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Land Conservation

The Living River Trust is committed to saving the last remaining open spaces in south Hampton Roads. With only 10% of land in the Elizabeth River watershed left undeveloped and ever increasing development pressure, the time to act is now. The Trust has conserved over 600 acres in just the last 10 years, but there is much more to do. The most common tools the Trust uses to conserve land include:


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  • Conservation easements

  • Gifts (donation) of property

  • Part-gift, part-sale transactions (bargain sales)

  • Land purchases

  • Proffers and mitigation land as part of sound land use planning

  • Partnering with other organizations, and identifying grant funds to protect land

The community benefits from conservation of open spaces and natural areas. Because of this civic benefit, there are tax incentives for private landowners who conserve their land through a donation that meets certain criteria, with possible income tax implications at the federal and state level, estate tax benefits at the federal level, and real estate tax reduction at the local level.

Our focus area is the Elizabeth River watershed, which includes the cities of Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, and Virginia Beach.


“The less of our landscape there is to save, the better our chances of saving it.”

 — William H. Whyte, The Last Landscape 

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