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Policy Events at Rally 2009

Join us in Portland, OR October 11-14 for a wide range of policy training opportunities including a seminar on advocacy (more than just lobbying), workshops on a wide range of policy issues and sessions where you can provide your input on IRS enforcement and Land Trust Alliance policy priorities.

For more information about how you can help set our policy priorities for 2010, please see our October 1st ADVOCATES Alert.


Sunday, October 11


Imminent Threats to Conserved Land: NIET Corridors and Transmission Expansion for Renewable Generation

Amy Hansen, Andy Loza, Chris Miller
SEM-1 -- Sunday -- 8:00am - 12:00pm -- All Levels -- $80/$95

This session will discuss federal siting provisions for interstate transmission lines as an impending threat to land conservation and will also focus on current pressures for massive transmission expansion targeting renewable generation. New transmission lines could have major impacts on scenic conservation easements and protected lands, state and federal parks, battlefields and historic places. Under the 2005 Energy Policy Act, Congress gave utilities access to federal eminent domain for transmission projects by granting the Department of Energy the authority to designate National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors (NIET). Within these corridors, utilities can appeal to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a construction permit if the state siting process fails. Furthermore, as the government begins to realize the imminent need to address climate change and to alter how the nation has traditionally generated and consumed energy from fossil fuels, there has been a growing demand to connect renewable electric generation—primarily from wind—to a national grid. With an influx of funds from the federal stimulus package, new transmission expansion may be a certainty; therefore it is important that governing policies for construction and siting reflect the need to consider environmental impact analyses and effects on climate change.


Make Easement Donations Fully Deductible – or Disclose! CLE

Phil Hocker, Karin Marchetti Ponte
SEM-3 -- Sunday -- 8:00am - 12:00pm -- All Levels -- $80/$95

This course will explain the special nature of tax benefits afforded for conservation easements and how those generally fit within charitable tax incentives. Learn about the requirements for a conservation easement to be tax-deductible and what any other general Tax Code requirements must be fulfilled for an easement donation to be deductible.  Those requirements and methods of compliance will be partially addressed as well as the usefulness of non-deductible easements as a conservation tool.


National Land Conservation Climate Camp

Lara Hansen, Jennie Hoffman, Eric Mielbrecht
SEM-8 -- Sunday -- 8:30am - 4:00pm -- Basic -- $140/$170

Many in the conservation community have not considered the implications of climate change, and as a result are unsure of how to incorporate this reality into their work.  Climate camp helps conservation practitioners, resource managers and others grappling with what to do about climate change develop a plan. Participants will explore climate vulnerabilities, learn how others are already incorporating climate change into their work to develop climate adaptation strategies, and brainstorm approaches for applying this to their own work.  Climate camp is facilitated by EcoAdapt, a team of adaptation practitioners who are working to build the field of adaptation, train new capacity and improve conservation by catalyzing adaptation implementation. This team has been working on climate change adaptation for over a decade and has trained over 600 people in climate camps. Past campers have developed and implemented projects around the planet, and successfully obtained funding to support their efforts from private foundations, state and national governments and international aid agencies.

Monday, October 12


Conserving Forests, Preserving Climate CLE, CFE

John Bernstein, Constance Best
SEM-21 -- Monday -- 8:00am – 12:00pm -- Intermediate -- $80/$95

This is an interactive session on a path-breaking land trust response to climate change. Forestland covers hundreds of millions of acres of land in the United States. As forests grow and mature, they form the most powerful known "sink" for carbon dioxide. In California and other states, working forest conservation projects that sequester carbon dioxide for the long term have successfully made use of millions of dollars from carbon markets for perpetual conservation of large tracts of land, including old-growth redwood stands. Senior staff from the Pacific Forest Trust, which helped set up the forest-carbon market in California, and have pioneered in the actual carbon transactions, will give an overview of the markets on the West Coast, explain the theory and practice of carbon emissions credits, and present several transactions in which these credits were key in conserving large tracts of forestland. They will also discuss how these techniques can be applied in growing carbon markets across the country.


