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Published: Sunday, 5/7/2006

Perrysburg land trust exceeds 4,000 acres

The Perrysburg-based land trust known as the Black Swamp Conservancy yesterday said it has hit a new milestone: Surpassing the 4,000-acre mark for preservation.

Kevin Joyce, executive director, said the milestone was reached through conservation easements on property owned by other people as well as some land the group has purchased.

Conservation easements are legal recordings that forbid land from being developed, even if it is sold or acquired through bankruptcy proceedings. Though they are recorded on a voluntary basis upon the request of current landowners, the documents are binding.

The conservancy, founded in 1993, has a paid staff of two people. Its focus, unlike the internationally known Nature Conservancy, is on northwest Ohio.

Much of the land the Black Swamp Conservancy has helped protect is farmland or property that still exists in its natural state.

The group now has land dedicated to conservation in Defiance, Erie, Fulton, Lucas, Ottawa, Paulding, Sandusky, Seneca, and Wood counties, as well as portions of southeast Michigan.

The group has been buoyed by voter passage of the Clean Ohio Fund in November, 2000, which authorized the state to raise $400 million over four years for land reclamation and preservation projects, generating seed money for organizations involved in such efforts.

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