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    Maryland Environmental Trust

    MET Permanently Protects 36 Acres in Western Maryland in 2013
    by kking
     
    The Maryland Environmental Trust accepted three conservation easements in 2013 that will permanently protect 36 total acres of important forestland, wildlife habitat, and scenic views, in Garrett, Washington and Frederick counties. In Garrett County, MET partnered with the Allegheny Highlands Conservancy to accept a 29-acre easement donation from Ed and Donna Gates in December. Located in the northeastern part of the county, the land is forested and provides important wildlife habitat. It also offers beautiful scenic views along Frostburg Road. "We decided on the donation of a conservation easement because we wanted to ensure that the forest on our property will continue as a forest into the future, as habitat for forest-interior birds and other wildlife, and as a buffer that protects a small, spring-fed tributary of the Savage River," said Ed Gates. 

     

    The Maryland Environmental Trust was established in 1967 by the Maryland General Assembly as a charitable organization and serves as the statewide land trust. MET currently holds more than 1,050 easements totaling approximately 129,000 acres in Maryland. Governed by a citizen board of trustees, MET is affiliated with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and promotes the permanent protection of land through its Conservation Easement, Stewardship and Land Trust Assistance Programs. MET also provides grants to environmental education projects through the Keep Maryland Beautiful Program. 

  • Legislation Introduced to Expand Conservation Tax Credits

    An action alert from our friends at Maryland Environmental Trust, help them support legislation that would expand the tax credit for putting farmland in conservation. Legislation was introduced to expand the state income tax credit for donated conservation easements. Delegate Dana Stein and Senator Dyson have introduced legislation that will expand the existing Maryland income tax credit for donated conservation easements.  See HB0789 and SB0709 on the Maryland General Assembly website.  These proposed changes include the following:
     

    • Existing $5,000 credit to be transferrable. The $5,000/ $10,000 limit would to any transaction, whether by individuals or entities. The total credits allowed each year would be capped at $2,000,000. At death of owner, unused credit can be a credit against Maryland's estate taxes.

    • Available for donated easements approved by State Board of Public Works or certified by county agency charged with function of purchasing easements or approving of donations.

    • Easements donated to land trusts would also be eligible if certified by the appropriate county agency.

    • Easement must meet Internal Revenue Code guidelines for qualified donations.

    • Owner of transferred credit would be charged a fee of 3% of the credit amount to offset state's and agencies' administrative costs (split between Comptroller, MET and DNR).

    • Issuance of credits would not adversely impact the budgets of other state programs that preserve land.

    A transferrable credit is a very attractive conservation option as it can be sold by a cash-poor landowner to someone with a substantial tax responsibility. Transferability has proven to be a cost effective mechanism in other states (like Virginia) to increase donations of conservation easements. The proposed changes to the existing tax credit will further increase the rate of land protection.


    Please let Governor O'Malley, President Mike Miller, and Speaker Michael Busch know that tax incentives for donated easements are a cost effective tool to protect farms, forests and scenic open space! This proposed expanded tax credit provides an additional incentive for landowners to donate easements and permanently protect their land.

  • Oakland B&O Museum

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    The museum is looking for volunteers for the Huff and Puff train operation Wednesday's and Saturday's in the summer. The Huff and Puff is a children only, self-powered amusement ride to be located on the lawn at the Oakland B&O Museum. Training will be provided.

    If you are interested please contact:

    Barbara Heilig at barbheilig@yahoo.com

    or 301-616-4827

  • Mountain Maryland Gateway to the West Heritage Area

    The Heritage Area has opportunities for volunteers and partner organizations to work together to develop and enhance programming throughout the county. Volunteers are an important part of the Heritage Area and will help make Garrett County a better place to live, visit and work.

    For more information, please call or email:
    Jen Durben - 301-387-4386


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