Archive: Land Trusts

Land Acquisition Strategy: Michigan City

This Land Acquisition Strategy was created to facilitate Michigan City in acquiring land for the sustainable management of stormwater through nature-based solutions and the protection of high-value natural areas by documenting institutional knowledge on land acquisition deals for conservation purposes and creating an easy-to-implement acquisition process.

Regenerative Agriculture Factsheet for Public Agencies

In order to successfully use regenerative agriculture as a system to manage farmland, it is important to ensure that land managers and decision makers understand the key principles of regenerative agriculture. Though several definitions have been developed, they are all based on the idea that soil is a living, functioning system. This brief overview helps illustrate why land-owning public agencies can use regenerative agriculture for their farmland.

Chicago Neighborhood Inclusive Redevelopment Strategy

Chicago has become a tale of two cities. In most of the City’s neighborhoods, income has declined, middle-class residents and immigrants are leaving, and employment opportunities are scarce. Yet the housing burden and the cost of living continue to rise. In this paper, Delta proposes to work with low- and moderate-income communities to create the Chicago Neighborhood Land Bank and Trust (CNLB&T). CNLB&T can create the capacity for member communities to manage their own redevelopment to achieve equity by building agency, assets, and opportunities for their residents.

Land Value: Exploring the Current Agricultural Land Valuation System

This section is a portion of our “Land Tenure and Conservation in Agriculture: Creating Incentives for Landowners” report issued in May 2019. This report explores the network of stakeholders, policies, and institutions through which soil health can be linked to the value of the land and serve as an incentive to change management of that land—and compiles a set of resources that may be taken in concert or used separately by a variety of stakeholders to advance soil health and agricultural
conservation practices on farmland in the Midwest and beyond.

Land Management through Leasing

This section is a portion of our “Land Tenure and Conservation in Agriculture: Creating Incentives for Landowners” report issued in May 2019. This report explores the network of stakeholders, policies, and institutions through which soil health can be linked to the value of the land and serve as an incentive to change management of that land—and compiles a set of resources that may be taken in concert or used separately by a variety of stakeholders to advance soil health and agricultural
conservation practices on farmland in the Midwest and beyond.

Farmland Leasing Toolkit for Land Managers

This section is a portion of our “Land Tenure and Conservation in Agriculture: Creating Incentives for Landowners” report issued in May 2019. This report explores the network of stakeholders, policies, and institutions through which soil health can be linked to the value of the land and serve as an incentive to change management of that land—and compiles a set of resources that may be taken in concert or used separately by a variety of stakeholders to advance soil health and agricultural conservation practices on farmland in the Midwest and beyond.

Advocacy and Action for Incentivizing Conservation

This section is a portion of our “Land Tenure and Conservation in Agriculture: Creating Incentives for Landowners” report issued in May 2019. The report explores the network of stakeholders, policies, and institutions through which soil health can be linked to the value of the land and serve as an incentive to change management of that land—and compiles a set of resources that may be taken in concert or used separately by a variety of stakeholders to advance soil health and agricultural conservation practices on farmland in the Midwest and beyond.

State of Land Stewardship in Illinois

Roughly 50,000 acres of the 1.5 million total acres of conserved land in Illinois are owned by non-governmental conservation groups, also known as conservation land trusts. Traditionally, conservation land trusts have protected land, often restored it, and later transferred it to government entities for long-term ownership, which effectively transfers the responsibility of land stewardship to those governmental entities. Funded by the Grand Victoria Foundation, a team of nonprofits led by Delta collaborated on a research project to understand and map out the current conditions of conservation organization-based land stewardship in Illinois.

Land Tenure and Conservation in Agriculture

With support from the Walton Family Foundation, we released this report and analysis on land ownership, leasing, and tenure as levers to expand conservation practices to rebuild soil health throughout the Midwest. This report explores the network of stakeholders, policies, and institutions through which soil health can be linked to the value of the land and serve as an incentive to change management of that land—and compiles a set of resources that may be taken in concert or used separately by a variety of stakeholders to advance soil health and agricultural conservation practices on farmland in the Midwest and beyond. Specifically, this body of work focused on land trust and publicly held land holdings in Illinois, and how rental agreements can help ownership meet their stewardship goals.

Integrated Strategies to Reduce Nutrient Loss and Regenerate Soils

Nutrient losses and soil degradation are symptomatic of the current state of agricultural systems that define much of the Illinois landscape. Excessive nutrients in waterways are currently the leading cause of water quality impairments in the Midwest and across the globe. Furthermore, the loss of soil and its carbon-rich organic matter is detrimental to crop cultivation, water quality and infiltration, nutrient cycling, pest moderation, as well as the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The first part outlines markets drivers that could provide mechanisms to advance the plans proposed in the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy (NLRS), in addition to various policy and social drivers that could be leveraged in Illinois. The second part focuses on the role of Illinois state agencies in advancing the NLRS and highlights the opportunities to leverage resources that support its implementation. The third part identifies opportunities for broader programmatic alignment between the NLRS and soil health to move toward a recarbonized rural landscape that provides water quality, climate and community benefits. We provide a snapshot of available models and tools highlighting the gaps and opportunities in utilizing those tools to support successful development and adoption of market drivers, reducing pollution, and strengthening the sustainability of agricultural systems in Illinois. This work was funded by the Walton Family Foundation.

Support Us

Create a thriving Midwest for tomorrow by supporting Delta today.