Major Conservation Legislation Passed By Congress Will Have Benefits For The Bay State And Its Residents

Release Date:
December 22, 2015

LINCOLN—Mass Audubon praised Friday’s bipartisan congressional vote that makes permanent a federal tax incentive supporting land conservation.

Farmers and forestland owners, community-based and statewide land trusts, and most importantly, Massachusetts residents, will directly benefit from the incentive that encourages landowners to place conservation restrictions on their land to protect important natural, scenic, and historic resources.

Conservation restrictions often provide tax benefits (deductions, reductions, etc.) to landowners in return for their surrendering or limiting development rights on their property.

Mass Audubon was among the 1,100 land trusts to support the incentive through a collaborative, multi-year campaign.

“This vote, supported by Democrats and Republicans alike, is a tangible reminder that open space is crucial to our collective quality of life” said Gary Clayton, President of the regional conservation and land protection leader. “This action provides Mass Audubon and other regional and local land trusts in Massachusetts a critical tool to preserve important land that fulfills an array of public purposes, including watershed protection, wildlife diversity, and family farms.”

In a strong bipartisan action, the House voted 318-109 and the Senate voted 65-33 to pass the bills that included the tax incentive. Once signed into law, the incentive will be applied retroactively to Jan. 1, 2015. An earlier version of the incentive expired Dec. 31, 2014.

Before the vote, Clayton had written the Bay State congressional delegation, urging it to support the legislation. Mass Audubon is a member of the Land Trust Alliance, the national land conservation organization that led the campaign for permanence.

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Mass Audubon protects 36,500 acres of land throughout Massachusetts, saving birds and other wildlife, and making nature accessible to all. As Massachusetts’ largest nature conservation nonprofit, we welcome more than a half million visitors a year to our wildlife sanctuaries and 20 nature centers. From inspiring hilltop views to breathtaking coastal landscapes, serene woods, and working farms, we believe in protecting our state’s natural treasures for wildlife and for all people—a vision shared in 1896 by our founders, two extraordinary Boston women. Today, Mass Audubon is a nationally recognized environmental education leader, offering thousands of camp, school, and adult programs that get over 225,000 kids and adults outdoors every year. With more than 125,000 members and supporters, we advocate on Beacon Hill and beyond, and conduct conservation research to preserve the natural heritage of our beautiful state for today’s and future generations. We welcome you to explore a nearby sanctuary, find inspiration, and get involved. Learn how at massaudubon.org.