If you are an owner of land that qualifies as “ecologically sensitive“, then it is possible, through Environment Canada’s Ecological Gift program, to donate all or a portion of your land to an approved land trust or conservation group and receive income tax benefits for the fair market value of the land.
There are two methods for “gifting” your land:
1. A direct donation of the land to the approved recipient group where they receive title to the land.
2. The creation of a Conservation Easement for the land, which is monitored by an appropriate group.
“An ecological gift of a conservation easement allows landowners to protect the ecologically sensitive features of their property in perpetuity, retain title, and be eligible for enhanced income tax benefits. Conservation easements are legally binding instruments whereby the landowner transfers specific rights, such as the ability to create building lots or cut trees, to an easement holder (usually a nature conservation organization or agency).” – Environment Canada
Please read the Environment Canada web site for details of the process for making an Ecogift (donation or easement), and the significant income tax benefits that can be realized.
The Friends of the Carp River encourages landowners to consider these two approaches to conservation. We recommend the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust, a local organization, who will work with landowners to protect their property if it meets one or more of the following criteria:
1. The land is directly on the Carp River and its flood plain.
2. The land includes a significant tributary of the Carp River.
3. The land is part of the Carp Hills.
The process will involve some legal costs and it will take months to obtain the necessary government ecological sensitivity certificate and fair market value assessment. However, you will have the comfort and satisfaction of knowing that your land is protected for future generations, and your generosity will be recognized by the government in the form of tax credits.
The Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust is an approved recipient for land and for holding conservation easements.