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Protect your property

Tom Jackson • Mar 30, 2014 at 2:10 PM

The Western Reserve Land Conservancy will host a program for property owners interested in protecting their land from development.

The nonprofit’s representatives plan to talk about how landowners have conservation options, such as easements, Ohio Agricultural Easement Protection Programs and other initiatives.

Want to go?

•WHAT: Western Reserve Land Conservancy program

•WHERE: Room A-101 at EHOVE Career Center, 316 W. Mason Road, Milan

•WHEN: 6:30-8 p.m. Wednesday

•COST: Free and open to public

“We need to protect the land,” said Andrew McDowell, the conservancy’s vice president of western field operations.

Some conservation initiatives, such as easements, allow a land owner to retain ownership of the land, McDowell said. The purpose is to limit development.

“They can continue to farm the land, live on the land, they can leave it to their heirs, even sell it,” McDowell said. “Farmers will tell you the last crop is asphalt and shingles. That’s what we are trying to prevent”

The group is not against development, but feels it should be done in places where it makes the most sense — not on valuable land, such as farm land or on woodland or wetlands.

“Agriculture is the number one industry,” McDowell said. “It adds to tourism with hunters, fisherman and birders. When we preserve private land it retains the character of the area”

The group has preserved thousands of acres in Northern Ohio. Some acreage remains in private hands, while some is maintained by organizations. As an example of the latter: Wakefield MetroPark, an acre in downtown Vermilion, on the west bank of the river, that’s now being managed by Erie MetroParks.

The Western Reserve Land Conservancy has been easy to work with, said Amy Bowman-Moore, director of Erie MetroParks.

“Land conservancy is our mission” Bowman-Moore said. “It’s important. There’s only so much land, and when you develop it, you change the area. Ecosystems cannot be replaced”

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