Getting Grounded in Conservation Tax Law* CLE

David Braun, Thomas Hall
SEM-28 -- Monday -- 8:30am – 4:00pm -- Basic -- $140/$170

This course is a thorough introduction to the tax law and financial considerations of conservation transactions and charitable giving, and is designed to help conservation professionals, board members, landowners and other laymen understand and be able to discuss the tax consequences of conservation transactions. Based on the actual tax forms and built on familiarity layman have with annual tax filing, this course provides a core competency for everyone in the land trust movement. Participants will examine detailed case studies and practice calculations.


Advocating for Success: How Do I Get There From Here?

Reeves Brown, Bettina Ring
SEM-29 -- Monday -- 8:30am – 4:00pm -- Basic/Intermediate -- $140/$170

Everyone advocates for something.  Are you effective and is it time well spent?  This highly interactive course will aid in understanding the political and cultural climate which provides opportunities and challenges for the cause of land protection and addresses the "how" and "why" it can be incorporated into your overloaded schedule.  It will also address cultivating and maintaining effective relationships with both policy makers and the media.  You will leave armed with a personalized organizational action plan and the necessary skills for advocacy and organizational messaging conducive to conservation initiatives at the local, state and national level.  Case studies from across the country will help shed light on real life examples about what works, what doesn't and why.

Tuesday, October 13

Workshops Session A -- Tuesday 10:00am - Noon

A03. Cascade Agenda: Programs to Create a Future for our Region

| All Levels

The work of Cascade Land Conservancy is guided by a collective vision known as the Cascade Agenda. The Cascade Agenda identified tools and strategies allowing the conservancy to achieve landscape-scale conservation and improve quality of life in cities and towns. This workshop details the steps to create three programs that support and advance the Agenda: Cascade Agenda Cities, Green Cities, and Transfer of Development Rights. Program directors and managers will explain the elements of each program, how they advance the Agenda and regional conservation, hands-on details of how they are implemented, and how success is achieved.

  • Taylor Carroll, TDR Project Manager, Cascade Land Conservancy (WA)
  • Jeff Aken, Cascade Agenda Cities Project Manager, Cascade Land Conservancy (WA)
  • Ara Erickson, Green Cities Director, Cascade Land Conservancy (WA)

A09. Transferable Development Rights: A Tool for You? | All Levels

Learn how Transferable Development Rights (TDRs) can be used to help manage growth and permanently protect farmland, forests, watersheds, historic sites, and other conservation priorities. Success stories across the nation will be briefly reviewed, illustrating diverse and variable application of the TDR tool. Key ingredients common to successful programs, regardless of community size or program scope, will be discussed. Land trust involvement with TDRs will be explored, with up-to-the-minute examples and discussion of future potential, from community education and program promotion, to drafting the regulatory set-up, to information clearinghouse, landowner liaison, and even TDR “banking.”

  • John Snook, Senior Advisor, Brandywine Conservancy Environmental Management Center (PA)


A11. Climate Change: What's a Land Trust to Do?* | All Levels

This workshop will begin with a brief update on evolving climate change science and a review of emerging national policy. Using a newly developed Framework for a Land Trust Response to Climate Change, we will then explore case studies of organizations grappling with climate change in land conservation that, taken together, create a path toward becoming a “Climate Smart Land Trust.” This will form the basis for an exercise focused on creating an action plan for your organization.

  • Andrew Pitz, VP Strategic Policy & Planning, Natural Lands Trust (PA)
  • Lisa Vernegaard, Chief of Staff, Conservation Group, The Trustees of Reservations (MA)


A20. Federal Policy Update 2009* | All Levels

The Land Trust Alliance’s director of public policy will discuss the current status of our 2009 public policy priorities: the easement incentive, estate tax reform, climate legislation and IRS’s activity in the conservation easement arena. We’ll answer your questions about these and other federal issues that lie ahead.

  • Russell Shay, Director of Public Policy, Land Trust Alliance (DC)


A21. Land Trusts as Advocates in Public Controversies: Should We and If So, How? | All Levels

The day-to-day work of most land trusts is conserving the land of willing landowners. Often, though, land trusts are asked to or feel the need to become advocates in public controversies such as land use decisions, legislation, or public financing for open space. Land trusts run the risk of alienating some supporters by becoming advocates in political controversies, but at the same time, some supporters expect land trusts to be advocates. The session will focus on whether to advocate and if so, how.

