Ecosystem Services in Working Lands: US Northeast

Private programs are slightly more represented in the data than partnership programs; however, there are still substantially fewer of them than there are public programs, regardless of scale.

• These private programs are the work of various foundations or funding networks, including most notably the Conservation Fund, Audubon International and its state chapters, and Ducks Unlimited, among others. • Watershed organizations like Maine Lakes and NH Lakes are also important in organizing rebate programs for landowners, through their LakeSmart programs. LakeSmart is an education, evaluation, and recognition program that is free, voluntary, and non-regulatory and helps lakefront homeowners manage landscapes in ways that protect water quality. Through this program, trained volunteers perform property assessments for participating homeowners, who then receive individualized suggestions for keeping pollutants in stormwater out of lake waters. Sites that score well earn the coveted LakeSmart Award, a type of certification for houses engaging in sustainable, water quality-friendly practices.

Although less representative in this sample, privately organized regional programs offer a number of unique approaches for incentivizing ecosystem service provisioning.

• The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative supports the development of a CO 2 Budget Trading Program.

• The Highstead Foundation’s Regional Conservation Partnership activates networks of partners concerned with conservation issues.

• The Chesapeake Bay Funders network gathers grant makers that want to develop collaborative strategies to support communities and the natural environment in the Chesapeake region.

• The Lake Champlain Basin Program offers the support and services of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (in-lieu of grant funding) to work on behalf of issues related to the Lake Champlain watershed.

4.5.4 Opportunities to expand market presence Beyond the organizational breakdown of these programs, there were noticeable trends in programs that provide opportunities to expand market presence. Such opportunities centered around certification programs and conservation finance programs. These programs usually certify goods and services based on whether they are produced or delivered according to specific business practices. These certifications usually mean that the producer or provider can charge a higher price and/or attach a "certified" label to their product or service. • The Green Business Certification from Green America and the Green Business Certification program from the Maryland Department of Environmental Protection encourage lodging facilities, restaurants, grocers and other businesses to implement specific green initiatives. • Other notable programs in this category include the Best for DMV program, which aims to rapidly expand the number of businesses in the Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area that incorporate social and ecological impacts into their business models. Apart from these certification programs, there are also a number of conservation finance programs, including green banks, revolving loans, and investment funds, among others. Unlike certification programs, which incentivize certain practices, these programs provide mission- or value-driven financing to entities that want to generate profit and provide returns to natural resources and ecosystems.

• The New York Green Bank and the D.C. Green Bank use public funding to attract private investment for green energy systems across their respective regions.


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