Author Archives: admin

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FORT DRUM MARSH CONSERVATION AREA

Category : Uncategorized

Fort Drum Marsh Conservation Area encompassess 20,859 acres of freshwater marsh, forested wetlands, abandoned pasture and native range. The marsh area represents the southernmost reach of the St. Johns River’s headwaters.

There is something for everyone at Fort Drum. Can’t walk far or just don’t want to get out of the car? That’s ok – there’s plenty to see as you take a driving tour.

For those more physically inclined, there are opportunities for hiking, bicycling, primitive camping, and seasonal hunting.

Fort Drum is located 15 miles west of I-95 on Route 60, just east of the Twenty Mile Bend you will see a sign on the south side of Route 60, “Fort Drum Wildlife Management Area”. Turn there and a two mile drive south will take you to the Horsehoe Lakes Parking area.

palmetto

There you will find benches by the water – a great place to enjoy lunch! No motorboats or airboats are allowed, so you will experience a quiet that is hard to come by these days!

For more information, call the St. Johns River Water Management District, 1-386-329-4404 or go tohttp://www.sjrwmd.com

 


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HAVING TRUST IN LAND

Category : Uncategorized

 by Katie Campbell, Vero Beach Press Journal Staff Writer
Sunday, March 27, 2004 
.Here’s the choice: Sprawling pastures with cattle grazing in the distance or sprawling subdivisions with houses sprouting on the horizon.

“People are finally figuring out the farms and ranches are the best bet we have for preserving Florida,” said John Tallent, director of land management for the agricultural business Lykes Bros. Inc, in Highlands and Glades counties.

Tallent spoke to a group of farmers, Realtors, bankers, bureaucrats, environmentalists and elected officials in the 2004 Land Preservation Symposium organized by the Indian River Land Trust, a privately funded, not-for-profit organization working to protect Indian River County’s rural land.

For most of the past 10 years, the Land Trust has worked to purchase and restore the McKee Botanical Gardens, a $9.5 million project. Now the Trust is refocusing its efforts on acquiring — by purchase or donation — development rights of area landowers through conservation easements, which limit development of their land, yet still allow certain agricultural or recreational uses.

A conservation easement allows a farmer to still retain the right to use his land and lowers how much he pays in estate, income and property taxes, said Michael O’Haire, a Vero Beach real estate tax attoryney and Land Trust member, who spoke at the symposium.

EASEMENTS

Advantages of conservation easements:

 The landowner still owns the property 
and can continue to live on it, sell it, or 
will it to heirs.

 An easement can significantly lower 
estate, income and property taxes.

 Easements can be written to meet the 
needs of the landowner.

 Easements are permanent.

To discuss establishing a conservation 
easement, call the Indian River Land Trust 
at (772) 794-0701.

“The tax benefits can be an incentive, but tax reasons shouldn’t drive anyone’s decision to put their land into an easement”, O’Haire said.

But monetary incentive should figure into the equation, argued Tallent, who put a large chunk of his family’s land near Fisheating Creek, southwest of Okeechobee, into a conservation easement.

“By limiting your rights to develop, you are liquidating most of the value of your land,” Tallent said.

The worry is that once a farmer sells the rights to develop, it’ll be difficult if not impossible to ever mortgage or sell the land. Then if the price of beef or citrus falls and the farmer needs money, there are no options, Tallent said.

“If you’re going to do this, you really need to think about it because this is one of the potential downsides,” Tallent said. “But, I do think conservation is a great tool. It’s not free money though. There are strings attached to it and there are down sides.”

Toward the end of his speech, an audience member called out, “So what’s the up side of this?”

Tallent relented that there are positives. “You have the potential on a conservation easement to (get paid for) between 50 and 65 percent of the market value of your property and still own the property and be able to do what you’ve been doing,” he said.

That’s the most enticing part for Louis Schacht, the owner-manager of Schacht Groves, a small citrus business that his family has owned since 1950.

“If it means you can get paid to do something you’re already doing and take on a little more responsibility, it’s a win-win,” he said.

Schacht said he’s never sought out conservation easement as an option, but he sees it as a potential economic opportunity in a time when growing citrus hasn’t been overly lucrative. “It’s a unique option that appeals to both sides, agriculture and government, but it depends on your specific situation.”


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Member of the Land Trust Alliance

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ltAlliance

The Indian River Land Trust promotes the preservation and conservation of natural resources and special places in Indian River County, Florida. The general public and future generations will benefit by land that is protected by our efforts.

IRLT engages in land acquisition, education and research. We also work with other organizations who have related objectives.

Land Preservation Symposium

On March 26, 2004 the Indian River Land Trust sponsored a Land Preservation Symposium
featuring John Tallent, Director of Land Management, Lykes Brothers.