  • Robert Brandt, Board Member, Land Trust for Tennessee (TN)
  • Michelle Connor, Vice President, Cascade Land Conservancy (WA)
  • Christopher Miller, President, Piedmont Environmental Council (VA)
  • Dulcie Flaharty, Executive Director, Montgomery County Lands Trust (PA)
  • Will Abbott, Vice President for Policy, Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (NH)


A24. Protecting Coastal Lands Using the Coastal & Estuarine Land Conservation Program | All Levels

The CELCP program, created by Congress to protect coastal and estuarine areas, has invested over $200 million, matched with state, local and private investments, and completed over 150 conservation projects in most of the 35 coastal and lake states. The workshop will provide land trust leaders with information on the CELCP program with presentations from NOAA program administrators on project selection and the competitive grants process; from the Coastal States Organization on how land trusts can best engage with state agency CELCP leaders; and from The Nature Conservancy and The Trust for Public Land examining the CELCP collaborations with partners to accomplish coastal land protection. This workshop will provide participants with a solid understanding of how to successfully take a coastal land protection project through the state and federal CELCP process.

  • Maddy Pope, Director of National Outreach, Federal Affairs, The Trust for Public Land (MT)
  • Elaine Vaudreuil, Senior Policy Analyst, Coastal Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (MD)
  • Elisabeth Morgan, Coastal Management Specialist, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (MD)
  • Andrea Geiger, Director Government Affairs, Coastal States Organization (DC)
  • Christy Plumer, Director of Government Relations, The Conservation Fund (VA)
  • Emily Woglom, The Nature Conservancy (VA)

Workshops Session B -- Tuesday 1:15pm - 3:15pm


B02. Conserving Land in a Climate-Changed World | All Levels

Climate change is fast becoming one of our most urgent conservation challenges. Yet, the novelty of the challenge has left most conservation practitioners wondering where and how to begin. Moving beyond the confusion toward making informed and strategic conservation decisions will be essential to safeguard wildlife and natural systems. This session will review the current and expected impacts of climate change on natural systems and, most importantly, will focus on how land trusts can translate this information into action on the ground. Through facilitated discussion and small focus groups, experts will work with participants to help them understand specific climate-related challenges they are facing and formulate a response to move forward.

  • Aimee Weldon, Living Lands Project Manager, Defenders of Wildlife (DC)
  • Rick Brown, Senior Resource Specialist, Defenders of Wildlife (DC)
  • Jean Brennan, Senior Climate Change Scientist, Defenders of Wildlife (DC)


B08. Using Public Opinion Surveys to Win Land Conservation Ballot Measures | Intermediate

Despite a national economic in recession, in November 2008 voters approved 71 percent of the land conservation measures on the ballot. Many of these successful measures were passed using polls. The workshop will describe how states and local governments throughout the nation have successfully designed and won voter approval for new sources of funding for land conservation. Featuring two of the nation’s top pollsters, one Democratic and one Republican, the workshop will focus on the use of public opinion surveys. Topics to be covered include national trends in land conservation funding, ballot measure basics, and key factors in measure design.

  • William Abberger, Director, Conservation Vision Program, The Trust for Public Land (FL)
  • Lori Weigel, Partner, Public Opinion Strategies (CO)
  • David Metz, Senior Vice President, Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin & Associates
  • Joshua Alpert, NW Conservation Services Director, The Trust for Public Land (OR)


B11. Conservation and Carbon CLE | All Levels

The rise of greenhouse gas concentrations has led to global warming and climate change.  One strategy to reverse this trend is the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through carbon sequestration in grasslands, wetlands and forests.  This workshop will explain current issues, including carbon credits, carbon offsets, carbon footprints and cap and trade as well as the current state of voluntary and regulatory carbon markets.  The workshop will also discuss the role of conservation easements and land trusts in facilitating carbon sequestration.

  • Melinda Beck, Special Counsel/Attorney, Faegre & Benson, LLP (CO)
  • David Marrone, Assistant General Counsel, Ducks Unlimited, Inc. (TN)
  • Dawn Browne, Manager of Conservation Programs, Ducks Unlimited, Inc. (TN)


B12. Drafting and Managing Easements to Consider Onsite Energy ProductionCLE | Intermediate/Advanced

This workshop will address changing considerations and attitudes towards on-site energy production, changing conditions within easements, and the impact of climate change upon conserved lands. Attention will be given to single and mixed purpose easements, addressing the Internal Revenue Code and practical considerations related to stewarding these easements over time.

