MORELAND HILLS, Ohio — The nonprofit Western Reserve Land Conservancy permanently preserved another 51 properties and more than 4,000 acres in 2013, marking one of the organization’s best years ever.
The preserved property total was only one short of the Land Conservancy’s high-water mark in 2011, while the 4,011 acres permanently protected in 2013 represented the organization’s fourth-best year behind 2012 (5,525 acres), 2011 (5,524) and 2007 (5,249).
In addition, the Land Conservancy’s Thriving Communities Institute, which is helping revitalize urban centers throughout Ohio, assisted in the formation of new land banks in Ashtabula and Richland counties in 2013.
To date, the Land Conservancy has preserved 533 properties and 38,494 acres.
Highlights of the Land Conservancy’s work with farm land in 2013 include:
Property owners Bob and Deborah Bumb — fifth- and sixth-generation farmers, respectively — granted conservation easements to the Land Conservancy preserving 750 acres of farmland in Huron, Erie and Sandusky counties. The Bumbs granted a total of 11 conservation easements.
• In eastern Erie County, John Nuhn preserved a total of 563 acres of predominantly rich agricultural land in an area his family has farmed for generations. Three conservation easements granted to the Land Conservancy preserved farmland in Florence and Vermilion townships.
• In Richland County, the Land Conservancy helped preserve a 154-acre grain farm and greenhouse operation. A conservation easement now protects the Daron family farm, which is northwest of Mansfield.
• In Lorain County, Lawry Babbit preserved 211 acres of farmland in Rochester Township within the Black River watershed. The farm — part of a 1,700-acre operation that produces corn, wheat and soybeans to support a large black Angus beef herd — is between three other properties on which the Land Conservancy holds conservation easements.
• Another 568 acres of farmland were protected in Huron County when Scott and Kathy Butts granted conservation easements to the Land Conservancy. The protected property, located in Hartland Township, is the base of operations for a 2,800 acre grain farm that includes land in Huron and Lorain counties.