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

Native Bee & Pollinator Landowner & Partner Workshop

August 4 @ 8:30 am - 4:00 pm

JDCF, in cooperation with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, is hosting an informational workshop covering native bees in the Jo Daviess County area. Topics to be discussed include; native bee ecology and life history, sampling techniques and photography, and efforts to conserve native bees, including the federally endangered Rusty Patched Bumble Bee. Please join […] 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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Fall Forest Hike

September 15 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

With fall on the way, the appearance of trees changes significantly and identifying them can be tricky – unless you know your bark, berries & nuts. Join us to celebrate the change of season with a Fall Forest Walk on Saturday, September 15th from 1:00- 3:00pm at the Schurmeier Teaching Forest. This free event will […] Read More

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Critters of the Night

October 20 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Join JDCF on Saturday, October 2oth at 10:00 AM to learn about some of our nocturnal friends, 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 […] Read More

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