  • Judy Anderson, Community Consultants (NY)
  • Paul Doscher, Vice President for Land Conservation, Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (NH)
  • William Hutton, Attorney at Law/Professor, Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass LLP (CA)


B15. Acquiring and Managing Community Forests: Opportunities for Land Trusts | All Levels

There are dozens of Community Forests around the country, which protect important forests while providing direct benefits to communities such as recreation and financial resources through sustainable forest management. This session will provide an overview of what Community Forests are, how land trusts can set them up, and what are some funding sources for Community Forests, including a primer on a new federal matching grant program. The session will include examples of Community Forests from around the country.

  • Nancy Parachini, Forest Legacy Program Specialist, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service (DC)
  • Jad Daley, Coordinator, Eastern Forest Partnership (VT)


B17. Doing the Right Thing? CLE  | Advanced

This workshop examines how and whether easement holders are “doing the right thing” vis-a-vis Land Trust Standards and Practices, the Internal Revenue Code, Treasury Regulations, the Internal Revenue Service, and recent case-law regarding conservation transactions. Panelists will respond to hypothetical scenarios based on real-life situations, and will offer opinions and guidance based on their experience with and knowledge of Standards and Practices, the IRS, the Code, Treasury Regulations, and recent case-law. The discussion will challenge panelists to address issues involving conservation purposes, donative intent, quid pro quo, easement termination and amendment, holder commitment and resources, determination and substantiation of appraised easement values, and Forms 990 and 8283, in the evolving landscape of conservation easement transactions.

  • Jessica Jay, Conservation Attorney, Conservation Law, P.C. (CO)
  • Karin Gross, Attorney, Internal Revenue Service (DC)
  • Daniel Pike, President, Colorado Open Lands (CO)
  • Mark Weston, Real Estate Appraiser & Consultant, Hunsperger & Weston, Ltd. (CO)
  • Steve Small, Attorney at Law, Law Office of Stephen J. Small, Esq., P.C. (MA)
  • Jane Prohaska, President, Minnesota Land Trust (MN)


B21. Partnering in the Army's Compatible Use Buffer Program | All Levels

The U.S. Army manages over 15.2 million acres in the U.S. The boundaries of these installations suffer from constantly increasing encroachment pressures. Ever-expanding requirements for military training set up conflicts with developers outside the fenceline. The Army Compatible Use Buffer (ACUB) program was established to partner with external groups to buffer testing and training activities from incompatible uses. Since its inception, these partnerships have developed to protect conservation easements, farmlands, hunting preserves, and other non-consumptive uses. This session endeavors to train those outside the Army community in effectively using the ACUB program to further conservation goals.

  • Malcolm Boswell, Senior Land Management Consultant, U. S. Army Installation Management Command


B22. Land Trust Alliance's 2010 Public Policy Review* | All Levels

This session is an open meeting of the Alliance's Policy Advisory Council, to allow participants to discuss and provide input on the Alliance's public policy program, and what it should focus on in 2010.  The Policy Advisory Council, consisting of land trust leaders from across the country, is seeking your input before making formal recommendations to the Alliance board later this year.  Participation is open to all Land Trust Alliance Members. Prior to Attending, please review our Policy Options Memo and be prepared to provide feedback on the policy options chart.

  • Russell Shay, Director of Public Policy, Land Trust Alliance (DC)

Workshop Session C -- Tuesday 3:30pm - 5:00pm


C20. Federal Highway Administration Partnerships - Opportunities Through Scenic Byways | All Levels

The Federal Highway Administration is not always considered a funding partner when it comes to land trusts, recreation or conservation purposes. The Federal Highway Administration however manages three unique funding programs which have the potential to partner with trusts, local governments and other agencies to benefit parks, viewsheds, recreation and openspace conservation purposes. These programs include the National Scenic Byway, Recreation Trails program, and Transportation Enhancement Programs. This proposal provides a panel of experts from these programs to inform about potential funding partnerships.

