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January 2010

Policy Update


Expanded Conservation Easement Tax Incentives Expired in 2009

At the end of 2009, the U.S. Senate did not pass legislation that would extend the enhanced federal tax incentives for conservation easement donors, therefore they expired on December 31. Unless Congress acts, the old limits of 30% of adjusted gross income (AGI), the 5-year additional carry-over will be in place for landowners that donate easements in 2010. Qualified easements donated in 2009 will receive the enhanced deduction of 50% of the donor’s AGI (or 100% for qualified farmer or ranchers) and carry-over of 15 years.
The Land Trust Alliance (LTA) expects Congress to try and reinstate the enhanced tax incentives for conservation easements, making them retroactive to January 1, 2010. Legislation (HR 1831 and S 812) to make the enhanced easement incentive permanent is still very much alive and remains a priority of Heart of the Lakes and LTA. Stay posted as Congress’ schedule is not easy to predict. Additional information can be found at the Land Trust Alliance website.


Rebecca Humphries Named Director of DNRE

Governor Jennifer Granholm recently named Rebecca Humphries Director of Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE). Ms. Humphries began leading the new department on January 17th; the date DNRE took effect under Granholm’s Executive Order 45 of 2009. Ms. Humphries was Director of the DNR before DNR and DEQ were combined into the new department. Heart of the Lakes looks forward to working with Director Humphries and DNRE through its transition.
State Parks Bills Moving Again
SB 1057 (Sen. Patty Birkholz, R-Saugatuck), legislation that would prohibit residents from entering a State park without paying a proposed recreation passport fee, was reported from the Senate Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee this week. Residents would either opt to pay $10 when registering their motor vehicle, or purchase a passport through the DNRE at a higher price. To provide incentive for Michigan residents to purchase passports while registering their vehicles, DNRE would be authorized to set the price of a passport up to $20 for individuals who choose to purchase passports at a later date. The bill also abolishes the Citizens Committee for Michigan State Parks and transfers its duties to the Natural Resources Commission (NRC), requiring the NRC to prepare and submit a report containing recommendations for savings measures in State park programs. 
SB 1057 is part of a package of bills that also includes HB 5752 (Rep. Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive), which prescribes the distribution of recreation passport fee revenue and creates a Local Public Recreation Facilities Fund for grants to local units of government for the development of public recreation facilities. HB 5752 was reported from the House Great Lakes and Environment Committee this week.

Conservancy News

Six Rivers Regional Land Conservancy welcomes new Executive Director

The Michigan conservancy community welcomes Megan Thomas, the new Executive Director of Six Rivers Regional Land Conservancy. Megan comes to Six Rivers with experience in advertising, as a volunteer Director of Development for the Stewardship Network, and as a published environmental reporter. Megan replaces Donna Folland, who stepped down after 11 years as director of the regional conservancy that serves Oakland, Macomb, Genesee and Lapeer Counties to pursue travel and other conservation goals.  


In other news, Six Rivers was also featured on National Public Radio for their work to support green burials.


New Heart of the Lakes Member, Upper Peninsula Land Conservancy


Heart of the Lakes Center for Land Conservation Policy welcomes the Upper Peninsula Land Conservancy  as our newest member organization. Founded in 1998 and formerly known as the Central Lake Superior Land Conservancy, UPLC works in thirteen Upper Peninsual Counties and has permanently protected over 2,381 acres. Their mission is to promote the protection of natural, agricultural, recreational, historic and scenic lands through the use of conservation easements, land donations, and education.

Employment Opportunity

Kalamazoo Nature Center

DeLano Farms Manager: responsible for developing an educational, sustainable, working farm. Full Job Descripton

Events and Training

Advancing Conservancy Excellence
Friday, February 5, 2010, 10:00 – 11:00 am       
Ask An Attorney/Expert Conference Call

February 11, 18, 25, and March 4: Noon - 1:00pm
Drafting Conservation Easement for Perpetuity
Webinar with Jane Ellen Hamilton

Land Trust Alliance
April 15 – 17, 2010, Columbus, OH
Midwest Regional Conference

Land Trust Alliance On-Line Trainings
February 3, 2010, 2:00 to 3:30 pm ET ($50 per connection)
Conservation Easement Monitoring

February 24, 2010, 2:00 pm ET  ($50 per connection)
Board Roles and Lines of Authority

The Conservation Fund
March 8 – 12, 2010
Strategic Conservation Planning Using the Green Infrastructure Approach
National Conservation Training Center, Shepherdstown, WV

Other Training Opportunities: Board Connect, Michigan Nonprofit Association  


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In This Issue:
          Policy Update
         Conservancy News
        Events and Training
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Heart of the Lakes Center for Land Conservation Policy

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