Land preservation the focus of Michigan Conservation Week 2008
From clear lakes to lush forests, Michigan is blessed with bountiful natural resources that provide both beauty and rich opportunities for outdoor activities that give residents great pride.
Michigan’s outdoor tradition helps make our state a great place to call home and supports a tourism industry that brings billions of dollars to our economy. Wise management of these resources will ensure that the natural beauty and quality of life we enjoy today may also be enjoyed by future generations.
Land preservation is the focus of the second annual Michigan Conservation Week, April 20-26. Our state is facing the loss of farmland, and shrinking areas of forest, shoreline and open space. This year’s event highlights the responsible use and protection of our natural resources and the important work land conservancies do to help preserve land with natural, agricultural, or recreational value in our communities.
Conservation Week salutes the many local and state efforts to protect land, such as the Washtenaw Land Trust that stepped forward to help preserve the historic farmland of the Geddes family in Pittsfield Township. The property, which is more than 150 years old, will continue as an operating farm and a sanctuary for wildlife trying to survive in an area of rapid development.
Michigan is fortunate to have land conservancy organizations that are doing their part. Through the efforts of these partnerships, more than 400,000 acres of shoreline, forests, unique agricultural land, and other special areas have been protected for future generations. In Washtenaw County alone, conservation programs protected a record 1,720 acres in 2007.
I applaud the outstanding work of the state’s land conservancies, and I am proud that conservation week activities include the announcement of Senate legislation to promote increased conservation. The measures will help:
• Increase available funds used to purchase and develop recreational land through the Natural Resources Trust Fund;
• Provide an income tax credit for the voluntary donation of lands or land rights; and
• Create a tax incentive for businesses to make conservation donations.
My colleagues and I have also launched an ambitious and wide-ranging conservation plan called the “Green Michigan Initiative.” The plan focuses on protecting our Great Lakes and inland waters, expanding recycling, developing green energy alternatives, and reducing waste in our state landfills. These bills are currently moving through the Legislature.
At the local level, we can work to preserve the natural resources in our own communities. Some ideas for a family project include joining with neighbors to clean up a local park, recycling, or adopting a spring tradition of planting a tree.
You can read more about Michigan Conservation Week and the Green Michigan Initiative and find local conservation information by visiting my Web site at www.SenatorRandyRichardville.com.
By Randy Richardville
State Senator - 17th District
Posted: Wednesday, April 23, 2008
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