  • Frances Sakaguchi, Local Programs Manager, Oregon Department of Transportation (OR)
  • Marilyn Lippencott, Program Manager, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department
  • Rocky Houston, Recreation Trails Program Coordinator, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department
  • Pat Fisher, Transportation Enhancement Program Manager, Oregon Department of Transportation (OR)
  • Pat Moran, Scenic Byways Program Manager, Oregon Department of Transportation (OR)


C21. Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act Reauthorization | All Levels

The Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act (FLTFA) is an important funding source that helps land trusts and federal agencies secure additional federal funding to protect land for fish and wildlife conservation, public access, outdoor recreation and historic preservation in the 11 Western states and Alaska. This funding source will expire in July 2010, if not reauthorized. This session will inform and educate participants about how FLTFA works, as well as highlight some successes and the importance of reauthorization. If reauthorized, this program will complement the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund and other funding sources.

  • Kelly Cotter, Western Federal Lands Associate, The Conservation Fund (VA)
  • Daniel Sakura, Vice President for Government Relations, The Conservation Fund (VA)
  • David Beaver, Senior Realty Specialist, Bureau of Land Management (DC)
  • Babette Thorpe, Land Protection Director, Teton Regional Land Trust (ID)


C22. How to Access Farm Bill Programs | All Levels

Speak with USDA leaders regarding the Farmland Protection Program and Grassland Reserve Program policy and implementation.

  • USDA Leaders


C26. Coastal Community Resilience: Adapting to Climate Change* | All Levels

Participate in a conversation about adapting to climate change with leaders from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This session will highlight resources available from your federal partners to aid in adapting your conservation efforts to climate change impacts.

  • NOAA, EPA, USFWS Leaders


Wednesday, October 14

Working with the IRS

Wednesday, October 14, 7:30am – 8:30am
A panel discussion with IRS staff involved in managing conservation easement issues, moderated by Attorney Stephen J. Small.

Workshops Session D -- Wednesday 10:30am - Noon


D05. Using Clean Water State Revolving Funds to Finance Your Land Acquisition | Intermediate

Could your organization use a long-term loan at 0-2% to help finance a conservation acquisition? Leading conservation organizations have borrowed from the $60 billion Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) system to conserve working redwood forests in California, hillside prairies in Iowa, and wetlands in New Jersey. This workshop will introduce you to the CWSRF system, offer case studies of how different organizations have used low-interest CWSRF loans to fund land conservation, provide contacts and a road map for applying for a CWSRF loan in your state, and highlight the lobbying necessary to make CWSRF loans more accessible nationally.

  • Daniel Patrick O'Connell, President, Evergreen Conservation Finance (DC)
  • Mark Ackelson, President, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (IA)
  • Chris Kelly, The Conservation Fund (CA)
  • Brian Shillinglaw, Manager, Policy & Regulatory Affairs, New Forests (CA)


D09. The Use of Conservation Easements in Adapting Conservation to a Changing Climate | All Levels

We have made significant investments in conservation easements to protect cherished conservation values in the United States. These investments are based on a static view of the world, while the world is changing.  Changing climates are causing species ranges and ecosystems to shift, often affecting the conservation values upon which easements are based. We need to adapt our existing applications of tools such as conservation easements to these changing conditions if we are to continue to safeguard our biodiversity and natural resources into the future. The goal of this workshop is to explore how conservation easements for protecting conservation values can be utilized in the context of a changing climate and to provide practical guidance for adapting to climate change while achieving conservation outcomes in the future.

  • Rebecca Shaw, The Nature Conservancy (CA)
  • Terry Root, Stanford University (CA)
  • Ann Taylor Schwing, Commissioner, Land Trust Accreditation Commission (CA)


D14. Buying Land - Lost in the Wilderness: Unique Considerations for Conserving Private Land in Federal Wilderness Areas | Intermediate

There are over 107 million acres of Federally Designated Wilderness Areas and better than 16 million acres in Wilderness Study Areas nationally.  Within these areas we estimate there are in excess of one half a million acres of privately owned land.  New proposed designations develop every year and many include private lands.  Local land trusts receive calls from these owners to either sell their land, or to sell or donate a conservation easement.  While these wilderness parcels can become high profile, extremely significant parcels for land trusts to work on, completing transactions in wilderness areas involve many unique considerations a land trust should be aware of before proceeding too far with a possible transaction.  This course will highlight the critical issues specific to wilderness transactions and provide the basic understanding for land trusts to make careful conservation decisions when determining how to proceed.

