Here at the Conservancy, we are embracing the change of seasons. Snow is settling on the mountains. Our communities are quieter. The cows have come home from the high country. In agriculture, this is a time to catch your breath, and we are following that important example.
Over the past several months, a great deal of energy went into our annual fundraising event. However, our mission-driven work continued during that time, and we are grateful to now have the opportunity to share and celebrate many recent achievements including:
first year accomplishments of the Community Conservation Connection program
a new 598 acre easement with Arrowpoint Cattle Company
our renewed land trust accreditation status
a new tax credit law to accelerate land conservation in Colorado
Looking ahead to the winter months, we will be reviewing organization-wide goals and objectives, discussing next steps and continuing important community conversations around conservation.
Community Conservation Connection program sees big successes in its first year
The Community Conservation Connection program is an innovative tool for conservation that keeps more of our beautiful agricultural lands in operation as Chaffee county changes and grows.
The program's 1st year was a big success, with 9 participants enrolling over 3,300 acres in voluntary 5-year agreements.
These short-term agreements buy valuable time during a period of rapid growth and development in Central Colorado, when it's more important than ever to keep these land and water stewards on the land.
For every dollar spent on land conservation in Colorado, there is a $6 return on investment based on the value of the ecosystem services conserved.
Arrowpoint Cattle Company: 598 acres of newly protected land
Arrowpoint Cattle Company is owned and operated by two sisters in Chaffee County.
This active cattle operation, adjacent to the Arkansas River, practices managed grazing to improve soil health, while also irrigating hay and pasture lands and producing beef for local restaurants.
The conservation easement also protects working lands, wildlife habitat and scenic views from the Collegiate Peaks Scenic Byway and Browns Canyon National Monument.
Conservation easements can take a long time, and this was no exception. This success comes after five years of working towards a final agreement.
"Everyone knows how hot the real estate market is in Chaffee County right now," says project lead Lucy Waldo. "I am so grateful that this family chose to conserve their land, rather than sell to somebody else for fast cash.”
Thank you to our donors on this project including GOGO, NRCS and Chaffee Common Ground.
Conservancy renews its land trust accreditation
Did you know Central Colorado Conservancy goes through a rigorous process to ensure we are operating at the highest possible conservation standards?
The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, the national accrediting body, renewed our accredited status this fall!
We have proven to have sound finances, ethical conduct, responsible governance and lasting stewardship. We are proud to serve communities in Central Colorado to protect the places we love.
New conservation easement legislation incentivizes more voluntary conservation of private lands
The Conservation Easement Tax Credit Modifications legislation (HB21-1233) was signed into law this summer.
A key element of the bill is to increase the tax credit incentive up to 90% of the donated value of a landowner's conservation easement, up from 50%.
For example, a landowner donating a conservation easement valued at $500,000 is now eligible for $450,000 of Colorado tax credits, which they can use or sell for about 85% of their value. Previously, this same easement donation would have garnered about $250,000 in Colorado tax credits.
This increase is especially helpful for rural landowners who are looking to invest in the future of their lands, stay in production or even expand their operations. Rather than sell or subdivide their ranch, for example, they can invest in conserving it.
This increased financial incentive will help accelerate land conservation in a state threatened by the ongoing climate crisis and population growth.
A big thank you and farewell to Conservation Director Lucy Waldo
Lucy Waldo has been with the Conservancy since 2013.
Over the years, she has worked with landowners in Central Colorado to bring many land protection projects to fruition, including the 472-acre Colorado Outward Bound property near Leadville and the 598-acre Arrowpoint Ranch.
Lucy collaborated with ranching families in Chaffee County to develop the Community Conservation Connection program and with dedicated volunteers to monitor the Conservancy’s protected properties.
On November 3rd, Lucy left her Conservancy staff position, but she will continue on a contract-basis to help wrap up some final project details for upcoming closings.
We’re grateful to Lucy for her work on conservation and for her efforts to serve the communities of the Upper Arkansas watershed.
Fundraising and membership updates
Our 20th anniversary event was a big success, raising around $70,000 or over one third of our annual operating budget. Thanks to everyone who made it possible.
Wondering if your membership is current? Just hit reply to this email and ask. Or, save time and automate your membership by selecting "recurring donation" on our online donation form.
If you shop on Amazon, you can make donations to the Conservancy at the same time, at not extra cost to you. First, set the Conservancy as your preferred organization. Then be sure to do all your shopping from smile.amazon.com, and Amazon will give us 0.5% of all your eligible purchases.
The Conservancy in the news
The Conservancy weighs in on HB21-1233 and how it's a big win for our ranchers in Central Colorado (read here).
Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser visits Shawn Andrick Memorial Preserve (read here).
Partners at The Trust for Public Land and Colorado Cattlemen's Agricultural Land Trust protect the 392-acre Pridemore ranch, one step closer to finalizing the Heart of the Arkansas project (read here).
Thank you for being a steadfast partner in the protection of our local lands and waters. We couldn't have achieved all of these great accomplishments without your support.
Inspired by something you read? Consider making an additional donation before the end of the year!
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