"What these easements do in large measure is allow landowners to be paid for any development value, but they get to keep using the land," Degiorgio said. "It is a win-win. The biggest thing you want to avoid is shopping malls and residential development."
The federal agency stressed that consideration for acquiring conservation easements stems from the biological significance of the area, the needs of wildlife and any anticipated threats and landowner interest in the program.
It added that easement purchases would occur with "willing sellers only" and be contingent upon available funding.
Those funds, the agency notes, come from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which is supported primarily by off-shore oil and gas leases.
The meetings on the proposal, all from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., are scheduled for:
• Dec. 4 — Cache County Fairgrounds Pavilion, 450 S. 500 West, Logan
• Dec. 5 — Rich County Senior Citizens Center, 21 N. Main, Randolph
• Dec. 6 — Bear Lake County Senior Citizens Center, 300 Hospital Way, Montpelier, Idaho
• Dec. 7 — Franklin Fire Protection District, 55 W. 1st Street, Preston, Idaho
• Dec. 10 — Cokeville High School, 435 Pine St., Cokeville, Wyo.
• Dec. 11 — Uinta County Library, 701 Main, Evanston, Wyo.
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