LCA Trust assets will be disbursed in order to:
· Preserve and/or restore open spaces, natural areas and their resources.
· Promote smart-growth ideals which aid in conservation efforts.
· Protect flood plains, wetlands and waterways.
· Preserve land for scenic/aesthetic value and recreational use; wildlife habitats, corridors and greenways; and fragile ecosystems.
· Protect lands that being used for farming or pasture so that such uses can continue.
· Enhance access to public lands and promote the integration of public lands into living communities.
· Utilize undeveloped urban land for spatial definition of urban areas
· Contain the threat of urban and suburban sprawl.
THE LCA TRUST: EMERGENCY FUNDING, LEGAL DEFENSE and ADVOCACY
One of the biggest obstacles to local land conservation and preservation efforts is the lack of access to emergency funding and/or legal resources. LCA Trust helps organizations in three important ways:
· Emergency funding for land acquisition
LCA Trust will have funds available for the urgent purchase of land for preservation or the purchase of conservation easements when local land trusts cannot react quickly enough. The purchase will be undertaken by the staff of the LCA Trust, which will hold or transfer title to local land trusts for ongoing stewardship of land, in its natural state, for the benefit of all.
Funds for emergency land purchases will come from the Emerging Opportunities Fund of the Land Conservation and Advocacy Trust, Inc.
· Legal representation
Too often, important land conservation, preservation or smart-growth opportunities are lost because local conservation organizations do not have access to—or sufficient funding for—qualified legal assistance. This is especially true when important lands are threatened by large development interests with significant financial resources at their immediate disposal.
The LCA Trust levels the legal and financial playing field by providing legal representation for parties that would go un- or under-represented in these cases, or by providing the funding necessary for them to obtain representation on their own.
LCA Trust staff attorneys and/or the cooperating attorneys in our legal network provide legal representation on a pro bono or, in some cases, on an adjusted fee basis. The professional fees paid to cooperating attorneys, as well as the direct funding made available for obtaining legal resources outside of the LCA Trust, will come from the Legal Defense Fund of the Land Conservation and Advocacy Trust, Inc.
· Legal advocacy
The LCA Trust is committed to help conservation organizations create and influence land conservation and smart-growth development policies through the courts. We act as an amicus litigant (friend of the court) in appeals where these ideals are at issue. An amicus litigant does not represent any party to the litigation; instead, it provides an influential and independent voice for change by filing briefs with the appellate court in support of a particular legal interpretation.
Our legal advocacy work is performed by LCA Trust staff attorneys, as well cooperating attorneys who are part of the LCA Trust’s legal network.
The LCA Trust provides amicus advocacy on a pro bono basis or, in some cases, on an adjusted fee basis to other qualified organizations. The cost of acting as an amicus litigant may be paid out of the Conservation and Policy Fund of the Land Conservation and Advocacy Trust, Inc.
HOW THE LCA TRUST WORKS
Our goal is to enable quick decision-making and response in situations where there is an urgent need for action. Funding can often be made available in as little 24 to 48 hours after approval by the LCA Trust staff.
The LCA Trust staff assesses requests for emergency funding and legal resources on the basis of their alignment with, and potential for greatest positive impact on, the core values, mission, and goals of the LCA Trust. This assessment is done immediately upon receipt. Requests for legal advocacy or litigation support are also evaluated based on staff availability and the complexity and expected timeframe of the action.
The LCA Trust is a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c) (3) organization. Primary funding for the LCA Trust comes from charitable contributions and grants. Secondary funding comes from the regeneration of previous funding from the proceeds of the resale of easements and land to local stewards that are themselves formed as charitable (501(c) (3) land trusts. The funding goal of the LCA Trust is to grow through contributions and donations, and to replenish disbursements through at-cost transfers of land and conservation easements to local stewardship organizations.