Huey Johnson
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Huey D. Johnson
Resource Renewal Institute
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415 928-3774
hdj@rri.org
Huey D. Johnson

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What's On Huey Johnson's Mind: New and Evolving Ideas

LAND

DEFENSE OF PLACE
Defense of Place is the only organization in the United States devoted solely to assuring that parks, open space, and wildlife refuges stay protected in perpetuity. As some of you know, I would rather be fishing and spending time with my grandsons than working to get another young organization off the ground. But the need exists for an organization to defend the land we've worked so long and hard to protect. With recent successes in the state of Michigan, Defense of Place is poised to extend its reach to the rest of the nation. Based in California, this nimble watchdog is protecting as much as it can. However, those who find themselves struggling against universities, institutions-even land trusts-in the fight to protect land they love must know that there is place to turn for help. I find myself wondering how best to spread the word to small communities across the country that are ill-prepared to challenge those willing to put profit before principle.

Find out more

WATER

RRI WATER HERITAGE TRUST
Water Heritage Trust intends to do for water what land trusts have done for open space:
preserve it-for the sake of endangered fish and wildlife and the future quality of life for all. Because of Water Heritage Trust's unique opportunity to purchase water flowing in perpetuity, a river flowing forever can be both symbol and reality. Gifts of $100 buy Water Heritage Trust's stewardship of the flowing water, membership among other honored individuals, and an enduring natural gift for those who support heritage flows. Help us set a new precedent for water stewardship!

http://www.waterheritagetrust.org/donate.html

STEELHEAD PROJECT
Helping steelhead offers a track for saving the water in which they live. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that licenses utilities and others to build dams on western rivers is a place to start, with old permits running out and new contracts being rewritten. In re-licensing, FERC can require that an increased level of so-called 'environmental water' be released each day to sustain the river in question.

LAND ACQUISITION TO SUPPORT WATER FOR WILDLIFE AND HERITAGE FLOWS
I aim to build political support in many regions in order to achieve better federal tax treatment relative to conservation-focused acquisition of water rights. In other words, the tax incentives that have underpinned the land conservation movement may have the same potency in the comparatively nascent water conservation movement, and we are trying to test the idea. Changing federal policy and practices regarding water and instream flows on federal lands would make significant headway towards water for wildlife.

In addition to my efforts to buy water for the purpose of leaving it flowing forever to the sea, I concluded that buying ranchland with abundant, very senior water rights could work. That way, we could remove some of the water ownership, leaving enough to run the ranches successfully and resell the rest.

RRI is also making an effort to educate the public in the western United States regarding the limits of water and the importance of managing it.

Contact Huey Johnson at hdj@rri.org.

RRI WESTERN WATER PROGRAM
In the arid American West, water is the issue above all others. The availability of water will determine the quality of life for the region; however, water supplies are precarious. Only urgent action can protect clean, free-running (instream) water in our rivers and streams as perpetual heritage flows.

RRI is positioned to build a strong, organized movement in the West to promote the fair allocation of water to support biodiversity as well as non-consumptive uses that people can directly enjoy. This approach can unite water activists and conservationists to build a body politic for major policy change.

Western Water Program Goals:

Build a strong, collaborative community committed to instream flow in the West.
• lead the effort to build a strong alliance of organizations, both public and private, dedicated to preserving instream flows in the West.
• Engage the land trust community in acquisition of water rights.
• Conduct outreach and public education campaigns.
• Provide strategic guidance to the philanthropic community in order to strengthen key initiatives and organizations with increased funding.

Change federal tax policy to enhance the value of gifts and purchases of water rights.
• Use newly developed organizational infrastructure to build political support in many regions in order to achieve better federal tax treatment relative to conservation-focused acquisition of water rights.

Change federal policy and practices regarding water and instream flows on federal lands.
• Directly influence water policy on federal lands, especially those controlled by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Reclamation through voter education.

http://www.rri.org/get_donate.html

SCIENTIFIC INTEGRITY AND GREEN PLANNING

RRI CALIFORNIA CENTER FOR PUBLIC HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT
The Resource Renewal Institute proposes that California needs a single, trusted information source for industry, government, environmental and public health organizations, and citizens to make scientifically-based decisions that shape our future on Earth. Establishing Information Earth ('InfoEarth Center') will help cure the chaotic, destructive corruption of information by special interests and aid decision-making on climate change, public health, economic, and environmental issues.

The InfoEarth Center lays the groundwork for the future health and protection of our environment and human populations statewide, nationally, and globally. Advancing society's ability to objectively identify critical environmental and public heath goals is the Center's first priority.

