May 21, 2010
The WRP will host the first Landscape Auction in the United States on August 14, 2010 at Vermont Technical College in Randolph Center, VT. The WRP received grant funding from the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service and Forest Service to pilot this new market mechanism in partnership with Triple E, a Dutch consulting firm.
A Landscape Auction is a live auction that allows individuals, groups, and businesses to “adopt” elements of a landscape. Example elements include public access to a specific natural resource, the improvement of threatened wildlife habitat, or the management of a working landscape. While the landowner remains the owner of the element, the highest bidder enjoys a tangible connection to a specific, threatened resource and to the landowner who maintains that resource. Proceeds from the purchase go to the landowner to guarantee the continued protection of the landscape element.
Landscape Auctions originated in The Netherlands as a new financing tool to attract private capital for nature conservation and landscape protection. Over the past three years, Triple E (the company that developed the concept) has been successful raising private funds to conserve haystacks, windmills, tulip fields, etc. – anything and everything that makes up the landscape – in Europe.
In collaboration with Triple E, the White River Partnership has recruited a group of 9 watershed landowners whose land use practices highlight the diversity of the watershed’s geography and working landscape. These participating landowners have selected “landscape elements” that are in need of financial support, and have calculated the management costs involved to protect these elements for a given period of time (for example 10 – 20 years).
During the auction, participating “buyers” will place a bid for these landscape elements. The successful bidder will “adopt” the element by paying the landowner the management costs calculated for the respective element. To insure that the funds raised during a Landscape Auction will be spent appropriately, the White River Partnership will sign contractual agreements with the landowners and the successful bidders. Bids are tax-deductible as payments go directly to a charitable organization.
Any business, organization, or individual that is looking to safeguard the White River watershed’s landscape, is invited to attend the August 14 event and to participate as a “bidder.” More information about specific auction items will be available soon!