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Letter: Conservation tool must continue

Our community should know about new legislation championed by our Congressman Ron Kind that will preserve a critical tool for land conservation.

The Conservation Easement Incentive Act, H.R. 1831, extends a 2006 tax incentive that has helped willing landowners to conserve about a million acres a year.

Unless Congress acts, this important conservation tool will expire at the end of 2009! I commend Congressman Kind for working to make it permanent and urge conservation minded landowners to take advantage now of the existing financial tax incentives for putting permanent conservation easements on their land.

Landowners in our community should know that this temporary federal incentive provides significant tax benefits for entering into voluntary conservation agreements.

By donating a conservation easement, a landowner gives up future development rights to permanently protect important natural or historic resources.

The owners may continue to farm their land, and are free to sell it or pass it on to their heirs.

Thanks to Congressman Kind and the many landowners with conservation easements on their land, we'll all benefit from the cleaner water, wildlife habitat, and local family farms, which contribute to the high quality of life in the St. Croix Valley.