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Metro Newsroom

500+ Acres of Historic Farmland Donated

Wednesday December 28, 2011

Mayor Greg Fischer today announced the donation of a conservation easement in Oldham County, which ensures that a scenic 524-acre farm will remain forever protected. Edward and Cornelia Bonnie have donated the easement on their Stonelea Farm to the Louisville/Jefferson County Environmental Trust.

Conservation easements are voluntary, legal agreements between land owners and land trusts that permanently limit the uses of the land in order to protect its conservation value. The land is still owned and managed by the property owner who agrees to give up forever certain rights such as additional residential, commercial or industrial uses. Because the agreement runs with the land, restrictions apply to all future owners of the land, as well.

Stonelea Farm includes 242 acres known as the Ross-Hollenbach Farm which is on the National Register of Historic Places as well as several other historic structures and cemeteries. The Ross-Hollenbach House was built in 1811 with later additions built in 1947 and 1948. The terms of the Bonnie easement allow for continued agricultural use as well as conservation and equine educational activities.

The Stonelea property drains into the South Fork of Harrods Creek and conserving this land will help protect the water quality of Harrods Creek including the part of the creek that flows through Jefferson County on its way to the Ohio River. In addition, there are about 129 acres of woodland on the property that help provide wildlife habitat and water quality protection.

Mayor Fischer described the donation by the Bonnies as “ …a fine example of regional cooperation that will strengthen the quality of life for both Oldham and Jefferson County residents by protecting water quality in our shared Harrods Creek watershed as well as scenic views, important historic resources and productive agricultural land in our region.”

The Louisville/Jefferson County Environmental Trust is partnering with the non-profit organization, Oldham Ahead, in the conservation of the Bonnie property. Oldham Ahead has recently become a land trust and assisted the Trust in the research and documentation of the conservation values of the property. The group will also be assisting with land stewardship responsibilities such as monitoring the Bonnie property annually to ensure that the terms of the conservation easement are upheld.

About The Louisville/Jefferson County Environmental Trust:
The Louisville/Jefferson County Environmental Trust is a land trust that is associated with Louisville Metro Government. It was created by ordinance in 1997 to help implement Cornerstone 2020’s goals related to parks, natural areas, greenways, historic sites and farmland. The Trust’s nine-member Oversight Board consists of five citizens and four members who represent Metro agencies that are responsible for public land.

The Oversight Board reviews offers by landowners who wish to donate conservation easements to Louisville Metro Government. The Oversight Board makes recommendations to Louisville Metro Council, and the Council makes the final decision about acceptance of the easement. The Trust holds conservation and preservation easements on 18 additional properties with important conservation and historic values in Jefferson County.