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Expanded Partnership - GRHA Helps Close First Easement in 2023

GRHA partners with Ducks Unlimited in many ways, including the Confluence Conservation Easement Program. In 2003, in response to the growing interest created by GRHA, Ducks Unlimited identified the Confluence as a conservation priority. When approached by GRHA, DU proposed developing a land protection strategy that focused on protecting 30,000 acres of private duck clubs, and the Confluence Conservation Easement program was hatched. These easements, held by Ducks Unlimited through the Wetlands America Trust, preserve the land in perpetuity, with a goal of eventually assembling enough parcels to effectively create a wall of protection against commercial development in the Confluence. History will credit GRHA as the catalyst and leadership foundation for creating what has become a very active and effective Confluence Conservation Easement partnership. GRHA initially supported the program by overall promotion and stewardship including many of GRHA’s board members and supporters enrolling their properties into a Conservation easement. To-date, in partnership, this program has perpetually protected more than 12,000 acres on 36 properties.  

Over the past few years, the program has slowed, with the last easement signed in 2020. GRHA met with DU to discuss what might help increase the uptake of the program, and in 2022, a new program addition to the partnership was hatched. GRHA once again stepped up and made a new commitment to the partnership by agreeing to help cover a portion of the landowners due diligence costs for each easement in an effort to increase uptake to the program.

The new partnership celebrated its first easements when two tracts of land totaling 75 acres closed this December. The properties, just west of Smartt Airfield, will protect natural and agricultural habitat in perpetuity and will help limit any potential future westward expansion of the airport.

To learn more about how you and/or your club can protect your property and help protect the Confluence, contact:

Steve Spezia, DU Conservation Easement Specialist: 314-941-6577

Mike Checkett, GRHA Executive Director: 636-587-6027

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