February 2016

Living Landscape Observer - Nature, Culture, Community
In This Issue
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Historic Preservation Advocacy Week March 8-10, 2016
Washington, D.C.
Joint National Council on Public History and Society for History in the Federal Government Conference 
March 16-19, 2016
Baltimore, MD 
IUCN World Congress
September 2016
 Honolulu HI

The Heritage of the San Antonio River

For centuries, the year round flow of the San Antonio River attracted Indigenous peoples and Spanish explorers to its banks. When Spain, apprehensive about French encroachments from Louisiana, expanded its colonization efforts north from Mexico, they settled along an especially fertile stretch of the river - known today as the city and suburbs of San Antonio.
Beginning in 1690, a series of missions were established and strung out along the San Antonio River. Despite a number of set backs, these eastern Texas missions began a period of slow growth through out the 1700s. They served as outpost for the colony's eastern border as well as way stations on the supply line to the west. The Franciscan missionaries who established the missions sought to build a communities that could support the livelihood of those who lived within the walls. To be self supporting a steady supply of water was essential.
Water from the San Antonio River was diverted into an acequia, over fifteen miles of watercourses constructed to irrigate the farm fields of the mission's and to serve all of the community needs. Farming was an integral part of the mission system and the region with its with its rich farmland and pasture-lands, became an important supplier of agricultural products to an area stretching from Louisiana to Coahuila, Mexico. 

Learn more about this featured landscape. 

Living Landscape Observer
San Antonio Missions: Learning from World Heritage  
On October 17, 2015, dignitaries from around the country gathered to celebrate the inscription of the San Antonio Missions as the 23rd World Heritage Site in the United States. Behind the well-deserved World Heritage hoopla and the carefully crafted statement of the property's Outstanding Universal Value, there is more than a decade's worth of hard work. As interest in World Heritage recognition grows in the U.S. and around the globe, what can we learn from the hard won experience of the San Antonio Missions? Read More.
Politicians, Conservationists and National Parks
Maine Woods National Park
Creating new national parks and protecting public lands on a landscape scale is not for the faint of heart. An analysis of the ongoing debate over a possible national park in Maine's North Woods as well as the long-running efforts to resolve land-use practices on millions of federal acres in Utah highlight some of the challenges. While the rhetoric is intense, left on the sidelines are the American public and the local communities most affected by these actions. Read full article here.

Centennial of the NPS
Anniversary of the NPS: Building on a Legacy?

This post  first ran in our September 2015 newsletter as NPS and Anniversaries. We are re-printing it now in an effort to spark conversation not only about the NPS centennial, but also the legacy of the Obama Presidency and National Parks more generally. After almost 8 years, what do you see as the primary imprint of the Administration on the National Park System and other public lands? What will be the long term impact of their efforts to protect resources on a landscape scale and to tell more diverse and complex history the U.S.? What about the direction of the 2016 Centennial of the National Park Service? And most importantly, what will be the emphasis of the next administration?
In the News

Not too Late!  The President's Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) Invites Your Ideas on the Future of the National Historic Preservation Act. These ideas will be submitted to the incoming Administration and the 115th Congress. The ACHP has posted initial observations on challenges and opportunities, and invited public input. The National Historic Preservation Program at 50: Challenges and Opportunities, including how they might be addressed now and in the future. Send your comments and suggestions by March 1, 2016 to [email protected]

The Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative is an international collaborative for knowledge sharing, dialogue and action - all to support integrated landscape management The project seeks to achieve three simultaneous goals: improved food production, ecosystem conservation, and sustainable livelihoods. More than 60 partner organizations from North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia are contributing their resources and considerable expertise to promote and strengthen landscape management around the world. Visit their new website to learn more.

How do you manage collaborative conservation across 100 million acres?  The Sage Grouse Initiative (SGI), led by USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), introduces the SGI Interactive Web Application, a tool that will take habitat restoration efforts for sage grouse to new heights - both visually and on the ground. The tool graphically layers vital pieces of information to paint a more cohesive picture of connected landscapes, so state and federal agencies and their partners can make more effective and targeted decisions.

About Us

The Living Landscape Observer is a website, blog and monthly e-newsletter that offers commentary and information on the emerging field of large landscape conservation. This approach emphasizes the preservation of a "sense of place" and blends ingredients of land conservation, heritage preservation, and sustainable community development. Learn more about how you can get involved or sign up for the newsletter here.  

Our Mission: To provide observations and information on the emerging fields of landscape scale conservation, heritage preservation and sustainable community development.