What is a Conservation Easement?
A conservation easement is a legal agreement between a landowner and the Land Trust that permanently limits uses on a property in order to protect the land’s conservation values. These values may include open space, shoreline, wildlife habitat, forest, or farmland.
Landowners who wish to conserve their property find conservation easements appealing for several reasons:
- Landowners continue to own the land – they can sell, lease, bequeath or donate the land with a conservation easement on it.
- Land is protected forever, regardless of who owns it.
- Conservation easements are flexible and the Land Trust works with landowners to make sure an easement is tailored to their needs and goals. Conservation easements may apply to an entire property, or a portion of it.
- Income tax, estate tax, property tax and/or gift taxes may be reduced or eliminated.
Conservation Easement Donations
Conservation easements are often donated to the Land Trust. Donations may offer great income and property tax benefits to the landowner. If the donation benefits the public by permanently protecting important conservation resources and meets other federal tax code requirements, it can qualify as a tax-deductible charitable donation. Contact your lawyer or financial advisor for professional advice.
Conservation Easement Sales
Since purchasing a conservation easement requires raising funding, we only make such purchases on properties with exceptional conservation qualities that offer the greatest public benefit and that are eligible for funding. When the Land Trust chooses to purchase a conservation easement, we raise funds from grants and private donors.