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Salisbury Turner Fund preserves local land

SALISBURY — In 2019, the Salisbury Conservation Commission established the Turner Conservation Fund. It is named in honor of Preston and Christine Turner, who gave an initial generous donation. The purpose of the fund is to conserve Salisbury land and water for agricultural, forest, wildlife, scenic, recreational or natural area use.
There are a variety of creative and flexible ways this fund could be used for conservation. It could be used to provide funding for:
•  Projects that would enhance biological diversity and protect wildlife habitat.
•  Projects that would protect and enhance town water resources.
•  Projects that would provide outdoor recreational opportunities.
•  Matching funds for leveraging of private, state, and federal grants for conservation projects.
•  The purchase of resource lands or conservation easements in cooperation with landowners or non-profit organization.
A significant number of conservation commissions in Vermont have established similar funds that are used for a wide range of purposes. For example, the Johnson Conservation Commission has established a Conservation Reserve Fund to be used for public education, land conservation and forest and wildlife habitat stewardship. Funds from the town-supported Conservation Fund in Plainfield have helped to defray costs of two conservation easements and contributed to the acquisition of land for the Cross Vermont Trail and the Town Forest.
In Warren, the town-supported Conservation Fund has supported farmland protection projects and forest parcel transfer to the U.S. Forest Service. Additionally, the town of Warren has been able to work with the Vermont Land Trust, and the Nature Conservancy to protect important parcels. Our northern neighbor Bristol has used their Conservation Reserve Fund to construct a handicapped fishing access on the New Haven River, for public education, and for leveraging outside funds to acquire parcels for conservation purposes.
Vermont towns have funded their conservation funds in a variety of ways. Some make an annual request for a set amount from the town budget. Others take a small percentage of the town’s property tax income.
The Turner Conservation Fund is currently supported by donations from interested citizens. The Salisbury Conservation Commission welcomes donations at any time. The first $5,000 of donations will be matched by the Turners. Expenditures from the fund would be initiated by the Salisbury Conservation Commission and made with Selectboard approval. Those interested in making a donation can contact Heidi Willis (redsprings@myfairpoint.net) or Barb Karle (bkarle@myfairpoint.net).

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