Ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Why Hunters Need to Know What’s Going on in DC Right Now

(Editor's note: The House Ways & Means Committee passed the measure, advancing it forward.)

Hunting is Conservation! And here’s yet another reason why hunters and conservationists need to know what is happening in Washington D.C. right now! On Thursday, May 29, 2014, the House Ways & Means Committee meets to vote on a series of tax bills. Among them is H.R. 2807 or the Conservation Easement Incentive Act.

In a nutshell, the measure makes tax incentives permanent for those who decide to donate conservation easements. A conservation easement protects wildlife habitat on private property. It is a voluntary legal agreement with a landowner to protect their land in perpetuity from development and other uses that could diminish its wildlife habitat values but still allows for many traditional uses of the land. 

Conservation easements are a major tool used by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation in our mission to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage. So far over our 30 years of land protection efforts, RMEF held 199 conservation easements that protect 384,389 acres in 16 different states. 

Birch Creek conservation easement (Utah)
By way of specific example, RMEF’s most recent conservation easement took place in northeast Utah where a conservation-minded family worked with several partners to permanently protect more than 6,000 acres of prime elk habitat. However, elk are not the only benefactor. Deer, antelope, sage grouse, moose, other mammals and trout are also positively affected by the transaction. This donated conservation easement pays huge dividends for wildlife by protecting their habitat while also offering the rancher or farmer a financial incentive. The alternative is private landowners sell their land for development which wipes out habitat that will never be restored.

The bottom line is conservation easements are vital to the conservation effort not only in elk country but for deer, turkeys, ducks, fish and other species across the nation. 

Here is a list of lawmakers who serve on the House Ways & Means Committee. If one of your House representatives serves on the committee, urge them to support this worthy effort. If they are not on the committee, ask them to co-sponsor H.R. 2807 and encourage their peers to vote in favor.

HF Bar Ranch conservation easement (Wyoming)

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