Potomac Conservancy Stewardship & Outreach Specialist
When our communities invest in land protection, we are taking an important action to preserve the quality of life for our children and grandchildren. We all benefit from fresh air, agricultural production, wildlife, beautiful scenery, and clean water!
That's why it's so critical to support incentives and programs that boost land conservation, particularly on private lands.
Tax incentives help make land conservation “a real and affordable option for many landowners,” but the Conservation Easement Federal Tax Incentive recently expired. Land Trust Alliance (LTA) confirms that since 2006, “conservation easement donations increased by more than 30 percent, to 1 million acres a year, as a result of this tax incentive.” Now, that's progress! Organizations, like LTA, are making important strides in reintroducing this important easement incentive and making it permanent.
So what IS a conservation easement and how does it increase land protection?
When I talk to people about land conservation, I'm often asked this question. The term "easement" can easily be mistaken as a form of protection on public lands like parks, preserves, and refuges; however, a conservation easement is a vital source for protection of private land.
When a landowner wants to protect the special values of their property, such as agricultural soils and wildlife habitat, Potomac Conservancy works with them to create a document that will ensure their intentions, along with the conservation values, are protected forever. In a nutshell, an easement is a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and an organization or a government entity that limits uses of the land.
To date, we have worked one-on-one with private landowners and placed over 70 properties in conservation easement. All this adds up to saving over 13,100 acres of land in the headwaters region from future development!
And let me point out that we should give these landowners a big THANK YOU! These landowners not only volunteer to protect their land, but most actually donate their development rights.
Tax incentives are an important resource that many private landowners need to donate their property. Act now in support of the Conservation Easement Federal Tax Incentive and help us keep our streamside lands verdant and vibrant forever!
Click on the LTA picture (below) to learn more about the Tax Incentive
and what YOU can do to help!