Virginia ranks high in land conservation survey

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A recent survey of land trusts has found Virginia ranks first in the Southeast and fifth in the nation in total acres of land conserved.

The National Land Trust Census found that 10 million new acres nationwide had been voluntarily protected from 2005 to 2010. The number of protected acres now totals 47 million, up 27 percent in five years.

In Virginia, the total acreage conserved rose 77 percent over the five-year period to 1.13 million acres.

One of Virginia’s land trusts,  the Capital Region Land Conservancy (CRLC) ,said it had been involved in the conservation of 5,000 acres in Central Virginia since 2005, including 33 miles of stream and river frontage.

CRLC said an enhanced tax deduction for conservation easement donations has helped sustain a pace of more than 1 million acres voluntarily protected by conservation easements each year.

However, the group noted that tax deduction is due to expire at the end of this year unless renewed by Congress.

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