About RRCT: Strategic Plan, Mission, Governance

This page includes detailed information on RRCT’s governance, strategic plan, bylaws, and more. Please contact us if you’d like even more detailed information on each of these topics.

Organizational Overview

Royal River Conservation Trust (RRCT) was founded in 1988. Today RRCT has completed over 5800 acres of conservation projects including 16 RRCT-owned preserves totaling more than 1100 acres; creation or expansion of more than 7 town-owned preserves (RRCT assists); more than 7 expansions to state-owned state park and wildlife areas (RRCT assists); and creation of 61 RRCT conservation easements including 9 working farm conservation easements. In addition to acquisition campaigns, RRCT has a $400,000 annual operations and land stewardship budget and growing long-term Stewardship Reserve Funds invested to care for our land for perpetuity. RRCT’s work is all thanks to 600 donor families, businesses, and individuals. RRCT works primarily in seven towns and cities in Androscoggin and Cumberland Counties forming the Royal River watershed:  Yarmouth, North Yarmouth, Pownal, New Gloucester, Gray, Durham, and Auburn. Our organizational history is here.

Strategic Plan 2020-2025 Overview

In June 2020, RRCT’s Board adopted a framework for its 2020-2025 Strategic Plan, while continuing to work on more detailed actions and metrics.  Below is the board-adopted content to date.

Pillar # 1 PROTECT: RRCT conserves land and water for habitat and human connection, responding to a changing climate and growing communities

By 2025 RRCT will conserve 1000 additional acres throughout the seven core communities served by RRCT: Yarmouth, North Yarmouth, Pownal, New Gloucester, Durham, Auburn and Gray.

How we’ll do it:  

1.1 Target highest value habitat and recreational connectivity.

1.2 Expand and connect certain current RRCT holdings.

1.3 Strengthen partnerships with other land conservation organizations and agencies.

Pillar #2 CONNECT: RRCT fosters strong human connections to the watershed’s land and water through quality public engagement

By 2025, RRCT will improve user experiences at RRCT-supported destinations and outdoor programs. 

How we’ll do it: 

2.1 Evaluate and improve user experiences.

2.2 Develop a highly interpretive trail in each of our seven core communities.

2.3 Expand programming with local schools, libraries, historical societies, and municipalities to connect people with the land.

Pillar # 3 ENGAGE: RRCT engages and strengthens relationships with individuals, communities, and organizations connected and committed to a healthy and sustainable watershed.

By 2025 RRCT will have 1000 diverse donor families, individuals, businesses, and like-minded organizations supporting the work of the Trust.

How we’ll do it:  

3.1 Use best practices for marketing and technology to become broadly known as a valued go-to community resource.   

3.2 Expand and deepen organizational outreach.

3.3 Add depth and breadth to the Business Partnership Program by engaging both business leaders and employees.

3.4 Advance fisheries restoration, climate resilience, and other goals through strong collaborations with like-minded organizations.

Pillar # 4 SUSTAIN: RRCT provides exemplary stewardship of the land and water we conserve. 

By 2025 RRCT will increase resources dedicated to stewardship.

How we’ll do it:

4.1 Increase our long-term Stewardship Reserve Fund to $1M by 2025.:

4.2 Grow our volunteer stewardship with a culture of volunteer-led projects and teams.

4.3 Implement management plans based on identified best use and ecological sensitivities.

Pillar # 5 FOUNDATIONAL STRENGTH: RRCT is an outstanding land trust with financial strength, policies, procedures, staff and volunteers in place to fulfill our mission.

By 2025 RRCT will implement and improve policies and standards in accordance with non-profit and land trust accreditation guidelines. 

How we’ll do it:  

5.1 Implement exemplary governance.

5.2 Operate from a position of financial strength.

5.3 Ensure sufficient and skilled human resources to implement the Trust’s goals.

Mission, Vision, and Guiding Principles

The Royal River Conservation Trust protects the natural, recreational, scenic, agricultural and historic resources of the Royal River region for current and future generations.

Guiding Principles

I. DIG DEEP. We conserve land in the Maine communities that comprise the Royal River watershed. We envision the Royal River’s communities woven together with accessible rivers, streams and corridors of conservation land. Protection of working farms supports local farmers, provides locally grown food, and maintains Maine’s rich agricultural heritage. Protection of varied landscapes supports diverse wildlife, clean water, and resilient ecology.

II. EXEMPLARY STEWARDSHIP. The watershed’s conserved lands should have exemplary management, accessibility, and promotion.

III. ROYAL RIVER EXPLORATIONS: Connected waterfronts, preserves, and forests provide a growing population with places to explore, learn, and nourish the soul.

IV. HEALTHY AQUATIC ECOSYSTEMS: We work to protect, improve and restore the water resources of the Royal River watershed and Casco Bay. Healthy aquatic ecosystems will be more resilient in the face of global climate change, and will be better able to meet the ever-growing demand by humans for clean water, food, jobs, and recreation.

V. STRATEGIC ORGANIZATIONAL ALIGNMENT: We work closely with private landowners and municipalities to accomplish shared goals. We are strategically and operationally aligned with other land trusts and conservation groups that also work in the twelve communities of the Royal River watershed.

VI. STRENGTH AND CREDIBILITY: We are a regional non-profit land trust supported by a growing membership of all ages and backgrounds. We are an organization of professional staff and volunteers, guided by the national land trust community’s highest standards and best practices.

Governance, Policies, Bylaws, IRS 990, More

Our volunteer Board of Directors includes a diverse representation of members of our local communities. We are always looking to recruit good new board members. Learn more about joining the board here. Meet the members of our current Board of Directors here.

Bylaws PDF: We are a membership organization, governed by our members.

Policies PDF March 2024: We are continuously updating our policies, aiming for national accreditation, and following national standards and practices today. These policies define our approach to many issues including our Stewardship Reserve Fund, endowment, land acquisition process, and more. Referenced and adopted within our adopted policies are standards and guidelines (not binding policies) of the national Land Trust Alliance.

Stewardship Guiding Documents including “Key principles” and “Standard practices.”

2021 IRS Form 990 as PDF: As an IRS 501(c)(3), we annually file an IRS Form 990. We offer to share our IRS 990 reports for prior years for review upon request. EIN 01-0472430

Our public reports: As a Maine non-profit, we annually file reports with or secure licenses from the State of Maine Conservation Easement Registry, Conservation Land Registry, the State of Maine’s charitable licensing office, and the Maine Secretary of State. Contact us if you’d like to review any of these reports.