Work progressing at the Wildlife Area
With help from several volunteers, the Northwoods Land Trust staff worked in June at the new Marshall Wildlife Conservation Area to remove an old pier overlooking the beaver pond. A new pier and viewing platform is currently being contracted for completion in August. We pulled out, cut up and hauled over 1,800 pounds of materials. Special thanks to Ed Marshall, Ron Eckstein and John Huppert for all of their hard work!
More Volunteers in the Field
The Northwoods Land Trust worked with volunteers in May 2016 at Holmboe Conifer Forest State Natural Area. The volunteers constructed a couple of new sections of boardwalk over wet areas along the trail to keep the site from eroding. They also pulled and cut honeysuckle and buckthorn that are invading from the neighboring property and re-stained the entrance signs. Special thanks to Tim and Marcia Obukowicz for coordinating the trail projects and all of the volunteers who gave of their time and effort to help with this important work! Please call 715.479.2490 or email Trisha Moore at email@example.com to let us know if you would like to help with future invasive species removal or other projects.
Congress voted to approve permanent Conservation Easement Incentive Act
In a bipartisan effort, Congress voted at the end of December, 2015, to make the conservation easement tax incentive permanent. These enhanced income tax incentives will apply to conservation easements donated in 2015 and later. Our thanks to the Wisconsin legislators who voted for and co-sponsored the conservation easement incentive act.
The enhanced incentives to encourage private landowners to donate conservation easements have been in place since 2006, but had to be renewed by Congress every two years. The enhanced provisions expired again at the end of 2014, but the permanent protection also applies retroactively for conservation easements donated in 2015.
Those incentives increase the ability of landowners to utilize their appraised charitable deduction values for a conservation easement donation. Where previously landowners could deduct up to 30% of their adjusted gross income in any one year, under the enhanced incentives they can deduct up to 50% of their AGI. The enhanced benefits also increase the carry-forward period for using the deduction from an additional 5 years to 15 years.
In our experience at the Northwoods Land Trust, these enhanced conservation easement benefits mattered the most to lower and moderate income landowners who could not use a large charitable deduction in any one year. Wealthier families would often be able to fully utilize their charitable deduction within the limits of the original provisions.
Besides the Land Trust Alliance representing the 1,700 land trusts across the country, groups including the American Farm Bureau Federation, Ducks Unlimited, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Wildlife Federation, National Audubon Society, National Rifle Association and National Farmers Union broadly supported making the enhanced tax incentive for conservation easements permanent.
We greatly appreciate all of the bipartisan support making this important conservation tax incentive permanent!
“Tour de Conservation” Bike/Hike
The Northwoods Land Trust held a “Tour de Conservation” fun bike ride and field tour on Friday, August 21st. The free public event started at Town Hall parking lot off of County Hwy. B in downtown Land O’ Lakes. The 12-mile ride included a hiking stop at a 190-acre property permanently protected by the land trust in 2005 with landowners Sally & Bud Schlack. Special thanks to Sally Schlack and her family for sharing the family’s history and motivations for protecting the property on Perch Lake!
Volunteer Work Days
It was lots of fun and lots of work as volunteers helped NWLT get the new office building ready to move in. The first work day on January 28th was our big clean-up/spruce up day. We painted over some “lovely” wallpaper in the bathroom and dining area, painted ceilings and an upstairs office, cleaned the bathrooms, kitchen, garage and basement, took down old Christmas decorations, and removed a bucket load of hooks, screws and nails.
Moving day was March 1st. All of NWLT’s office furniture, many crates of conservation easement notebooks and other materials, and sixteen full file cabinet drawers were moved from the Reach & Schwaiger CPA office building a couple of blocks to our new home. It took five strong volunteers just to hoist a couple of desks to the second floor offices!
We have also had numerous donations for the NWLT kitchen and offices. Special thanks to Mary Schwaiger, Dan Wisniewski, Gary Meister, Marlette Larsen, Ron Becker, John & Jan Huppert, Roger & Carol Ziff, David & Kathy Noel, Jim Brown and Karen Isenbrands-Brown, Cindy Walters and Lora Hagen for all of their contributions!
Volunteers in the Field
The Northwoods Land Trust worked with volunteers and local biologist, Eric Kroening on November 4 to remove invasive shrubs near the Holmboe Conifer Forest State Natural Area. The volunteers pulled and cut loads of honeysuckle and buckthorn that are invading from the neighboring property. Our goal is to keep these and other non-native species out of the State Natural Area and regularly push them back from the boundary to limit the amount of invasives within the Holmboe property. Special thanks to the volunteers who gave of their time and effort to help with this important work! Please call 715.479.2490 or email Trisha Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know if you would like to help with future invasive species removal projects.
Building Renovation underway
With the help of Mark Shepherdson and the Arbor Homes crew and subcontractors, the NWLT office building remodel is underway.
From the first demolition (which made the building look like a haunted house), to electrical, plumbing, framing and drywall work, our new offices are quickly taking shape. Our thanks to general contractor Mark Shepherdson of Arbor Homes, and his excellent subcontractors for all of their high-quality work!
With partial grant funding from Wisconsin’s Focus On Energy program, we are also installing energy-efficient LED lighting throughout the front of the building, replacing the buzzing of the old flourescent fixtures.
With the installation of a new sign made by Ted Pasternak, Wolf Track Designs of Phelps, WI, we now have a new presence on Wall St. in Eagle River.
Stop by to see how we are progressing!
Annual Meeting held at NWLT building in progress
The Northwoods Land Trust’s 2015 Annual Meeting truly showed our work in progress! On Friday, June 26th we met at the new building for a light lunch where participants were able to meet the NWLT Board of Directors and get a first-time tour of the new building – very much under renovation. In fact, with no ceiling, no carpeting and just stud walls up, it looked more like a demolition project than a renovation.
The fun included an “NWLT Trivia” contest conducted by Executive Director Bryan Pierce with tootsie-roll pops as prizes to highlight a virtual tour of NWLT’s projects and activities.
Check out our 2014-15 NWLT Annual Report.
Also check out our recent article with North Central Conservancy Trust in Wisconsin Woodlands magazine! Contact the Wisconsin Woodland Owners Association for more information at www.wisconsinwoodlands.org.
The Northwoods Land Trust goes social!
Check out the latest postings by Outreach Coordinator Sandy Lotto on the Northwoods Land Trust’s Facebook site. Watch for the latest news, photos (including great ones from conservation easement donor Beverly Engstrom), and event announcements. Don’t forget to Like Us on Facebook.