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

Bonfire on the Bluff

January 27 @ 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm

JDCF and Fever River Outfitters invite you and your entire family to Casper Bluff Land & Water Reserve for Bonfire on the Bluff, a great outdoor adventure on Saturday, January 27th, 2018 from 5:00-8:00 PM.  This event offers you the opportunity to see Casper Bluff as never before. Come hike candle-lit trails, watch the beautiful […] Read More

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JDCF Annual Meeting

April 7 @ 4:30 pm - 8:30 pm

The public is invited to JDCF’s annual meeting on Saturday, April 7th, 2018 beginning with a social hour at 4:30 PM.  Our keynote speaker will be Jon Greendeer, Former President of the Ho-Chunk Nation.  The cost is $45/per person and includes a buffet dinner.  Cash bar available. Please call the JDCF office at 815.858.9100 for […] Read More

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Valley of Eden Bird Sanctuary Grand Opening

June 2 @ 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

Join us for the grand opening of our newest preserve, a 405-acre bird sanctuary donated to JDCF by former Stockton resident Nancy Hamill Winter.  To date, there have been documented sightings of over 100 different bird species at Valley of Eden. Notable Illinois species of conservation concern include the Henslow’s sparrow, bobolink, red-headed woodpecker, and northern […] Read More

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Meteors on the Mound

August 11 @ 7:30 pm - 11:00 pm

Join JDCF and the Planetary Studies Foundation to catch a glimpse of the Perseid meteor shower from atop Horseshoe Mound on Saturday, August 11th from 7-11 PM. Enjoy family-friendly activities and learn about meteors before the sunset ushers in the celestial show! The event will be cancelled if it is raining, so please check jdcf.org […] Read More

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