Conservation funding

Conservation funding programs protect land that offers exceptional public benefits — like parks and public lands, productive farms and ranches, healthy watersheds and vital wildlife habitat.

Farm Bill: Lead the charge on reauthorization, rulemaking and implementation

The Farm Bill is the single largest source of federal funding for private land conservation and a top priority for the Alliance. We will continue to lead our members through the ongoing 2018 Farm Bill implementation process and will advocate for strong recommendations that support land trust community priorities in the 2023 Farm Bill reauthorization cycle.

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Additional conservation programs: Advocate for robust national and regional funding

The Alliance will advocate for sustained and new funding for additional federal conservation programs with a national or regional focus that support land trust conservation efforts. These programs include the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, and regional programs in watersheds across the country such as the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay.

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Expand access: Pursue opportunities for third-party holders in new and existing programs

Land trusts are equipped to increase the rate of conservation if the right tools are available. The Alliance will pursue legislation to increase opportunities for third parties to hold easements under new and existing conservation programs.

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Join the Farm Bill working group

The Farm Bill Working Group serves as a forum for discussion and information sharing regarding Farm Bill conservation programs, provides on-the-ground examples and insights on program implementation, and helps formulate Farm Bill policy recommendations in support of land trust community objectives.

Tax issues

State and federal tax policies can play a large role in advancing land conservation.


Tax shelters: Put an end to abusive conservation easement tax shelters

Abusive conservation easement tax shelters continue to cost taxpayers billions of dollars while putting at risk our public goodwill along with the critical federal policy and funding programs it helped us secure. The Alliance will continue to advocate in support of legislative and administrative actions to halt the abuse.

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Sound tax policy: Advocate for tax policies that advance land conservation

Federal tax policies can play a significant role in advancing land conservation by helping landowners pass property to the next generation or preserving sensitive habitat through like- kind exchanges. The Alliance will advocate in support of tax policies that further conservation while opposing policies that would undermine the ability of landowners to transfer lands to the next generation.

IRS reform: Inoculate conservation donations and tax credits from harm

The IRS continues to focus on innocent donor documentation mistakes (often called “foot faults”) that result in disqualification of truly charitable donations. The Alliance is working to safeguard these donations by pursuing legislation that reorients the IRS from focusing on such minor mistakes. Additionally, the Alliance will continue to seek opportunities to exempt conservation donations from the state and local tax limitation.

Energy and climate solutions

Land trusts can lead the way in addressing the impacts of climate change. Our goal is to promote policies and funding that advance natural climate solutions while supporting the protection, restoration and stewardship of natural and working lands that increase climate resilience.

Natural climate solutions: Drive funding to land trusts to protect resilient lands

Land trusts can lead the way in addressing the impacts of climate change. Our goal is to promote policies and funding that advance natural climate solutions while supporting the protection, restoration and stewardship of open and working lands that increase climate resilience and sequester carbon. The Alliance recognizes that proper forest management and responsible grassland management, including proper ruminant animal grazing techniques, can support these goals.

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30x30: Protect 30% of America’s lands and waters by 2030

In light of growing calls to adopt policies that will accelerate conservation, the federal government has established targets to protect 30% of America’s lands and waters by 2030. The Alliance will advocate for ambitious national land conservation targets and strategies that drive resources to land trusts, which are uniquely equipped to work with private landowners to protect more land to achieve this goal.

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Energy siting solutions: Advance conservation-compatible energy infrastructure

The Alliance recognizes that a transition to clean energy is an essential part of meaningfully combating climate change. Increasing pressure to site energy infrastructure – including renewable energy, carbon capture and storage, and related transmission projects – on conserved lands, however, is putting our community’s land conservation work in jeopardy. We will educate decision-makers on the importance of smart siting of energy infrastructure as guided by regional perspectives and without undermining the essential conservation values the land trust community works hard to protect.

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Other priorities

Response to national emergencies: Seek resources to assist land trusts

Land trusts can be impacted by national emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The Alliance will continue to monitor and analyze emergency response legislation and advocate for policies and resources that bolster our community in times of crisis.

Federal agency capacity: Enhance land trust access to federal conservation funds

To get federal funds for conservation on the ground more efficiently, we will advocate for increased staffing levels at federal agencies as well as reduced administrative barriers to federal conservation programs, particularly for historically underserved groups.