The California prototype will develop a state-of-the-art technology platform that is readily adaptable to environmental and public health applications by other states and nations. Guided by The Netherlands' RIVM prototype, decades of Green Plan study and advocacy by RRI, and an RRI/RIVM exchange, the InfoEarth Center will borrow and apply strategies and software already developed by such notable projects as the Encyclopedia of Life, Biodiversity Heritage Library, Smithsonian Institution, and Arkive to encompass information from around the globe and serve the global population. Ultimately, RRI expects the Center to be permanently endowed and/or supported by matching government funds. Regardless of funding sources, Information Earth will remain an independent operation.

Information Earth: an Information Center for California's Public Health and Environment

Summary

InfoEarth Center
The Resource Renewal Institute (RRI) proposes that California needs a single, trusted information source for industry, government, environmental and public health organizations, and citizens to make scientifically based decisions that shape our future on Earth. Establishing Information Earth ('InfoEarth Center') will help cure the chaotic, destructive corruption of information by special interests and aid decision-making on climate change, public health, economic, and environmental issues.

Netherlands Model and Scientific Objectivity
The Netherlands' National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM) is a fiercely independent, government-funded research science institute that monitors and assesses environmental and health conditions on national and international levels. The InfoEarth Center will use the example of The Netherlands' RIVM, since its scientific objectivity and absolute protection of data are achievable goals for a California prototype. With the RIVM's successfully operational model, RRI proposes the InfoEarth Center as a critical early step for measuring and managing global warming effects now.

Public Education, Policy Analysis, and Green Planning
The InfoEarth Center lays the groundwork for the future health and protection of our environment and human populations statewide, nationally, and globally. Advancing society's ability to objectively identify critical environmental and public heath goals is the Center's first priority.

The InfoEarth Center will bring science to life through an interactive, multimedia, Graphic User Interface that will be GIS-based and dynamically updated. Like the RIVM, Information Earth will develop models, methodologies, and formats that will lead to integrated environmental policies similar to those of The Netherlands. So successful are these environmental policies, known as 'Green Plans,' that the European Union and other nations have adopted them. A foundation for 'green planning,' the InfoEarth Center will allow California, and the United States, to keep pace with the EU.

Foundation in 21st Century Technologies
Information Earth will employ diverse technologies developed over the past 40 years for other applications that have thus far been applied to significant but less comprehensive environmental and resource tasks. The Internet-based InfoEarth Center will provide unsurpassed scientific review of information from many reputable sources in a fluid, transparent, and publicly accessible body. It will comprise three main areas: (1) research and monitoring; (2) modeling, risk assessment, and forecasting; and (3) information display and education. The InfoEarth Center will focus on combining the latest and best information with next-generation software to create tools for displaying, projecting, analyzing, and updating trends and conditions anywhere on Earth. As a single information source for use by all, the InfoEarth Center's largest role will be as the independent 'bureau of standards' against which both private and public action can be judged.

Build Replicable Prototype Using Established Strategies and Tools
The California prototype will develop a state-of-the-art technology platform that is readily adaptable to environmental and public health applications by other states and nations. Guided by the RIVM prototype, decades of Green Plan study and advocacy by RRI, and an RRI/RIVM exchange, the InfoEarth Center will borrow and apply strategies and software already developed by such notable projects as the Encyclopedia of Life, Biodiversity Heritage Library, Smithsonian Institution, and Arkive to encompass information from around the globe and serve the global population. Ultimately, RRI expects the Center to be permanently endowed and/or supported by matching government funds. Regardless of funding sources, Information Earth will remain an independent operation.

First Steps: Engage Senior Staff to Identify and Reach Milestones
The InfoEarth Center's first tasks will be to recruit an Interim Executive Director, an information technology team, a development officer, and public relations staff. The Center will immediately assemble an Advisory Board of scientists, experts, and leaders to address issues of independence; prioritization; intellectual property; and data storage, collection, and presentation among others.

The InfoEarth Center plans to launch an informational website within six months, secure a permanent physical location in California by the end of Year One, and progress toward the goal of partial prototype operation early in Year Two. RRI will initially house operations in an effort to create a robust and flexible platform for successive, replicable expansion of the InfoEarth Center in other states and nations.

Year One Budget
The first year preliminary budget is $600,000, with approximately $450,000 in salaries, and the remaining $150,000 allocated for rent, equipment, meetings and conferences, public relations, and other supplies.

Funding
Possible sources of funding include, among many others: the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, David and Lucille Packard Foundation, and William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. RRI aspires to develop a permanent endowment for the InfoEarth Center, along with support from government funds, access fees, and other funding strategies. In order to build and sustain itself as an institution serving the world community for decades to come, the InfoEarth Center will remain an independent, objective, non-governmental, and transparent operation.

A summary such as this cannot accommodate the complex, detailed plan and budget for Information Earth. A longer, more detailed document is available for further information from Huey Johnson (hdj@rri.org). See rri.org for more information on Green Plans and RRI's activities.

Posted on January 3, 2008 5:05 PM |

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