Our Work / Conservation

Public Policy on Conservation

photo by Mallory Samson

The Peconic Land Trust is committed to keeping landowners, donors and our government partners up to date on the latest issues concerning land conservation legislation. Please check back often for updates.


The following is an update on the current legislative outlook adapted based on information provided by the Land Trust Alliance and other sources:

Enhanced Easement Incentive

In 2015, Congress passed and President Obama signed into law legislation that makes permanent a federal tax incentive supporting land conservation. First enacted as a temporary provision in 2006, the incentive is directly responsible for conserving more than 2 million acres of America's natural outdoor heritage.

Estate Tax

The Peconic Land Trust continues to pursue the deferral of estate taxes on land of conservation value with our local representatives.


New York State

Peconic Bay Region Community Preservation Fund Extension: 2050

Please note: The Peconic Land Trust does not collect or distribute the funds from the 2% real estate transfer tax (CPF).

The Community Preservation Fund, which was first approved by voters in 1998, provides funding to each of the five East End Towns (East Hampton, Riverhead, Shelter Island, Southampton and Southold) to protect farmland, open space, and historic structures.

The fund has been key to the preservation of nearly 10,000 acres that define community character and has raised over $2 billion.

The law has been put forward to the public for referendum three times for extension. The most recent extension, voted on the fall of 2016, extended the 2 percent transfer tax by 20 years to 2050.

In 2016, a new provision was added that allows each of the Towns to allocate up to 20 percent of CPF receipts to water quality protection projects. Each town had to develop and approve a water quality protection plan, specific to their Town's needs and requirements.

In 2022, East Hampton, Shelter Island, Southampton, and Southold added a ½% addition to the existing 2% real estate transfer tax that funds the Community Preservation Fund to be used for the Town Community Housing Funds. Each town had to adopt a Community Housing Plan so that the public would know how each Town would utilize the fund. Riverhead has yet to vote on the local law establishing the fund.

More on the Community Preservation Fund . . .

New York Environmental Bond Act

The Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act was approved by voters in 2022 at $4.2 billion. There has not been a bond act in New York since the 1990s. This is an opportunity to make a change in the environment across the state.

The Bond Act is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to:

  • Protect drinking water
  • Create new parks and trails offering recreation
  • Make communities more resilient to flooding and other climate impacts
  • Conserve food-producing farms, and
  • Preserve habitats essential for sustaining human health and agricultural productivity

For Long Island, the Bond Act will provide funding to conserve family farms, improve habitat for birds, fish, and other wildlife, and reduce local climate risks. Statewide, the Bond Act will support nearly 100,000 good, local, and family sustaining jobs.

New York State's Environmental Protection Fund and the Conservation Partnership Program

Since 1993, the New York State Environmental Protection Fund has provided dedicated funding to communities throughout New York to protect open space, clean drinking water, zoos, botanical gardens and aquariums, working farms, beaches, bays, rivers, and the Great Lakes. The EPF supports industries that contribute billions to the state's economy, including tourism, agriculture, forestry, and private investment in programs including recycling.

A 2012 analysis by The Trust for Public Land found that for every $1 of EPF funds invested in land and water protection, $7 in economic benefits are generated for New York State.

In the 2023-34 State Budget, Governor Hochul maintained EPF funding at $400 million, the highest level of funding in the program's history.

Included in the EPF is funding for the Land Trust Alliance's Conservation Partnership Program. This program assists land trusts in capacity development and projects. The Trust has received numerous grants through this program, most recently for building a trail with accessibility features at the Wolf and Reese Preserves.

Plum Island

Plum Island Coalition

The Peconic Land Trust has joined a coalition of organizations -- the Preserve Plum Island Coalition (PPIC). Plum Island is a federally owned, 840 acre ecological, cultural and historic treasure in Long Island Sound, off of Long Island's Orient Point, in the Town of Southold, NY.

Over 80 percent of the island is undeveloped -- its habitats and ecological interactions with the other nearby islands and surrounding rich estuarine waters give Plum Island high ecological value.

The Preserve Plum Island Coalition, made up of over 60 organizations from New York and Connecticut, advocates for the permanent protection of the Island's irreplaceable resources. For more information, visit PreservePlumIsland.org.

At the end of 2020, as part of the year end general appropriations bill, a provision to halt the public auction of Plum Island was included, and restores the normal disposal procedure for federal property. The Island is now under the federal Department of Homeland Security. The next steps are to ensure the island is transferred to another federal agency, state or other body, a process that may take several years -- click here for the press release from the Preserve Plum Island Coalition.

In 2023, documentary filmmakers, Thomas Halaczinsky and Petrina Engelke, worked on a project about Plum Island. Learn more about the project in this Suffolk Times article.

Government Officials

For links to your local representatives, see below.

And remember to thank your legislators for their support of programs that are important to you!

Suffolk County Legislature: https://www.scnylegislature.us

Nassau County Legislature: www.nassaucountyny.gov

New York State Governor's Office: https://www.governor.ny.gov/contact

New York State Senate: www.nysenate.gov

New York State Assembly: www.assembly.state.ny.us/

U.S. Senate: www.senate.gov/

U.S. House of Representatives: www.house.gov/

U.S. Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121

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