FORT COLLINS, Colo., April 11, 2011 -
Securing a permanent easement on a property can involve a cumbersome process. Ducks Unlimited's Colorado land program now has a new designation that should reassure easement owners. The Colorado Division of Real Estate has certified that Ducks Unlimited and its affiliated land trust, Wetlands America Trust, can accept conservation easements where the landowner will be claiming a state tax credit.
"The certification means landowners can trust we know what we're doing," said Julia Firl, DU land protection specialist. "The designation demonstrates our commitment to completing high-quality conservation work."
The Colorado Division of Real Estate, in consultation with the Conservation Easement Oversight Commission, reviewed 25 aspects of DU's organization. The oversight commission certified DU meets or exceeds all criteria necessary for qualified easement holders. Areas reviewed include due diligence procedures, easement monitoring, organizational capacity and governance.
Firl says the designation means DU has the staff capacity and resources to meet the long-term stewardship responsibilities of its easements. It also ensures new easement donors will be able to claim state tax credits on their donated conservation easements.
"Certification by the division provides peace of mind to our current and future easement donors that DU has appropriate policies and procedures in place to ensure sound transactions," she said. "This also allows our easement donors to reap the maximum tax benefit from their donations."
Colorado has certified DU through the end of this year, and the designation must be renewed every year.
DU also received the highest mark of distinction in land conservation when the Land Trust Accreditation Commission approved accreditation to both Ducks Unlimited, Inc. and Wetlands America Trust, DU's supporting foundation, which raises significant philanthropic gifts and manages DU's endowments and land holdings. DU/WAT is the first nationally accredited organization.
Ducks Unlimited is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 12 million acres, thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever.
Becky Jones Mahlum