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

Experience Gateway Park – A Walking Tour

October 3 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Galena Gateway Park

Join JDCF and Field Museum staff for a guided tour of Gateway Park.  The walk will take place on mowed trails over rolling terrain.  We will meet in the parking lot off of Powderhouse Hill Rd at 1:00 PM.  The event is free and RSVP’s are not required.

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Potluck & Program, “Pests to Protein: Insects & Our Food”

October 5 @ 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Woodbine Bend Golf Course

Going back to the plagues of ancient times, insects have threatened our food.  In today’s gardens and fields, the state-of-the-art method of control is called Integrated Pest Management.  Which bugs are really a threat?  And when and how should we control them?  Our experts will tell you. …  And what about the food value of […] Read More

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Creatures of the Night – Owls & Bats

October 15 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Belden School, GTA

Bring the family and explore the nocturnal lives of owls and bats.  This program, geared towards a middle school grade level, introduces the life cycle of the owl and its food and habitat.  It also identifies the characteristics that make the owl a perfect predator and member of the raptor family.  Participants will also get […] Read More

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Owl Prowl at Casper Bluff

December 10 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Casper Bluff Land & Water Reserve

We will begin the event by examining the contents of owl pellets to see what these nocturnal birds of prey eat.  This will be followed by a night hike through Casper Bluff to identify different owls by their calls.  The family-friendly event is free to the public and RSVP’s are not required.

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