  • Reid Haughey, President, Wilderness Land Trust (CO)
  • David Kirk, Wilderness Land Trust (CO)


D16. Lessons Learned in IRS Audits of Colorado Conservation Easement Donors CLE | All Levels

The Internal Revenue Service started an audit project of Colorado conservation easements in 2005.  Several hundred taxpayers were audited, and the audits involved approximately 100 conservation easements held by land trusts that are members of the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts.  Lawyers Larry Harvey and Bill Silberstein have represented over 30 landowners in the audits, in the Appeals Division of the IRS, in Tax Court, and in Federal District Court.  Appraiser Mark Weston has served as an expert in several of these proceedings.  Lawyers David Wooldridge and Ronald Levitt represented the landowners in the Kiva Dunes conservation easement case in Alabama, in which the Tax Court ruled in favor of the landowners in June, 2009.

  • Bill Silberstein, Attorney at Law, Isaacson Rosenbaum P.C. (CO)
  • Larry Harvey, Attorney
  • Mark Weston, Appraiser, Hunsperger & Weston, Ltd. (CO)
  • David Woolridge, Attorney, Sirote & Permutt, P.C. (AL)
  • Ronald Levitt, Attorney, Sirote & Permutt, P.C. (AL)

D17. Preserving Family Lands: Part I CLE *| Basic/Intermediate

This workshop is the introductory course for land trusts, taught by the author of the income tax regulations on conservation easements and the three Preserving Family Lands books.  This double-session workshop covers tax code easement requirements, including post-mortem easements, general deductibility issues and basic estate planning rules, and very briefly covers succession planning for the landowner (limited partnerships, trusts, etc.). Part II, session E18.

  • Stephen J. Small, Attorney at Law, Law Office of Stephen J. Small, Esq., P.C. (MA)


D21. The Economic Benefits of Land Conservation: Making the Case | All Levels

This session reviews the economic benefits and fiscal impacts of local land conservation. We begin by presenting the broad categories of potential economic and fiscal impacts of land conservation. We then provide an overview of how to measure these values. Next, we present real case studies where The Trust for Public Land has conducted economic benefits research and used the results effectively. Lastly we discuss how land trusts can use economic information to enhance land conservation efforts.

  • Jessica Sargent-Michaud, Senior Research Associate, The Trust for Public Land (MA)
  • Matthew Zieper, National Research Director, The Trust for Public Land (MA)


D22. Looking Beyond the IRS: Colorado's Creation of a Conservation Easement Oversight Program | All Levels

This workshop provides a unique look at how a state government agency has worked with local land trusts to increase stability in Colorado’s conservation easement community. The director and program manager of the Colorado Division of Real Estate will present on the implementation of major reforms of Colorado’s tax credit program, including new certification requirements, investigations and the role of the new Conservation Easement Oversight Commission.

  • Hollis Glenn, Program Manager, Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (CO)


Workshops Session E -- Wednesday 1:30pm -3:00pm

E12. Demystifying Carbon Verification: Making a Case for Avoided Deforestation as a Valid Means of Carbon Sequestration | Intermediate

Currently, avoided deforestation is not recognized by the Kyoto Protocols as a valid means of carbon sequestration. With the development of the REDD (Reduced Emissions from Degradation and Deforestation) methodology, researchers have begun to explore options whereby avoided deforestation is recognized but have stated concerns over cost, leakage and additionality. This presentation will address those criticisms, and will make a recommendation for avoided deforestation to be recognized as a valid means of carbon sequestration in the US.

  • Robert Keller, Executive Director, Mountain Conservation Trust of Georgia (GA)


E17. Conservation Easements and Tax Compliance The Rules You Need To Know CLE *| Basic/Intermediate

The session will cover the basic income tax and estate tax rules applicable to conservation easements, including the requirements for a deduction. The tax benefits resulting from a contribution will be illustrated and explained in detail, including the issues affecting the amount of the deduction. Potential uses of conservation easements and identifying candidates for contributions will be discussed. In addition, the penalties for noncompliance will be addressed, as well as ways to avoid becoming “front page news.”

