Conservation Easement

A conservation easement is a permanent legal agreement made between a landowner and a “land trust” (such as the JDCF) that permanently protects the natural, scenic, agricultural, and/or historic qualities of a piece of property. Conservation easements benefit the JDCF by helping us fulfill our mission of preserving land without actually buying property outright. The landowner continues to own the land and retains the ability to sell or transfer ownership of the land as he or she pleases. The JDCF “holds” the conservation easement and is responsible for making sure that the restrictions contained in the conservation easement are being upheld. This is done by maintaining good working relationships with the landowners and visiting the property at least once per year. A conservation easement benefits the landowner by providing him or her financial incentives. If a landowner donates a conservation easement to the JDCF, he or she is eligible for a tax deduction, the amount of which is equal to the appraised value of the conservation easement (usually anywhere from 15-50% of the property’s total appraised value). For example, if the appraised value of a property is $500,000 and the value of the conservation easement is appraised at 20% of the property’s total value, the landowner is eligible for a tax deduction of $100,000. Donating a conservation easement can also reduce the landowner’s estate taxes and property taxes. Conservation easements can also provide landowners with peace of mind by knowing that their special places will be preserved after they die. It is important to note that conservation easements are permanent, meaning that all future landowners will also be bound by the terms of the agreement. Conservation easements are legally binding documents and are recorded at the courthouse with the deed to the property. Regarding the effects of conservation easements on property values, the effects can vary with place and time. Undoubtedly, a conservation easement lowers the value of the property that is being restricted (this is the basis of the tax deduction). However, evidence suggests that most conservation easements do not hinder a property’s resale ability. Also, many studies show that protected open space (such as conservation easements) can increase the property values of adjacent properties and the surrounding area (see Land Trust Alliance Fact Sheet, “The Economic and Tax-Base Benefits of Conservation”). For more information, contact Jim Johannsen at landprotection@nulljdcf.org.

Upcoming Events

Snowshoe Hike & Cross Country Ski at Wapello

February 8, 2020 @ 11:00 am - 1:00 pm

Explore the trails of Wapello by snowshoe or ski and enjoy hot cocoa and cookies with the Friends of Wapello. With a nice layer of snow, wildlife tracks can be seen and traced around their habitat. The Friends of Wapello is a volunteer, civic organization created to promote, develop, and interpret the natural and archaeological […] Read More

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Woodcock Walk at Valley of Eden Bird Sanctuary

March 26, 2020 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Woodcocks, also known as timberdoodles, are one of nature’s earliest signs of spring. Learn how the woodcock dances in the sky and on the ground to attract a mate. The Valley of Eden short grassland habitat is thriving with wildlife of all kinds and we invite you to join us in viewing the sunset showing […] Read More

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Wanted: Volunteer Bluebird Monitors

April 16, 2020 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Details to come!

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iNaturalist Workshop

May 13, 2020 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Learn how the popular nature app, iNaturalist, can help you learn about nature. By recording your nature observations on iNat, you’re creating research quality data for scientists to use around the world. This online community will help you identify and understand the environment around you. Check it out at https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/about. We will start indoors in […] Read More

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