WPC Announces First Conservation Easement Donation in Centre County with Centre County Farmland Trust

Wed, Dec 28th 2016, 13:30. Filed under News Releases.

Pittsburgh, Pa. – Dec. 28, 2016 – The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) announced today the donation of a conservation easement from a private landowner, Dale Stover, on his 186-acre property in Haines Township, Centre County.

This is the first conservation easement to be donated to the Conservancy in Centre County. The Conservancy co-holds this easement in partnership with the Centre County Farmland Trust (CCFT).

“We’re excited to partner with the Conservancy on this conservation easement,” said Sarah Walter, executive director of CCFT. “This is the first time we’ve co-held an easement with another land trust, and doing so allows both organizations to work closely in the best interest of the community and conservation.”

With this donation, Stover is ensuring that this agricultural land continues as a working farm. The property also sits within a forested landscape that runs along Brush Mountain and includes large areas of Bald Eagle State Forest.

“The farm has been in my late wife’s family since 1945,” said Stover. “This is a fitting way to honor her and the East Penns Valley residents by preserving it for future generations.”

While there are no fishable creeks or streams on the property, important spring-fed groundwater sits underneath limestone bedrock that feeds Penns Creek, part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Any use or development of this land will have an impact on the watershed, making its protection even more important.

“Farming is at the heart of the Centre County community, and the donation of this conservation easement demonstrates its importance,” said Tom Saunders, president and CEO of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. “We are glad to partner with CCFT on this project to ensure this property remains as working agricultural land.”

The Conservancy has a long history of land protection in Centre and surrounding counties. In 1979, WPC protected more than 12,000 acres of land in Centre and Clinton counties to create what is today known as State Game Land 295, located east of State College. This natural area is best known for its wilderness trout stream—Cherry Run—and it remains the second-largest land protection project in Conservancy history.

Conservation easements are permanent deed-restriction agreements tailored to meet specific landowner needs and conservation goals. They limit certain types of development and help land stay protected in perpetuity even if it is sold. Recently, the federal government made enhanced income tax benefits for conservation easements a permanent part of the Internal Revenue Code.

WPC and CCFT will partner on the conservation easement stewardship, which includes annual monitoring of the property.

CCFT currently holds conservations easements on more than 11 properties in Centre County, totaling approximately 1,000 acres. The Conservancy currently holds conservation easements on nearly 36,000 acres of land in Western Pennsylvania.

The Conservancy and CCFT welcome inquiries from landowners interested in learning more about conservation easements or other conservation options. For more information, please contact WPC at 412-288-2777 or info@paconserve.org, or CCFT at info@centrecountyfarmlandtrust.org.

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Photos of the property are available for media use courtesy of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy:

High-res: http://bit.ly/2i5hXvu
Web-ready: http://bit.ly/2hgrwec

About the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy:
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) protects and restores exceptional places. A private nonprofit conservation organization founded in 1932, WPC has helped to establish ten state parks, conserved more than 254,000 acres of natural lands and protected or restored more than 3,000 miles of rivers and streams. The Conservancy owns and operates Fallingwater, which symbolizes people living in harmony with nature. In addition, WPC enriches our region’s cities and towns through 130 community gardens and other green spaces that are planted with the help of about 12,000 volunteers. The work of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is accomplished through the support of more than 10,000 members. For more information, visit WaterLandLife.org.

About the Centre County Farmland Trust:
The Centre County Farmland Trust (CCFT) preserves the legacy of Centre County’s valuable agricultural land and open space in partnership with landowners who wish to preserve their land through the donation of perpetual conservation easements. CCFT accomplishes its work thanks to more than 150 members. Learn more about CCFT at centrecountyfarmlandtrust.org.

Media Contact:
Carmen Bray
Director of Communications
412-586-2358
cbray@paconserve.org