91-acre property helps build conservation corridor in Ashtabula County

January 18, 2016

A “strong conservation ethic” inspired David and Ellen Mayo, of Kirtland Hills, to permanently preserve 91 acres of natural areas and farmland. The property is part of a growing corridor of conserved land along the Ashtabula River and its tributaries.

“I’m passionate about the preservation of land, wildlife habitat, stream corridors, farms,” shared David Mayo. “It gives me goosebumps just talking about it. But we have to do more than just talk; we have to act now before these beautiful places are gone.”

The Mayos granted a conservation easement to the nonprofit Western Reserve Land Conservancy on their 91-acre property in Sheffield Township. A conservation easement preserves land by prohibiting or limiting future development. While it is voluntarily granted by the landowner, the easement is permanent and runs with the land. Landowners can realize significant tax benefits from granting easements on their property.

Rolling, tillable farmland, which rotates between corn, beans, wheat and hay production, makes up approximately 50 acres of the property. The remainder of the property boasts mature hardwood forest, hemlock ravines and tributary streams flow directly into the State Scenic Ashtabula River. In total, the easement permanently conserves two-thirds of a mile of stream frontage and 7 acres of wetlands.

Brett Rodstrom, vice president of eastern operations for the Land Conservancy, said that the vegetated and forested slopes on the property help control runoff, prevent erosion and mitigate flooding while helping to improve or maintain water quality in the Ashtabula River watershed. The Land Conservancy continues to work with the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and other landowners in the area to add to a 350-acre block of permanently preserved land along the Ashtabula River and its tributaries.

“During our initial property walk it became clear of Dave’s intention for the property which is guided by a strong conservation ethic,” shared Brett Rodstrom, vice president of eastern operations for the Land Conservancy. “Like many of our landowners, Dave knows every square inch of the idyllic preserve. We are grateful for the conservation example set by Dave and his wife, Ellen.”

Landowners interested in granting conservation easements on their properties are encouraged to contact Rodstrom at 440-528-4150 or