Protecting 30% of Chesapeake Watershed Lands by 2030
Scientists from around the world have found undeniable evidence of the impending threat to the world's biodiversity. In the Chesapeake Bay, many conservationists recognize the need to increase efforts in the face of a growing population and rapid land-use change. That is why Chesapeake Conservancy has committed to protecting 30% of the Chesapeake Bay watershed by 2030 in our 30x30 campaign. There are 64,000 square miles in the Chesapeake watershed, or 41 million acres of land. About 11 percent of that area is developed in cities, towns, homes, roads, businesses and industry. Today, just under a quarter of the watershed—22 percent or 9.16 million acres—is permanently conserved.
Forests cover about 60% of the watershed, provide over $24 billion in ecological services, and provide $22 billion in forest products industry output each year. Yet, forest loss and fragmentation from development threaten up to 5.5 million acres of the most valuable forests. Science shows that streams and rivers degrade when the percent of forest cover in a sub-watershed drops below 70%. Conserving our region's forests is key to maintaining wildlife, drinking water supplies, water quality, recreation, tourism and economic sustainability.
Conserving 30% of the Chesapeake Bay watershed by 2030, and prioritizing conservation efforts to maximize benefits for nature and for people, is an appropriate and feasible goal for the conservation community. To address the current stresses on wildlife, ecosystems, working lands, and the Bay itself, and to prepare for a future with even greater impacts on nature in the region, the conservation community should adopt a 30% by 2030 goal for the Chesapeake. Targeting our shared conservation efforts can improve the health of rivers and streams, it can expand access to recreational opportunities, it can protect farms and forests, and it can preserve the heritage of our unique and treasured landscape
70 Acres of Chesapeake Watershed Lands Are Lost to Development Every Day! Here's How Your Real Estate Gift Can Help!
Please utilize the Chesapeake Conservancy Giftlands Viewer below to see how your property fits into the larger conservation landscape. With themes of biodiversity, culture, and recreation, your property can hold a variety of conservation themes. To utilize this tool, please enter your address of interest into the top left of the screen, and zoom to your parcel of interest. You can then click on your property to explore its various conservation values, and use the layer list on the right to identify more information about these conservation values.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. The tax deduction is based on a current appraisal of a property less any cash paid to or on behalf of the donor (say, to pay-off a mortgage). The tax deduction applies against the donor’s adjusted gross income, and is taken in the year of the gift plus, if necessary, five additional tax years.
Yes. A charitable donation of real estate eliminates taxes for capital gain and recapture of depreciation on the gifted portion of the property. Outright gifts are 100% tax free and tax deductible. Any cash paid to or on behalf of the donor (say, to pay-off a mortgage) is considered a “partial sale” and is taxed to the donor on a prorated basis.
Land, residential, commercial, hospitality, resort, farms. Every donated property must be marketable at a price close to appraised value within a reasonable marketing period. Please call and describe what you have.
Timeshares and property with no equity (burdened by too much debt) will not be accepted. All properties will be thoroughly vetted before any determination can be made.
There are two categories of real estate gifts:
- Trade lands are properties with limited or no conservation value and will be managed by our real estate transaction partner — Realty Gift Fund (RGF). The charitable gift of trade land properties has two steps: a donation to Realty Gift Fund, followed by a sale to a third party buyer. The first step produces the “charitable gift,” the second step produces the “charitable funds”. The charitable gift (the donor’s tax deduction) is based on a current appraisal of the property, and the charitable funds are the net proceeds (sale price less cash payments and closing costs) remaining after the sale of the property.
Realty Gift Fund keeps a portion of the net proceeds when the property is sold (minimum $20,000) to cover transaction costs and grants the balance of net proceeds to Chesapeake Conservancy to support their mission to protect 30% of Chesapeake watershed lands by 2030.
- Conserve lands are properties with strong conservation values that should be protected to preserve biodiversity, cultural resources, watershed protections and other conservation priorities. Conservancy staff will work with you to determine the best conservation strategy which may include the creation of a public park or establishing a conservation easement or deed restriction on the property.
The amount of charitable funds shared between RGF and Chesapeake Conservancy is based on the size and complexity of each donation but, on average, Chesapeake Conservancy will receive 90%-97% of the net proceeds.
Every gift of real estate valued over $5,000 is required to have a current appraisal produced by a qualified appraiser. An appraisal is considered current if it is dated no earlier than 60 days to the date that Realty Gift Fund takes title.
Most often the donor pays only for the appraisal. Realty Gift Fund usually absorbs all other financial obligations (partial cash payments to the donor, holding costs, broker fees, transfer taxes, closing costs, and the proration of property taxes) which are deducted from sale proceeds to produce the net proceeds.
No. Realty Gift Fund accepts properties from any state, and donors can gift properties located in other states to directly benefit Chesapeake Conservancy.
Yes. Realty Gift Fund can use its resources to pay off existing debt based on an evaluation of the loan amount vs. the property’s true market value.
Yes. Realty Gift Fund can use its resources to make sensible repairs to properties to improve the market value and shorten the time to sell a property.
Let’s start with a phone conversation about your goals and if the Realty Gift Fund platform fits your needs. Real estate is a major gift and we want to align our mission to your goals. We will ask you for the property type, the amount of debt or other cash needs, the property address, and what characteristics will define its market value.
Charles and Mary Dankmeyer worked with the Chesapeake Conservancy to donate a property they owned on the Eastern Shore that had become a rookery for blue herons.