New Public Open Space in Alta Sierra: Adam Ryan Preserve
In late 2011 Alta Brewer and Alan Thiesen generously donated their 41-acre meadow and woodlands to the Land Trust. Their intent was for the protection of the mixed oak and conifer habitat for wildlife, and for hiking and a beautiful vista for the public. Previously, in 1997 Alta and Alan donated a conservation easement on this property in the name of their youngest son, Adam Ryan. The Adam Ryan Preserve sits along Dog Bar Road and Alta Sierra Drive, not far from Mathis Pond. Read more....
Bear Yuba Land Trust to hold the Conservation Easement on 2,021 acres of PG&E Lands in the Fordyce Lakes Area
The Pacific Forest and Watershed Lands Stewardship Council (Stewardship Council) is a private, nonprofit foundation established in 2004 as part of the PG&E bankruptcy settlement was set up to ensure that its 140,000 acres of California's pristine watershed lands are conserved for the public good. This past year Bear Yuba Land Trust (formerly Nevada County Land Trust) has been working with the Stewardship Council to facilitate the permanent protection of more than 10,000 acres of land in the Bear River and Yuba River watersheds of Nevada and Yuba Counties. Another 7,000 acres is located in adjacent areas of Placer County.
BYLT has been working with PG&E and potential qualified donees for their lands including Tahoe National Forest, CalFire, University of California, the Tsi Akim Maidu Tribe, the United Auburn Indian Community, Placer County Water Agency, Placer Land Trust and other stakeholders to identify the best fee title and conservation easement holders in this watershed. Once completed, the land trust will work with stakeholders to identify conservation options for those lands. This is expected to begin in early 2012.
After a year-long lapse that left many important conservation donations in limbo, Congress has renewed the enhanced tax incentive for conservation easements! The incentive will be in effect through December 31, 2011 and be retroactive to January 1, 2010.
The incentive, which now applies to donations in 2010 and 2011:
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.
This package also extends the S Corporation donation incentive and the IRA Charitable Rollover through 2011.
Although the estate tax incentives for land conservation we championed did not make it in, this package does extend the 2001 law that removed the geographic limitations from the section 2031(c) estate tax exclusion for land protected by a conservation easement, through December 31, 2012. That means, even with a $5 million unified credit and 35% rate, landowners may still realize up to a $175,000 estate tax benefit for donating a conservation easement.
By helping modest income landowners deduct the full value of their contributions, this enhanced tax incentive has increased the pace of private, voluntary land conservation by about 250,000 acres a year nationwide, and is especially important now that the latest reports show that America is losing land to development at the rate of 1.5 million acres per year. This renewal will create a permanent legacy of conserved land across America.
Working to Make the Incentive Permanent Next Year
While this extension is good news, land conservation projects can take many years to put together and the uncertainty that comes from renewing the enhanced incentive year to year prevents it from reaching its full potential.
You can help lay the ground work for next year by thanking our members of Congress for providing this extension today! Regardless of how our Senators and Representatives came down on H.R. 4853, it’s important for us is to thank our House and Senate co-sponsors of H.R. 1831 and S. 812 —bills to make this incentive permanent. Their support helped ensure that our extension was included today and your thanks will remind them that we’ll need their help next year.
Remembering John Olmsted
Well-known local naturalist John Olmsted died March 8, 2011 after a long battle with cancer. He had just celebrated his 73rd birthday. Friends and admirers may share their memories, stories and comments about the man and his work on his CaringBridge website. Go to www.CaringBridge.org/ and on the right side of the page where it says "Visit a Website" enter johnolmsted1.
A Celebration of the Life of John Olmsted was held on Sunday, March 13th at St Joseph's Cultural Center in Grass Valley.
In 2009 the Land Trust awarded John Olmsted the William Nickerl Award for Conservation Leadership. A lifetime devotee of John Muir, John was been a longtime friend and supporter of the Land Trust and many, many other conservation and community organizations.
As is obvious from this photo (taken by Cynthia Stewart), John was always happiest walking in nature.