|Click to view this email in a browser June / July 2010|
State Policy Update
Commercial Forestry Bill
Heart of the Lakes is encouraging passage of HB 5681 (Rep. Darwin Booher, R-Evart), a bill that would allow a fee waiver for land that is sold to a public body for public use when is it withdrawn from the commercial forestry program. Currently, Michigan law allows for a waiver of the withdrawal penalty from the commercial forest program if a landowner donates land to a public body for public use. By extending the withdrawal penalty waiver to land that is sold to a public body for public use, HB 5681 would create more incentive for landowners to sell land to local governments, providing more opportunity for Michigan citizens to enjoy public land. Read More
Federal Policy Update
Estate Tax Legislation
Heart of the Lakes has recently urged Senator Stabenow to sign on as a co-sponsor to the American Family Farm and Ranchland Protection Act bill introduced last week by Senators Mark Udall (D-CO) and Mike Crapo (R-ID). The bill would enhance the estate tax incentives for conservation under section 2031(c) of the Internal Revenue Code. Current law allows for an exclusion of up to 40% of the value of land from the taxable estate when that land is protected by a permanent conservation easement that protects important natural and historic values. Read More
Forest Legacy Funding
Heart of the Lakes has requested that Senator Stabenow work to secure President Obama’s budget request for a $100 million allocation to the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Legacy Program. This program partners with states to protect working forests whose management also “protects water quality and provides habitat, forest products, opportunities for recreation and other public benefits.” Two critical working-forest preservation projects, Lake Louise/Thumb Lake in Charlevoix and Otsego Counties and Crisp Point in Chippewa County, were selected by a national panel, along with 36 other projects, to receive Forest Legacy funding. At least $95.4 million must be approved in order for both Michigan projects to receive proposed Forest Legacy funding. Read More
U.S. E.P.A. Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
Heart of the Lakes is coordinating with member land conservancies, the Midwest Office of the Land Trust Alliance, and other statewide conservancy service centers to gain greater access to federal funding sources, including Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) dollars, for land acquisition and protection. Currently, GLRI funding for water quality protection and restoration through land acquisition is limited. Heart of the Lakes is working to make the case to federal agencies that conservancies are doing the protection and restoration work that meets GLRI objectives.
Update: Enhanced Easement Incentive
Last week, President Obama signed H.R. 4213, legislation that originally included an extension to the enhanced easement incentive. However, the version that the President signed was stripped of this provision, which would have raised the deduction a donor can take for donating a conservation easement from 30% of their adjusted gross income in any year to 50% and extended the carry-forward period of a donor to take tax deductions for voluntary conservation agreements from 5 to 15 years. The Senate is expected to introduce the enhanced incentive legislation again with a new bill number, but further action is unlikely until after the August recess.
Land and Water Conservation Fund
In response to the Gulf oil spill, Congress is considering response legislation that would designate full funding to the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). LWCF is the nation’s premier land conservation program, funded by royalties from offshore oil and gas leases. Although the authorized spending level is $900 million annually, Congress continually diverts funds to other purposes. Heart of the Lakes is calling on U. S. Representatives and Senators to support provisions in H.R. 3534 that would dedicate full funding to LCWF, which provides funding for recreational areas, natural areas and wildlife habitat, local and state parks, and protecting water supplies and clean water.
ACE Grants Distributed to Participating Conservancies
The Advancing Conservancy Excellence (ACE) program, a partnership between the Land Trust Alliance and Heart of the Lakes Center for Land Conservation Policy, recently distributed small grants to half of the Michigan land conservancies participating in the program. The funded projects are diverse and range from assistance to prepare an accreditation application, fund development planning, and GIS training.
Conservancy Project Highlights
A new name and now a new website—visit Heart of the Lakes’ newest member organization, the Upper Peninsula Land Conservancy (formerly known as Central Lake Superior Land Conservancy), at their recently launched website: www.uplandconservancy.org
Leelanau Conservancy added two more conservation easements on Cedar Lake, and now over 1/3 of the shoreline of this Leelanau County inland lake is permanently protected. Read more about the decades long effort of land protection work and the generous landowners behind the donated easements.
A new Little Traverse Conservancy preserve protects 23 acres of marsh and forested wetlands and 2,000 feet of frontage along the Inland Waterway in Emmet County. The property contains a well-defined Northern Fen, a rarity in the region. Learn more
The Jackson Community Foundation recently awarded a grant to the Legacy Land Conservancy to help ramp up county-wide farmland protection capacity in Jackson County. Learn more
Cadillac Area Land Conservancy’s spring newsletter describes how “property owners who put a conservation easement on their land don’t have to stop using that land...” Read the full article
In late June, a judge ruled that the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy is qualified to serve as a watchdog to monitor the state’s stewardship of two well- known and well-loved parks, Warren Dunes and Warren Woods. Learn more
Six Rivers Regional Land Conservancy,serving Oakland, Macomb, Lapeer, and Genesee Counties, seeks a Land Protection Specialist
The Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy
The Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy (SBLC), Bay City, Michigan, is seeking an experienced, organized, hardworking, highly-motivated professional to serve as land protection specialist. Please contact Valerie Roof at email@example.com for more information.
Events and Training
Advancing Conservancy Excellence
Major Gifts: Fundraising that Matters
Heart of the Lakes
Heart of the Lakes Summit
Land Trust Alliance
LTA Rally 2010Land Trust Alliance On-Line Trainings
Title Review for Conservation Transactions
$1 Million or More in 60 Minutes or Less: How Land Trusts Can Profit from Transportation
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. August 11 topic to be posted here
For training opportunities throughout the state, check out the Michigan Nonprofit Association’s Statewide Training List: www.mnaonline.org/training.aspx
In This Issue
Heart of the Lakes Center for Land Conservation Policy
300 N. Bridge Street, Grand Ledge, MI 48837 | 517.925.8649 | www.heartofthelakes.org
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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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