DENVER — Coloradans reap roughly $6 in benefits for every $1 invested in efforts to keep agricultural land and other open spaces from being developed, a report released Monday suggests.The analysis by the Trust for Public Land is the first to put a dollar value on the benefits of the state’s conservation easements, said Tim Wohlgenant, the group’s Colorado director. The report comes amid Colorado’s looming $1 billion budget shortfall, and the possibility of cuts to a state program that offers tax credits to set aside lands. A total of $511 million was spent on conservation easements in Colorado from 1995 through 2008. The money came from Great Outdoors Colorado, which uses state lottery revenue, and state tax credits.The process of quantifying the value of the 1.4 million acres under conservation easements in Colorado was based on the economic benefits of open space, wildlife habitat, clean water, scenic views and other qualities.
By Judith Kohler, Feb. 1, 2010 Aspen Times

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