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Investing in Conservation

“Good Stewardship, Good Business, Good Neighbors”

Those six words mark the beginning of the cover story of the most recent edition of The Land Report and do a pretty good job of summing up our own feelings toward investing in conservation.  You see, investing in such practices as wildlife management, stream restoration, and recreational land use has a plethora of benefits to both people and the natural environment.  These include higher biodiversity, improved water quality, and, of course, higher real estate values, to name just a few.

In this particular story, billionaire T. Boone Pickens tells of many of the conservation efforts he has incorporated into his land investment strategy over the years.  As he puts it, “We always made a profit from the ranch sales.  But what I feel really good about is knowing that we left the land in better shape than we found it.”  Indeed, by incorporating wildlife management programs, Pickens was able to promote larger and healthier populations while also profiting off of the increased recreational values of the land.

Further, Pickens was also astute at determining the highest and best use for his and surrounding properties.  For example, when a colossal reservoir was discovered beneath the surface of his land in Roberts County, Texas, he recognized that rather than using that water to support irrigation-intensive agricultural practices, he decided to sell the water credits to local urban centers and instead allow the land to lie fallow.  In return, he not only profited off the sale of the water credits but also received tax benefits by placing his land into a conservation reserve program, and the land was allowed to return to pristine prairie.

You can read more about T. Boone Pickens and his conservation efforts by clicking here (begins on page 38).  While you’re reading, make sure to check out the stunning photography by friend of Field Sport Concepts, Wyman Meinzer.  And if you’d like a sample of our approach to investing in conservation, you can view a presentation given by FSC principal Bob McKee of McKee Carson at the 2011 Virginia Environmental Assembly by clicking here.

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