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We Did It! We're Now A Nationally Accredited Land Trust!

Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy has earned national recognition as an accredited land trust from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance.

Accreditation is awarded to land trusts that have completed a comprehensive and rigorous third-party review of their policies and practices and successfully shown that they meet or exceed the highest national standards for excellence, accountability, and conservation permanence. Demonstrating such a strong commitment to these standards helps to enhance the trust and confidence a land trust has with its conservation partners, members, donors, foundations, landowners, and communities in which they work. It also has the potential to open up additional funding opportunities in furtherance of the land trust’s mission.

“It is exciting to recognize Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy with this national mark of distinction,” said Melissa Kalvestrand, executive director of the Commission. “Donors and partners can trust that the more than 450 accredited land trusts across the country are united behind strong standards and have demonstrated sound finances, ethical conduct, responsible governance, and lasting stewardship.” Per the Commission, “accredited land trusts steward almost 20 million acres of land – the size of Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island combined.”

As most of our supporters and followers know, we have been working since 1990 to preserve and enhance the quality, natural beauty, biological diversity, ecological health, and outdoor recreational opportunities of the lands and waters throughout the Chautauqua region for present and future generations. Today, we own and actively manage 35 nature preserves on more than 1,250 acres of land, protecting numerous wetlands and other sensitive habitats. We also provide programs to educate residents, landowners, businesses, governments, and other organizations about best land management practices and other conservation tools for community involvement in protecting the region’s natural resources. One of those programs, LakeScapes, was given special recognition by the Commission during the Conservancy’s accreditation review process.

Rebecca Nystrom, our board of directors chair, commented that, “It is with a deep sense of accomplishment and gratitude that Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy has achieved the distinction and honor of national accreditation by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, in recognition of our 34+ years of steadfast, adaptive, and effective programs and activities protecting the vital ecosystems, water quality, and the scenic beauty of the woodlands, wetlands, waterways, and shorelands of the Chautauqua region. Special recognition and thanks must be given to our dedicated staff, whose diligence and countless hours rigorously documenting the Conservancy’s fiscal accountability, strong organizational leadership, conservation ethic, and commitment to national standards of excellence were invaluable in achieving this recognition."

If you want to know more about accreditation and/or the process, visit the Land Trust Accreditation’s website at


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