would like to
welcome you to the web site of the Mississippi River Trust.
Twain once referred to the Mississippi River as the "body of
the Nation". Flowing from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico this
mighty river gave birth to both King Cotton and the blues. Its flood
plain is home to some of the richest wildlife habitat on earth and
some of this country's poorest people.
Mississippi River Valley has undergone many changes in the past
century. This multi-million acre floodplain has lost 95% of its
swamps, bayous, and alluvial bottomland hardwood forests to suburban
sprawl or has been lost to suburban sprawl or converted to agricultural
the very reason people call the Mississippi River Valley their home
is our rich history intertwined with its prairies, hills, mountains,
cliffs, bottomlands and bayous, coastal savannas, longleaf forests
and scenic rivers and streams. And it is we, the people of the Mississippi
River Valley, that must actively preserve the unique environmental
and social characteristics of America's favorite river.
many areas in this great Nation, private citizens own most of the
land in the Mississippi River Valley. For many of these landowners,
their property is more than a financial asset; it is part of their
family's history, their community and their state. But the landscape
is changing. Today about 80 percent of all residents in the Valley
live in cities and towns, compared to about 25 percent just 50 years
ago. As our urban population grows, natural habitats and scenic
open spaces are lost.
of the most significant factors affecting our landscape is the continued
breakup of family-owned farms. Family-owned farms, plantations and
recreational lands are affected by changing economics and the increasing
tax burden on property owners. Passing on a family farm or plantation
to the next generation is a time-honored tradition in the Mississippi
River Valley. However, estate taxes, which can be as high as 55
percent of an estate's total value, may force heirs to sell all
or part of a family property.
web site is intended to help landowners in the Mississippi River
Valley understand one of the most flexible and effective means of
conserving and protecting private property: the conservation easement.
A conservation easement is a legal agreement that ensures a property
will be managed in perpetuity according to the landowner's desires.
It may also quality the landowner for tax benefits.
easements can assist landowners in protecting their land, its wildlife
habitat, scenic areas of historic buildings. Every conservation
easement document is individually crafted and reflects the special
qualities of the land protected and the needs of the landowner.
easements can be tailored to meet a landowner's specific needs,
whether he or she owns 100,000 acres of 100 acres.
hope you will take the time to learn more about the Mississippi
River Trust and conservation easements by exploring this web site.
Your Friends at the Mississippi River Trust.