The Land Bank’s mission is a reflection of the community’s broad values united by a powerful vision: care of place. It demonstrates how strongly connected islanders feel to the unique landscape of the San Juan Islands.
We know the mark we make on the land is what most profoundly influences the legacy we leave future generations.
Our stewardship program puts the values and vision of the Land Bank mission into action, with the goal of understanding and protecting the significant conservation values of each property entrusted to our care.
What is Stewardship?
Stewardship includes a broad array of land management activities designed to protect the community’s investment. Stewardship is being a good neighbor.
When the Land Bank acquires a new preserve, stewardship staff first focus on learning about the land. This could include conducting biological inventories, doing historical research, meeting neighbors, or scouting out potential trail routes. It’s essential that we understand the land before undertaking any activities that could impact its function. Once this baseline information is assembled and processed, a management plan is created with input from the public. This valuable participation from the community helps guide the future for many of these lands and increases the effectiveness of our stewardship.
Many of our stewardship resources are directed toward lands open for public access. The Land Bank strives to provide the public with outstanding natural areas to visit with a minimum of infrastructure. Tasks range from the creation of trails to the design, installation, and maintenance of signage, parking, and other simple facilities as well as responding to visitor inquiries. In other cases, stewardship funding can be used to help restore a special habitat or deal with troublesome noxious weed invasions.
On privately-owned lands protected with conservation easements, stewardship involves yearly monitoring to ensure that easement terms are upheld. It is a high priority for staff to be readily available to discuss with landowners any ideas, questions, or concerns that arise.