Ecosystem Services in Working Lands: US Northeast

4.5.2.4 Experiential professional development builds local capacity Programs that support ecosystem services at the landscape and systems scales may also do so by providing professional development to various supporting institutions, especially those focused on returns to landscapes and ecosystem services. Programs for municipal officials. For example, the Rain Barrel Train the Trainer program from Rutgers Cooperative Extension provides environmental commission members, recycling coordinators, educators, Extension Master Gardeners, garden clubs, and environmental organizations with the tools to teach their communities about the environmental benefits of rain barrels. From the University of Connecticut’s Cooperative Extension there is the Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials program. Through this program, UCONN’s Cooperative Extension has been working with communities to protect water quality through better land use since 1991. Programs for public volunteers. These include programs like the University of Rhode Island’s Geospatial Training Program, which offers introductory hands-on instruction in geospatial technology with potential application for environmental monitoring purposes. There are also a number of volunteer water quality programs, such as Washington D.C.’s Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring in District Waters program. Through this program the Department of Energy and Environment provides funding for a water quality citizen science program that uses volunteers to monitor water quality in the District’s waterways. Through this program, funds may be used to recruit, coordinate and train volunteers, produce volunteer training materials, cover costs of monitoring supplies, analyze water samples collected by the volunteers, and generate publicly accessible online data.

4.5.3 Review of Funding/Program Opportunities

Public programs (n=344) vastly outnumber both private (n=82) and partnership programs (n=66). Among these public programs, state-level programs are most prominent (n=282).

Within these public programs, federal programs are consistently, though less robustly, represented in the sample data. Many nationwide efforts improve habitat creation/maintenance, especially as they support both coastal and inland systems. These programs fall under the auspices of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, NOAA Office of Coastal Management, and the USDA’s various conservation reserve and easement programs through the FSA and NRCS. Overall, public-private partnerships are less frequent within the sample data; however, this depends largely on the scale of analysis. While public programs are more numerous at the federal and state levels, partnership programs operate most prominently across the regional scale. • Regional consortiums, such as the Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Units (CESU) network and National Estuary programs, often overlap with watersheds and other ecological features, which by their nature function across state lines in the U.S. Northeast.

• Finance Centers also emerged as an important partner to expand the capacities of public and private stakeholders and strategically use conservation finance mechanisms.

• The small- and standard-grants programs that function as part of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act are examples of programs aimed at promoting these regional-scale partnerships. The Small Grants Program and the Standard Grants program are competitive, matching grant programs that support public-private partnerships carrying out projects that further the goals of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act. These projects must involve long-term protection, restoration, and/or enhancement of wetlands and associated uplands habitats for the benefit of all wetlands-associated migratory birds.

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