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

Movie Event: Intelligent Trees with Randy Nyboer Speaking

March 2 @ 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Do trees have human-like characteristics? That’s the premise of this 45-minute documentary film, which features German forester Peter Wohlleben, and is based on his internationally best-selling book, “The Hidden Life of Trees.” The film will be screened at the Galena Territory Association Owners Club with doors opening at 6, the movie at 7 followed by […] Read More

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JDCF Annual Meeting with Lydia Scott, Director of the Chicago Region Trees Initiative at the Morton Arboretum

March 30 @ 4:30 pm - 8:00 pm

The public is invited to attend JDCF’s annual meeting for an interactive social hour, election and re-election of board members, and the announcement of the recipient of the 2018 Nancy Hamill Winter Conservation Leadership Award.  Our keynote speaker will be Lydia Scott, Director of the Chicago Region Trees Initiative and Manager of Community Trees Program at […] Read More

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JDCF’s Biggest Tree Contest

April 1 @ 8:00 am - October 1 @ 5:00 pm

You may hear people speak of them reverently. You might catch word of a “big tree,” an important tree, a “Champion Tree.” But what does this mean? JDCF is sponsoring a Biggest Tree Contest to recognize the largest tree within each of the designated native tree species that grow in Carroll, Jo Daviess, and Stephenson […] Read More

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Wine & Woodcocks Viewing Party

April 18 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Bring a lawn chair, blanket, and beverage of choice and join us at dusk to learn about and view woodcocks at JDCF’s Valley of Eden Bird Sanctuary.  It is a half mile hike to the viewing area and an ATV will be available for those needing assistance. A flashlight may be helpful for the walk […] Read More

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