In April, The Nature Conservancy of Kentucky and other member organizations of Conserve Kentucky witnessed a milestone when Governor Beshear signed HB 281, the first law passed in more than a decade to advance conservation in Kentucky. Thanks to the landmark legislation, qualifying land trusts like The Nature Conservancy of Kentucky will be eligible to apply for conservation funding through the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund (HLCF) for the first time in state history this fall.
“The state of Kentucky can now boast a brand new revenue stream in the way of leveraged public and private dollars dedicated to protecting natural landscape which provides clean air for breathing, clean water for drinking, healthy soils for food production, valuable wildlife habitat and open spaces for renewing our spirits,” says the Conservancy’s Kentucky State Director, Terry Cook.
Under the new law, land trusts are required to provide a 1:1 cash match.
Adds Cook, “Leveraging public and private dollars in this way happened as a result of legislators with vision working together with Conserve Kentucky, a consortium Kentucky organizations committed to securing public and private dollars for this important cause.
According to Cook, Conserve Kentucky is also crafting legislation that would establish a state income tax credit available to landowners who voluntarily preserve their land through the donation of a conservation easement and/or fee title. Such a donation would be required to protect conservation values defined by the state and made to an entity such as a state or local government or a 501(c)(3) land conservation organization qualified to hold such property interest.
According to the Land Trust Alliance, sixteen states have tax incentives in place for individuals who donate land or easements for conservation purposes. Kentucky has no state tax credit for land donation.
Mission Working to foster innovative collaborations between the public and private sectors, while pursuing legislation that conserves and sustains the many benefits that the waters, lands and wildlife provide to the people of Kentucky.
Bernheim Arboretum & Research Forest
Kentucky Conservation Committee
Kentucky Environmental Education Council
Kentucky Horse Council
League of Kentucky Sportsmen
Kentucky Natural Lands Trust
The Nature Conservancy
Note: Conserve Kentucky has also benefited from input by many organizations and the following agencies: Kentucky Nature Preserves Commission, Heritage Land Conservation Fund Board, PACE (Purchase of Agriculture Easements) Board, Kentucky Division of Forestry, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and Kentucky Division of Conservation.