Conservation Connect was initially funded by a three-year USDA Conservation Innovation Grant in 2005. This grant was awarded to the Mississippi & Missouri Divide Resource Conservation & Development office in Carroll, IA. The Conservation Innovation Grant was a national grant with the goal of developing outreach to absentee landowners about conservation programs.
Conservation Connect works to inform and assist absentee landowners with understanding and implementing conservation programs on their land. The Conservation Connect website is designed to help absentee landowners understand the different programs available, which agencies to contact, and the tools needed to implement conservation.
Another goal of Conservation Connect is to increase implementation of wildlife habitat management and other conservation practices on private lands owned by absentee landowners. Conservation Connect provides specialized tools and services and acts as an advocate for more than 40 percent of our nation’s landowners – those who do not operate the agricultural land they own. Project partners are currently seeking opportunities to sustain Conservation Connect as a long-term, not-for-profit conservation resource to absentee landowners.
- To assist absentee landowners with understanding conservation by providing information on services, programs, and tools available.
- To develop outreach methods to absentee landowners who are unconnected to conservation.
- To obtain more demographic data on absentee landowners to reach them better in the future.
- To demonstrate and evaluate the use of innovative approaches to contacting, educating, and communicating with absentee landowners on conservation issues in eight pilot watersheds or counties.
- To develop and promote an online clearinghouse of tools and resources that will empower absentee landowners to improve and preserve wildlife habitat.
- To develop a framework for providing market-based Resource Management System or whole farm planning services.
- To develop best practice recommendations for absentee landowner outreach and promote the understanding and use of these recommendations to other organizations with an interest in protecting and improving wildlife habitat.