Does ECLT protect land outside the East Cooper area?
Although we are primarily focusing our land protection efforts in the East Cooper area, we will consider other properties. For example, in 2011, working with the Charleston County Urban Greenbelt Program, we purchased 3.7 acres in West Ashley that is now under conservation easement and owned by the Charleston Parks Conservancy. Please note that several criteria must be met for us to consider a conservation easement on your property. Learn more about the process in our How to Protect Land section.
Why doesn't ECLT take a position on proposals to develop large natural areas?
The ECLT promotes a non-confrontational, cooperative approach to land conservation. We believe our long-term objectives can best be reached by building relationships and consensus across diverse communities. By educating people about the conservation tools available for their use and empowering them to make appropriate decisions regarding community planning, we work in collaboration to fulfill the conservation needs of our area.
Why did you change your name to the East Cooper Land Trust?
The greatest development pressures are shifting northeast of Mount Pleasant into the towns of Awendaw and McClellanville, as well as surrounding rural communities. During our 2013 Strategic Planning, we decided we could have the greatest positive impact by focusing our efforts in the greater East Cooper area. This is an area bounded by the Cooper River to the west and the Santee River to the east, including Mount Pleasant, Daniel Island, Sullivan's Island, Isle of Palms, Awendaw, and McClellanville. We chose "Land Trust" because this is the widely-accepted term for an organization like us whose primary mission is to conserve land via conservation easements.
How can I protect my land from ever being developed?
The primary tool at the disposal of land trusts like ECLT is the Conservation Easement. A conservation easement is a legally binding contract between a landowner and a land trust. With this contract, the landowner agrees to permanently eliminate some of the uses of their land, while retaining ownership and control. The land trust, upon accepting the easement, is obligated to forever ensure the provisions of the easement are upheld. Much more information on Conservation Easements can be found at our Protection page.
Is my contribution tax-deductible?
The ECLT is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Monetary donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.
If you are establishing a conservation easement on your land, you could be eligible for a federal income tax deduction. The project must meet the federal tax code requirements for protecting the conservation value of the land. If so, it can be treated as a charitable gift whose value can be deducted from federal income taxes. In addition, you may qualify for tax credits on your South Carolina income taxes. You should consult with your accountant or tax advisor to determine if your gift qualifies for such tax benefits.