In This Issue
NCED in New Jersey
Leading the Way


We are making great progress in New Jersey through the support of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and U.S. Geological Survey. We have collected approximately 1,000 easements over the last year and made significant revisions and updates to countless others. By 2015 we expect to have nearly 100 percent of easements in New Jersey, making it the most comprehensive data set in NCED. With additional funding support your state can see this kind of success too!

Conservation Easements Protect Important Vegetation Types
Report to U.S. Forest Service
The National Conservation Easement Data Base (NCED) has been used as a foundational dataset in a recent report to the U.S. Forest Service from the Conservation Biology Institute (CBI) titled: Protecting Natural Vegetation: Comparative Analysis of Land Protection Mechanisms. The study examines the amount of vegetation currently protected by: (a) Conservation Easements (b) Multiple-use Lands (GAP Status 3) and, (c) restricted-use lands (GAP Status 1 and 2).

The data show that protection levels of 99 vegetation types vary widely and are specific to the context of the region as well as their spatial extent. Conservation easements make a greater contribution to overall protection for the 10 least protected vegetation types (e.g., tall-grass prairie, coastal plain oak forest) as compared with their contribution to the vegetation types with highest levels of protection.  

Contact Kai Foster for more information. 

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July 2014

We are happy to announce another update to the National Conservation Easement Database. In this issue we include information on new easements that have been added, progress on data collection in New Jersey, examples of ways NCED is being used and updates on new funding for work to complete NCED in the Gulf states. We hope you enjoy!  


Stay in touch regarding ways you've found NCED to be helpful in your work. 


The NCED Team

Three Million Acres Added to NCED

June 2014 Update Ready for Download 


With the addition of 4,000 easements and 3 million acres we now have sixty percent of easements in the United States represented in NCED. There are 105,746 easements that cover over 22.2 million acres in this version of NCED. Over half of the missing acreage can be attributed to one program within the USFWS that includes easements in three states. Due to security reasons these easements cannot be included at this time. Thank you to each data provider that worked with us to improve old data and add new easement information. Any corrections or comments will be incorporated in July and August in time for another publishing cycle in September.


Download Latest Version of NCED 


"Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything." -Wyatt Earp

NCED is a Key Tool in Analyzing Sites for Clean Power Generation
As the debate surrounding global climate change continues and policy makers are increasingly looking for clean power alternatives, the U.S. Department of Energy funded a study to categorize areas or zones ripe for clean energy development. The study was led by the Eastern Interconnection States Planning Council (EISPC) and resulted in a web-based mapping tool that identifies areas within the eastern United States that are suitable for clean power generation. Various factors determine site suitability, and the National Conservation Easement Database (NCED) is used to flag areas as less suitable. In fact, there are numerous ways that this mapping tool is using NCED.


Early in the project an Environmental Focus Group made up of subject-matter experts met regularly to help determine what environmental data would be best for modeling, who could help gather it, and to develop a plan for categorizing it into sensitivity categories (i.e. areas less suitable for development). One outcome of this work was the composite protected lands layer which includes NCED and the Protected Areas Database of the U.S. Lands within this layer are color coded by sensitivity level with all easements from NCED categorized as Orange: Develop with extreme caution. Through the mapping library users can also access the metadata and download the GIS layer itself.


The Composite Protected Lands data layer provides for more thoughtful analysis in the following ways:


1)      Corridor Report

Users can analyze potential corridors in the tool by sketching a centerline and specifying a width. A corridor report is run to generate screening-level information useful for planning corridors, including details from the protected lands composite. Enhancements to the corridor capabilities are planned, including the ability to generate a corridor route between two points based on a modeling process and user-adjustable criteria.


2)      Suitability Model

The protected lands composite layer is one of the default inputs for every suitability model in the tool. The models, for example Land Based Wind Turbine (80-m Height), have a series of input layers for the major siting factors for that particular technology. The NCED data contributes to the composite suitability layer generated by the model by lowering the suitability where conservation easements are present. In this way environmental factors can be considered very early in the planning process, in a framework accessible to all stakeholders.


Click here for more information and to view and register for the mapping tool.


Research and technical assistance to EISPC is provided by Argonne National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

New Funding for NCED
Knobloch Family Foundation & U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities Provide Support in Gulf States

With billions of dollars being awarded across the five gulf  states, the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, the Trust for Public Land and Ducks Unlimited have proposed creating a database that will perform two major functions: 1) Improve accountability, planning, on-the-ground implementation, and evaluation 2) Enhance communication and coordination across agencies and organizations.
At present, there is no comprehensive database for public and private conservation lands in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. Without this information, it is impossible to effectively plan conservation programs, assess the benefits of previous efforts or understand how future investments - such as those from the BP oil spill settlements - fit within the context of existing programs. To that end, the Knobloch Family Foundation and the U.S. Endowment for Forestry & Communities have provided $50,000 to go towards an initial budget to complete a conservation lands database - including conservation easements - for the gulf states as well as a system to track and manage information on all projects that will be supported through the various settlement funding sources related to the 2010 PB oil spill. Texas has been chosen as the pilot state, which will lay the groundwork to expand this exciting project to the remaining four gulf-states and Federal agencies affected by the spill. Stay tuned for future updates as this project develops. 

New funding commitments from and data providers ensure we will be able to continue to build a more complete and robust conservation easement database. If you have not yet shared information on conservation easements your organization holds please contact us soon!

The NCED Team

The National Conservation Easement Database |

The National Conservation Easement Database (NCED) is an initiative of the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities. Additional financial support has been provided by the Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck Foundation; the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation; the  Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation; the Knobloch Family Foundation; the Graham Foundation; the USDA Forest Service, State and Private Forestry; and theU.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Landscape Conservation Cooperative. The NCED team also collaborates with the USGS National Gap Analysis Program (GAP) Protected Areas Database - United States (PAD-US) on data acquisition and standards.

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