Conserving Land and Wildlife

January 1, 2010 at 6:57 pm Leave a comment

Several ways to conserve land and its wildlife are to put it in Current Use (this land is already in CU), to put a Conservation Easement on all or part of your property, and/or to have Covenants on the property (some Covenants are already in place)Below are explanations of each of these.

  • Current Use
  • Conservation Easements
  • Protective Covenants

One of the many old stone walls on the property

Current Use

Current Use status permits landowners who own 10 or more contiguous acres to pay very low R.E. taxes. Even more importantly, it helps people of modest means own large parcels of land. Most of the open land in NH is in Current Use. The larger lots available for sale (11+ to 12+ acres) can largely be kept in Current Use and no action would need to be taken by you for that to happen. Only the footprint of your home, the area immediately surrounding it (your yard), and the driveway would come out of C.U. status and their tax rate would be changed to the regular residential rate. Under C.U. law, you are allowed to grow crops, raise animals, have horses, harvest trees, and even to allow low-impact recreational use such as hiking, cross-country skiing, etc. Permitting low-impact recreational use lowers your R.E. taxes even further than Current Use standard rates.

Conservation Easements (NOTE: Clicking on this link will open or download a PDF file, depending on how your browser is configured. It is written by The Society for Protection of NH Forests.) It has an excellent explanation of what Conservation Easements are. Among other things, this document explains:

  • Who owns the land when a Conservation Easement is placed on it
  • Who can hold Conservation Easements
  • What uses are permitted on Conservation Easement land
  • What uses are prohibited
  • Specific permitted uses you can request on easement land
  • Income tax deductions if you donate some or all of the value of the easement land to a qualified organization, such as the Piscataquog Land Conservancy, for example
  • How a Conservation Easement may reduce Estate Taxes
  • How such an easement on all or part of your land may make it easier to gift the land to your children without taking a tax hit

Entry filed under: Conservation, Conservation Easements, Current Use. Tags: , , , .

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