Environment and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, among others, Sand County Foundation was able to coordinate the successful removal of the LaValle Dam while at the same time creating leading-edge research opportunities. More importantly, this was done in such a way that dam owner rights were respected and the community was actively involved in the project.

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​Innovations on the Land: Managing for Change

​Innovations on the Land: Managing for Change

View the program from our 2016 Symposium.

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2021 Leadership for Midwestern Watersheds Speaker Bios

2021 Leadership for Midwestern Watersheds Speaker Bios

This two-hour "LMW lite" session will focus on communicating climate risk and resilience with farmers, and making sense of ecosystem service markets.

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