While land conservation agreements are happening across the commonwealth, they’re especially prevalent in Albemarle.
Eleven Albemarle County properties totaling roughly 1,715 acres were put under protection last year, according to a statement from the nonprofit Piedmont Environmental Council. As a result, the council said that Albemarle now contains more land under conservation easements than any other locality in Virginia.
A conservation easement is a voluntary agreement between landowners and conservation groups that restrict a land’s use. Virginia allows an income tax credit for 40% of the value of donated land or conservation easements under the Land Preservation Tax Credit program enabled by the Virginia Land Conservation Incentives Act.
A total of 6,651 acres of land were protected last year in the counties of Albemarle, Clarke, Culpeper, Fauquier, Greene, Loundoun, Orange and Rappahannock.
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Albemarle conservation easements make up about 111,305 of 439,782 protected acres in the Piedmont Environmental Council’s region.
“This success is the direct result of decades of effort on the part of conservation organizations in the region, and particularly the County’s own land conservation programs, which have intentionally made conservation an option for landowners of all income levels,” said Kim Biasiolli, senior conservation field representative for the Piedmont Environmental Council, in a statement. “Right now we have this opportunity through the Comprehensive Plan update, during which community members have the chance to reflect on the value of natural lands and recognize the importance of these programs.”