Conservation efforts often encounter resource availability issues due to project timeframes that do not align with traditional funding sources. The Nature Conservancy and partners are currently researching, developing, and/or testing alternative financing models that could better align conservation outcomes with needed long-term, sustainable resources. Examples discussed will include: 1) A study of the negative impact invasives species in coastal areas have on home values and the development of a mechanism to fund ongoing restoration efforts via an increase in property tax revenue following invasives management. 2) How performance drain assessments and alternative public drain financing could provide a new funding and delivery mechanism for the implementation of agricultural best management practices to improve water quality and ultimately riparian and coastal habitat. 3) An overview of stormwater runoff credits in Detroit that if modified may result in more equitable charges for users and a funding option for additional green infrastructure projects.
Shaun Howard is The Nature Conservancy’s Eastern Lake Michigan Project Manager. Utilizing the Michigan Dune Alliance partnership framework, he coordinates the restoration of dunes and associated coastal ecosystems along 500 miles of Eastern Lake Michigan shoreline. Shaun is also active in statewide ecosystem restoration efforts, primarily through his work with Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas and the Michigan Invasive Species Coalition. He earned his B.S. in Zoology at Michigan State University, and joined TNC in 2010 to implement invasive plant species control in the parabolic and perched dune systems throughout the Northwest Lower Peninsula.
Randy Dell joined The Nature Conservancy in October 2013 as the Agriculture Strategy Manager. Prior to working for the Conservancy, Randy spent five years at Ducks Unlimited in Bismarck, North Dakota, where he focused on implementing carbon market opportunities for grassland conservation, conservation planning, Farm Bill policy and program delivery. Randy also spent two years at Ducks Unlimited’s National Headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee; developing carbon offset opportunities for Ducks Unlimited’s conservation programs. Randy earned a B.A. in economics from Michigan State University and a M.S. in agricultural and resource economics from Oregon State University.
Valerie Strassberg, P.E., holds a B.S. from the Colorado School of Mines and a professional engineering license in water resources. As the state’s first Director of Urban Conservation, Valerie’s efforts are focused on conservation initiatives in the city of Detroit, specifically collaborating with the City of Detroit and a multitude of partners to encourage stormwater management through the use natural and green infrastructure. The ultimate goal of this work is to create increased biodiversity and terrestrial habitat in the city, while improving the quality of life for local residents. Prior to joining the Conservancy, she spearheaded Ann Arbor’s first ever Green Streets Policy, assisted with the development of the State of Michigan’s first Low Impact Development Manual, and co-developing a water-energy calculator for determining CO2e reductions through water conservation and infrastructure upgrade projects for the cities of Chicago, Denver, and James City, Virginia.