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Policy Update

State Policy Update

New Gubernatorial Appointments

Governor-elect Rick Snyder has chosen several key advisors who have conservation-friendly backgrounds. Read More

  • Chief of Staff- Dennis Muchmore, Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) trustee
  • Director of Strategy- Bill Rustem, President and CEO of Lansing-based think tank Public Sector Consultants

Heart of the Lakes' Policy Agenda

In October, the Heart of the Lakes Board of Directors approved the 2011-2012 Policy Agenda, which includes exploration of land protection strategies to access greater federal funding for water quality protection, generation of new approaches to state funding for farmland protection, advocacy of federal Farm and Ranchlands Protection Program funding allocation for Michigan projects, and protection of Michigan land conservancies’ eligibility for real property tax exemption.

Heart of the Lakes will also continue to advocate for protection of the MNRTF and offer recommendations to the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) board and staff as a new strategic approach to improve the efficacy of the MNRTF is developed. Click here to view the full policy agenda

Heart of the Lakes' Legislative Strategy

During the first 90 days of 2011, Heart of the Lakes will be meeting with a minimum of 20 new legislators including committee chairs and legislative leaders, and asking to be placed on pertinent committee agendas for informational presentations. This outreach will be augmented by the Heart of the Lakes Sixth Annual Summit and Michigan Land Conservancy Day in early March. We want our members to be involved - please contact Meredith Johnson at if you would like to join us at a committee hearing or a meeting with your legislator!

MNRTF Nearing its Cap

Last May, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment conducted an oil and gas lease auction of state-owned parcels that netted a record-breaking $178 million in bonus payments, much of which were deposited into the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF).

It has been expected that the MNRTF may reach its $500 million in 2010, causing revenues to begin flowing into the State Park Endowment Fund as required by the Michigan constitution. In October, another oil and gas lease auction put the MNRTF very close to its cap, which should be reached soon with the addition of royalties and other MNRTF-directed revenues. Learn more about the MNRTF

Federal Policy Upate

Permanent Enhanced Easement Incentive

An extension of the federal enhanced easement incentive looks increasingly likely, as President Obama and Congressional leaders from both parties have declared a tax bill to be a top priority for the "lame duck" session and the leaders of the House Ways & Means and Senate Finance committees have pledged to pass tax legislation. The Land Trust Alliance is encouraging conservancies to urge their federal senators and representatives to make the enhanced easement incentive permanent. For more information on how you can help, click here

Member News

Land Conservation News

USDA Announces Funding for Farmland Preservation Organizations

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is accepting applications from eligible organizations for matching funds to preserve farmland from conversion to non-agricultural use.The program provides up to 50-percent matching funds to farmland preservation organizations to purchase land development rights. Read more

Voters Approve Open Space Millage in Washtenaw County

Washtenaw County voters renewed their natural areas millage for another ten years, providing a designated funding source to preserve land and save it from future development. The measure passed by 57% to 43%. Over the past ten years, millage funds have purchased 1,850 acres of land. Read more

Project Highlights

Doubling the Size of Meinert County Park

Just in time for Thanksgiving, a remarkable partnership between the Land Conservancy of West Michigan, two West Michigan families, and many generous donors resulted in doubling the size of Meinert County Park in Muskegon County and the protection of 95 acres of spectacular dune lands. Read more

The “Big UP Deal”

After almost a decade of work, The Nature Conservancy in Michigan’s Northern Great Lakes Forest Project is complete. Finalized this fall, the project now connects 2 million acres of wildlife corridor through a combination of conservation easements and acquisitions. Read more

Protecting the Pigeon

Little Traverse Conservancy’s protection of the Pigeon River dates back to 1983 when Agnes A. Andreae donated 27 acres and a cabin perched along the river. Since then, the generosity of many landowners and donors has helped LTC protect a string of natural gems on the Pigeon, including more than 12 miles of frontage along the Pigeon River, Little Pigeon River, and associated tributaries. Read More

Job Openings

Six Rivers Regional Land Conservancy is seeking an Executive Director Learn more here 

March to One Million!

Seeking Sponsors for Heart of the Lakes' Sixth Annual Summit

March 3 is the Heart of the Lakes’ Sixth Annual Summit, which will be held at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Lansing. Sponsorship of the Summit is a great opportunity to showcase your conservation commitment at the premier gathering of Michigan’s land conservancies and their partners. Learn more about sponsorship opportunities

Events and Training

Advancing Conservancy Excellence

Ask An Attorney—Featuring Scott Howard
Friday, December 3, 2010  10:00 – 11:00 am
Conference call for Michigan land conservancies
Click here to register

Executive Directors Peer Gathering
Thursday, February 3
Save the Date! Location to be determined

Heart of the Lakes Center for Land Conservation Policy

Heart of the Lakes Sixth Annual Summit
March to One Million!
Thursday, March 3, 2011, All Day
Radisson Hotel, Downtown Lansing

Save the Date! - Land Conservancy Day
Join us for a chance to meet with legislators and share the important work land conservancies do for Michigan.
March 2, 2010
Lansing, MI

Land Trust Accreditation Commission—Accreditation Series

Free webinar offered by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. Click here to RSVP, note that space is limited:

In-Depth—The Application Process
January 13, 3:00 pm ET OR
January 18, 12:00 pm ET

Other Training Opportunities:   

The Stewardship Network

The Stewardship Network Webinar Series
Invasive Species Laws—Wisconsin as a Case Study
Wednesday, December 8, 2010:  11:45 to 1 pm

2011 Stewardship Network Conference
January 21 – 22
Kellogg Conference Center, East Lansing, MI

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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300 N. Bridge St.
Grand Ledge, Michigan 48837

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