Sequoia Riverlands Trust Earns Accreditation

The Dry Creek Preserve is one of six such Central California lands owned and conserved by the Visalia-based Sequoia Riverlands Trust with more than 13,000 acres under management. (Photo Copyright 2013 by John Greening)
The Dry Creek Preserve is one of six such Central California lands owned and conserved by the Visalia-based Sequoia Riverlands Trust with more than 13,000 acres under management. (Photo Copyright 2013 by John Greening)

Following a rigorous evaluation, Sequoia Riverlands Trust (SRT) has been awarded accreditation from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. SRT is among just 11 such land trusts nationally to receive this recognition in the current round, and nationally among just over 200 total LTA-accredited land trusts.

“Sequoia Riverlands Trust has earned the public trust in our area over many years,” said Soapy Mulholland, executive director of SRT. “But it is especially gratifying to earn Land Trust Alliance accreditation because it underscores that our many supporters’ longstanding trust is well-placed.”

Each accredited land trust must submit extensive documentation and undergo an exhaustive review.

“Through accreditation, land trusts conduct important planning and make their operations more efficient and strategic,” said Tammara Van Ryn, executive director of the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, which operates under the auspices of the Land Trust Alliance, based in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Adam Livingston, Berkeley-based SRT director of planning, echoes her thoughts. “Applying for accreditation involved a thorough review of SRT’s policies and practices in nearly every area of our operations,” he said. “Going through such a rigorous process strengthened SRT in a number of ways, and being accredited inspires us to continue improving our work in the future.”

Livingston added that SRT’s accreditation tells landowners, policymakers and the public that the organization meets a nationwide standard of excellence — the LTA Standards and Practices — in areas ranging from governance and recordkeeping to land protection and stewardship.

“SRT’s conservation work requires expertise in everything from real estate law to restoration ecology; from grant management to measures of livestock forage utilization,” said Hilary Dustin, SRT conservation director.

SRT is now authorized to display the LTA accreditation seal, indicating to the public that it meets the highest national standards for excellence, upholds the public trust, and ensures that its conservation efforts are permanent.

“The seal is a high mark of distinction in the land conservation field,” said Aaron Collins, SRT director of communications and community relations. “Earning this accreditation reflects SRT’s ongoing dedication to the very best conservation practices and organizational effectiveness.”

He added that conserving land helps maintain clean air and drinking water, improves food security, preserves scenic landscapes and views, offers recreational places and enhances habitat for the diversity of life on earth.

“Across the country, communities have joined in forming land trusts to save the places they love. Land trusts have worked with willing landowners to save over 47 million acres of farms, forests, and other natural places people care about. Strong, well-managed land trusts unite effective champions and local caretakers of critical land resources, and safeguard these resources for future generations,” Collins said.

Sequoia Riverlands Trust is a regional, nonprofit land trust dedicated to conserving California’s heartland and the natural and agricultural legacy of the southern Sierra Nevada and San Joaquin Valley. SRT’s mission is to protect working landscapes, wildlife habitat and scenic open spaces, while ensuring that economic growth in local communities remains vibrant and sustainable.

To date, SRT has protected more than 13,000 acres. The trust owns and manages six nature preserves that protect 4,000 acres of remnant landscapes, woodland communities and wildlife habitat. SRT has also collaborated with agencies, other non-profit conservation organizations and landowners to protect 3,811 additional acres.

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