Click to view this email in a browser                            September 2010
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Policy Update

State Policy Update

 Farmland Preservation Lien Recapture

Heart of the Lakes successfully secured a commitment from Representative Mike Huckleberry (R-Greenville), the chair of the House Committee on Agriculture, to take up legislation in committee that would aid Michigan’s farmland preservation program. When landowners leave the Farmland Development Rights Agreement Program (PA 116) they are required to pay the state back a portion of the tax incentive they received through the program. Currently, there is no penalty or incentive to encourage payback, and thus more than $12MM in funds are owed the state Agriculture Preservation Fund. HB 4158 would provide a 10-15% discount to landowners who have left the program, giving them time to pay the state back at a slightly reduced rate, and also require an interest penalty be applied to all new agreements. Read More
Commercial Forestry
The House of Representatives is unlikely to pursue the passage of HB 5681 (Rep. Darwin Booher, R-Evart), legislation that would waive the penalty for withdrawal from the commercial forestry program for land sold to a public body for public use. Although the legislation would have had other applications, the legislation was introduced largely to aid the success of a land deal in Antrim County, with the assistance of Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy.

Federal Policy Update

Estate Tax Legislation

Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) recently introduced S. 3664, the Family Farm Estate Tax Deferral Act of 2010. The bill includes an expanded exclusion from estate tax for easement donors, increasing the IRC 2031(c) exclusion from 40% to 50% of the value of the protected land, and increasing the cap on that exclusion from $500,000 to $5 million. In addition, a stand-alone bill, S. 3640, which would provide the same tax incentive, is still under consideration.
Enhanced Easement Tax Incentive

Renewal of the enhanced tax incentive for donations of conservation easements has been delayed until Congress returns from a five-week recess. Land conservancies across the country are urging Congress to add this incentive to the trillions of dollars worth of extensions of income tax cuts that will be considered this fall. Extension of this incentive would provide a means for helping modest-income landowners voluntarily donate land.

Member News

Land Conservation News

HOL Members Receive DNRE Water Quality Grants

In August, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment (MDNRE) announced the award of 14 water quality grants totaling $3.9 million that will permanently protect and restore rivers and wetlands and support watershed planning.

Three Heart of the Lakes members, Legacy Land Conservancy, Land Conservancy of West Michigan, and Six Rivers Regional Land Conservancy received $1.4 million of the total awarded for water quality projects. Read More

Project Highlight: Thread Creek Farm

Thread Creek Farm is a working Genesee County farm that produces native Michigan perennial flowers, sweet corn, and pumpkins and includes a small herd of cattle and turkeys. Open to school groups in the fall, 97 acres of the 140-acre farm is now permanently protected thanks to the North Oakland Headwaters Land Conservancy. Learn more about the farm and browse their photos here. 
March to One Million!
Save the Date! March 3 is the Heart of the Lakes 6th Annual Summit, which will be held at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Lansing. To suggest topics or to inquire about making a presentation, please contact Julie at
Circle March 3 on those new 2011 calendars for the premier gathering of Michigan’s land conservancies and our conservation partners. Registration opens in November!

Job Positions

Land Conservancy of West Michigan

The Land Conservancy of West Michigan seeks qualified candidates for two positions, a part-time Accountant / Office Manager to support accounting, financial and business activities and a full-time Conservation Easement Specialist to manage all aspects of conservation easements held by LCWM. 

Six Rivers Regional Land Conservancy

Six Rivers Regional Land Conservancy seeks a Land Protection Specialist to identify and protect natural areas in their service area of Oakland, Macomb, Genesee, and Lapeer Counties.

Events and Training

Advancing Conservancy Excellence

Ask An Attorney—Estate Planning for Land Transactions and Bequests
Friday, October 15, 2010  10:00 – 11:00 am, no cost
Led by Ellen Fred, Esq.

Ask An Expert—Tips for Year-End Fundraising and Outreach
Friday, November 5, 2010  10:00 – 11:00 am, no cost
Led by Judy Anderson, Principal, Community Consultants
Registration opens soon at

Heart of the Lakes

Heart of the Lakes Annual Summit
Save the Date: March to One Million!
March 3, 2011
Radisson Hotel, Downtown Lansing

Land Trust Alliance

LTA Rally 2010
October 2-5, Hartford, Connecticut
Land Trust Alliance On-Line Trainings
Introduction to Easement Amendments
November 10, 2010, 2:00 pm ET, $50 per connection
Instructor: Jane Ellen Hamilton

Other Training Opportunities:   

The Stewardship Network

Free monthly webcasts on the second Wednesday of each month (11:45 am to 1 pm) on various topics relating to the care of natural lands and waters. Topics are posted here:

Michigan Nonprofit Association

For training opportunities throughout the state, check out the Michigan Nonprofit Association’s Statewide Training Calendar:

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In This Issue
Policy Update
Member News
Events & Training

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Heart of the Lakes Center for Land Conservation Policy

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Heart of the Lakes Center for Land Conservation Policy
300 N. Bridge St.
Grand Ledge, Michigan 48837

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