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

Federal Policy Upate

Enhanced Tax Incentive for Conservation Easements Renewed

Congress has renewed the enhanced tax incentive for conservation easements. Once President Obama signs the bill, the incentive will be in effect through December 31, 2011 and will be retroactive to January 1, 2010. The incentive raises the income tax deduction a landowner can take for donating a conservation easement from 30% of their income in any year to 50%, allows farmers and ranchers to deduct up to 100% of their income, and increases the number of years over which a donor can take deductions from 6 to 16 years. Learn More

State Policy Update

Agency Directors Appointed

Governor-elect Rick Snyder announced that he will be splitting the Department of Natural Resources and Environment again, reversing Governor Granholm’s recent consolidation move. Rodney Stokes, currently Chief of DNRE’s Science and Policy Office, has been appointed Director of the Department of Natural Resources and Dan Wyant, formerly Director of the Department of Agriculture during the Engler administration, will head up the Department of Environmental Quality. Snyder also appointed Keith Creagh, who had recently retired from his post as Deputy Director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture, as MDA Director. Learn More

Senate Committee Chairs Determined

Over the past few weeks, Senate leadership selected chairs and vice chairs for all Senate committees in 2011. Of note, Senator-elect Joe Hune (R-Fowlerville) will chair the Senate Agriculture Committee and Senator-elect Tom Casperson (R- Escanaba) will chair the Senate Natural Resources and Environment committee. Learn More

State Charitable Organization Reform

SB 1528, legislation that revises the Charitable Organizations and Solicitation Act, passed the House and the Senate and will likely be signed by the Governor before the end of the year. The reform, as passed, would require charitable organizations to register with (rather than be licensed by) the Attorney General, allow a charitable organization to receive up to $25,000 in a year without having to register, prohibit a number of activities involving misrepresentations, and increase the misdemeanor find for a violation of the Act and make certain violations a felony.

Trust Fund Funding Comes Close to Passage

The legislature came close to passing the capital outlay bill including $102 million in funding for Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund December 1, but procedural errors, misunderstandings between parties and between the Senate and House chambers prevented that from happening. Because the legislature will no longer convene to deliberate legislation this year, funding for the projects will have to be reintroduced in new legislation next year, and, as in past years, Heart of the Lakes will push for swift passage. Learn more about the Trust Fund

Trust Fund Board Approves Projects, Fund Nears its Cap

The Natural Resources Trust Fund Board approved 71 development projects totaling $20.94 million and 46 acquisition projects totaling $81.16 at its meeting last Wednesday.

The Trust Fund is expected to reach its $500 million cap in April 2011. At that time, revenues will begin to flow to the State Park Endowment Fund as required by the Michigan constitution. Read full press release here

Member News

Land Conservation News

Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation Awards $25,000 to Heart of the Lakes

We are pleased to announce that Heart of the Lakes has been awarded a  $25,000 grant by Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation to help strengthen the ability of land conservancies and watershed councils to protect rivers and lands that contribute to healthy waters. Read More

Enhancing Board Capacity for Fundraising
Institute of Conservation Leadership

Does your organization’s Board of Directors have the experience, enthusiasm and commitment to raise the funds needed for your group to fulfill its mission? Fundraising boards have shared goals—finding donors, developing donor relationships, and building the capacity to ask for money that will support your organization’s mission and bottom line. Read full article here

Project Highlights

December is an extremely busy time for Michigan’s land conservancies as they wrap up 2010 land protection projects. There is often an increase in protection activities this month with landowners who want to complete conservation easement or land donations before the end of the tax year. We look forward to sharing 2010 year-end project highlights in the New Year!

Events and Training

Advancing Conservancy Excellence

Executive Directors' Peer Gathering
Featuring Keith Ross, LandVest Senior Advisor
Successful Aggregation Projects in New England
Thursday, February 3, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm
NEW Center, Ann Arbor, MI

Heart of the Lakes Center for Land Conservation Policy

Michigan 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

March to a Million: Heart of the Lakes' 6th Annual Summit
March 3, 2011
The Radisson Hotel in downtown Lansing
Author Michael P. Nelson, will lead an inspiring kick-off presentation based on the book he co-edited (with Kathleen Dean Moore) and the movement it spurred, Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril.

Land Trust Accreditation Commission

In-Depth—The Application Process
Thursday, January 13, 2011, 3:00 pm ET, Free
RSVP  deadline:   Monday, January 10

The Stewardship Network

Monthly Webinar
January Topic To Be Announced
Wednesday, January 12:  11:45 to 1 pm, free

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

Institute for Conservation Leadership

eDollars-Spring 2011
March 3, 2011 – April 15, 2011, $685 (discount for LTA members)
Seven week, five session, distance learning webinar series with personalized consulting to achieve online fundraising goals

Other Training Opportunities

For other organizational 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
300 N. Bridge St.
Grand Ledge, Michigan 48837

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