Environmental Conservation Goal Components

Five key elements of conservation plans were identified and used to establish a base for the conservation efforts organizations in California aim to achieve. For this project, existing strategic plans were investigted to provide context for the Sierra Cascade Land Trust Council’s (SCLTC) Strategic Conservation Action Plan (S-CAP).

Amy Wilson Consulting (Land and Water Connections Consulting)

Date Completed
Fall 2020

Contractor, researcher

About Client

Land and Water Connections focuses on building community resilience through increasing equitable access to nature. Amy Wilson Morris leads community-based planning, action-oriented research, and provides strategic planning services for non-profits, foundations, and public agencies.


Strategic plans are essential tools for communicating an organization’s overall purpose and measuring how well the organization achieves what it sets out to do. Effective strategic plans are able to unite a vision and its execution. Plans whose goals contributed to environmental conservation in the Sierra Cascade region in California contained five key elements that attributed the vision and execution.

Elements of environmental conservation strategic plans for local, state, regional agencies, and land trusts.

These key elements establish a base for the conservation efforts these organizations aim to achieve. For this project, I researched, reviewed, and summarized existing strategic plans to provide context for the Sierra Cascade Land Trust Council’s (SCLTC) Strategic Conservation Action Plan (S-CAP). SCLTC is a network of land trusts action as a collective voice in the diverse region of the Sierra Cascade region, CA that supports the pace, scale and permanence of land conservation to protect the natural, historic and agricultural resources for generations to come.

Strategic plans within the Sierra Cascade region were mostly applied at the national scale, but were also found for local, state, count, and regional scale conservation efforts.

In order to evaluate and understand the 60+ strategic plans reviewed, the following list of conservation goal components shows a subset of components used to understand the plans goals and desired impact.

Conservation Goal ComponentDescription
Wildlife BiodiversityProtecting special status and protected species; increasing species richness, diversity and other diversity indices; preservation of native species and reduction of non-native or invasive species
Land Use/CoverManagement or conservation of physical and vegetative land types; exploration of historic or modern habitat type scenarios
RecreationProtecting and improving parks, trails, and the scenic value of landscapes; increasing outdoor services related to education, tourism, hunting, and other recreational activities
Justice/EquityIncreased representation and provision of resources for historically disadvantaged groups and identities
Public HealthMinimization of risks to public health; improving social systems to increase safety
Agriculture/Working LandsPreserving land for agricultural practices, range and croplands; ensure and promote sustainable agricultural practices; ensuring food security
The few selected conservation goal components included in this table were chosen based on topics found in the reviewed plans and from responses to a survey of SCLTC member organizations in July 2020.

Many state and regional plans cover a variety of conservation goals such as preservation of wildlife habitat, economic development, and management of land use in the face of growth and development. Most strategic plans for individual land trusts focused on improving water resources; preserving lands for habitat, recreation, and natural value; and improving recreational experiences for future generations.

Word cloud of most common works for land trusts strategic plans.

The summaries produced from this research were used to identify gaps in resource and plan allocations for conservation goal components and were recommended to the SCLTC as areas of focus for future strategic plans. The overall planning process was led by Amy Wilson Morris (Land and Water Connections Consulting). The final SCLTC Strategic Conservation Action Plan Report can be found here: https://www.sierracascadelandtrustcouncil.org/reports/strategic-conservation-action-plan/.

“I highly recommend Gloria for any organization that wants to strengthen its conservation and sustainability work. I hired Gloria to work with me on a large-scale conservation planning effort for the Sierra Cascade region. She did a great job evaluating and bringing together a huge amount of data about regional conservation priorities. Gloria has a unique combination of knowledge about forestry and natural resources management, strong GIS experience, and excellent communication skills. As a result, Gloria would be a great project leader or she could contribute her terrific skills and experience as a part of a larger team.”

Amy Wilson Morris