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Vital Lands Illinois

Can a funding request include funds for stewardship of the land being protected and defense funds? 

Yes. The project application materials have instructions for developing the project budget.

Are lands that will not qualify for designation as a Land & Water Reserve or Illinois Nature Preserve by the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission eligible for funding? 

Yes. These designations are offered only as examples of acceptable strategies for permanently protecting land. Any transaction that provides for permanent protection of a parcel of land may be submitted for funding.

How important are back-up plans for the conservation owner or easement holder? What requirement, if any, is there for documentation of back-up conservation owner plans? Would lack of an adequate plan preclude a grant application? 

Having an adequate back-up plan is an important part of the application. Grand Victoria's view of the adequacy of the plan will be guided by the Land Trust Alliance Standards and Practices as well as other LTA publications regarding best practices in this area. Standards 11 (conservation easements) and 12 (fee lands) address this issue. For example, Practice 12D, Contingency Strategy, provides that the land trust shall: "take reasonable steps to provide for the continuing protection of conservation properties in the event the land trust ceases to exist or can no longer own or manage them."

What do you mean by status in relation to the Illinois Wildlife Action Plan?
This question is a shorthand way of asking: Does the project further any of the specific goals identified in IWAP? Does the project contribute to any of the Campaigns outlined in IWAP? Is it located within a Conservation Opportunity Area? 

The full text of IWAP is available here: http://dnr.state.il.us/ORC/WildlifeResources/theplan/final/Illinois_final_report.pdf

Are projects to protect farmland eligible?

To be eligible, a project must meet the Basic Requirements outlined in the Guidelines. Those criteria include a requirement that an acquisition contribute to one of the Campaigns of the Illinois Wildlife Action Plan. The Wildlife Action Plan includes both a "Farmland and Prairie Campaign" and a "Green Cities Campaign" both of which provide opportunities for projects in these landscapes. That being said, the participants in Vital Lands Illinois have prioritized natural lands protection. For your reference, the full text of the Wildlife Action Plan is available here: http://dnr.state.il.us/ORC/WildlifeResources/theplan/final/Illinois_final_report.pdf

Why must applicant organizations comply with Land Trust Alliance's Standards and Practices?

LTA's Standards and Practices are recognized in the land protection community, by the Internal Revenue Service, and by other regulatory agencies as the best practices in the land protection industry. 

You request both current and future fiscal year budgets. We don't develop next year's budget until the end of our fiscal year.

We understand that the future year budget is a projection, but it helps us understand in what direction an organization thinks it is headed. It allows us to see a progression from the prior year, through the current year, and into the future. If an organization hasn't done any thinking about the budget for the next year, that can sometimes be a concern. The Guidelines require organizations in the final quarter of their fiscal year to submit a budget for the next fiscal year.

What type of documentation would you want to confirm that we have adopted the LTA Standards and Practices?

A board resolution is sufficient.

Can you provide a good example of an easement monitoring policy?

LTA has published a comprehensive book with example documents (monitoring checklists, procedures, etc.). It is available at: http://learningcenter.lta.org/attached-files/0/71/7143/CESteward_Small.pdf.