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

Potluck & Program: The Prairies of Pre-Settlement Jo Daviess County

June 7 @ 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm

What did the landscape of Jo Daviess County look like prior to the arrival of the first European settlers? JDCF, in partnership with the Galena/Jo Daviess County Historical Society and Museum and the Galena Cellars Vineyard, invite you to a June 7 presentation by Illinois Natural Area Surveyor Randy Nyboer.  Randy will address this question and […] Read More

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Bluebird Trail Walk

June 10 @ 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

The Bluebird Recovery Program of JDCF invites everyone to enjoy a Bluebird Trail Walk on Saturday morning from 9 AM to noon at Casper Bluff Land & Water Reserve. No reservations are necessary and this event is free.  This is a great opportunity to experience an outdoor Bluebird adventure for people of all ages.  Guided […] Read More

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Camp Casper Nature Camp

June 19 @ 8:30 am - June 23 @ 12:00 pm

Camp Casper 2017 will focus on water and has many exciting activities planned for kids ages 9-13.  There will be field trips the Galena History Museum to learn about the Galena River and it’s influence on this area’s history as well as a tour of the Mississippi River on Chestnut Mountain’s river tour boat.  To register, […] Read More

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Meteors on the Mound

August 12 @ 7:00 pm - 11:00 pm

JDCF and the Planetary Studies Foundation (PSF) invite the public to a night sky viewing event. As part of the Perseid meteor shower that will be taking place, PSF planetary geologist, Dr. Paul Sipiera will be sharing his expertise in the area of meteorites beginning around 7:30 p.m. At 8:30 p.m., Diane Sipiera, Executive Director of […] Read More

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