  • Jack Sawyer, Attorney, Alston & Bird LLP (GA)


E22. State Tax Credits: The Legislative Landscape, the IRS and What's Next | All Levels

State Conservation Easement Tax Credits are a powerful incentive for promoting land conservation. Eight years ago Colorado adopted legislation that first made the Credits transferable. Virginia soon followed suit, and in 2008, New Mexico’s legislature adopted transferable credits. In this session we will provide an overview of recent developments in this rapidly evolving area, including new legislative approaches to curb potential abuses as well as a look at how these approaches might provide guidance for states considering implementing a tax credit program.

  • Michael Strugar, Director/Attorney, Conservation Resource Center (CO)
  • Tina Burghardt, Program Manager, Conservation Resource Center (CO)


E23. Climate Change Policy: Opportunities For Land Conservation | All Levels

Several noted climate policy experts, including the recent staff director of a relevant House Committee, will share their outlook on emerging opportunities for land conservation in state and federal global warming legislation, including natural resources adaptation funding and incentives to keep carbon sequestered on agricultural and natural lands. We will also discuss: 1) Securing Incentives for Carbon Sequestration on Conserved Lands; 2) Natural Resources Adaptation Funding in Federal Legislation; and 3) Outlook for State and Regional Policy Under a Federal Regime.

  • Dan Siemann, Senior Environmental Policy Specialist, National Wildlife Federation (WA)
  • Julie Sibbing, National Wildlife Federation (VA)
  • David Moulton, Director, Climate Policy and Conservation Funding, Wilderness Society (DC)


Federal Partner Sessions -- Wednesday 3:30pm - 5:00pm


Landscape Conservation With The Bureau of Land Management

Meet Bureau of Land Management staff who are advancing on-the-ground collaborations with land trusts.

Department of Defense Special Session

Even as it evolves to meet the challenges of a changing world, the Department of Defense (DoD) is working to build upon its superb record of addressing the impacts of urban sprawl and critical habitat needs.  New senior DoD leaders will discuss this track record and their plans for meeting the challenges of climate change through the Sustainable Ranges Initiative.

Forest Service and Conserving our Nation's Forests

The Forest Service works with partners to conserve open space across the country by managing 193 million acres of national forests and grasslands; conducting research and technological development; and providing technical, financial, and educational assistance to landowners and communities.  During this session, the Forest Service will provide an overview of the agency's efforts, and how they can and do work with land trusts and other conservation organizations.

NAWCA for Fish – The National Fish Habitat Action Plan and Conservation Act

Nearly 40% of North American fishes are listed as imperiled and more than two-thirds of these are listed as federally threatened or endangered.  Habitat alteration is the principal factor in this conservation crisis and is the principal motivation for the development of the National Fish Habitat Action Plan (NFHAP).  NFHAP is a partnership driven initiative that encompasses the entire U.S. through the work of its Fish Habitat Partnerships.  NFHAP is designed to improve the condition of fish habitat by focusing on the scientific and conservation capabilities of Federal, State, and Tribal governments, industry, conservation organizations, and local communities.  Modeled after the highly successful North American Wetlands Conservation Act, NFHAP and its authorizing legislation – the National Fish Habitat Conservation Act – will ensure quality fish habitat by providing federal funding to implement projects focused on protecting, restoring and enhancing fish habitat and populations. Learn about current projects being undertaken through the program and ways in which land trusts may become involved in this new program.

  • Christy Plumer, Director of Government Relations, The Conservation Fund (VA)
  • Virgil Moore, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
  • Tom Busiahn, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
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Advocates Alerts

February 12: The House successfully voted 279-137, demonstrating a supermajority (67%) of support, on H.R. 644, a package of charitable incentives including the conservation tax incentive.Now we need your help in the Senate to secure co-sponsors! Sens. Heller and Stabenow have requested land trusts’ assistance in asking senators to cosponsor S. 330, the Conservation Easement Incentive Act. Learn more »

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Congress wrestles with tax breaks for open space

July 29, 2014 | Poughkeepsie Journal | NY

House passes Gerlach conservation tax break bill, now up to Senate

July 18, 2014 | The Mercury News | Pottstown, PA

The Time is Now for Congress to Act on Conservation

July 15, 2014 | Politico | Washington, D.C.

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