What rights does the easement holder have to my property?

If the Whidbey Camano Land Trust or another qualified organization accepts a conservation easement, it is obligated in perpetuity to oversee and enforce the easement’s terms and conditions. For example, such an organization has the right to enter and inspect the property (usually once a year) to ensure that the terms of the agreement are […]

What kind of land can be protected by conservation easements?

IRS regulations require that the property have “significant” conservation values. This includes forests, wetlands, endangered species habitat, beaches, scenic areas and more. The Land Trust also has its own criteria for accepting easements. At the invitation of the landowner, the Land Trust staff and board will evaluate the property to determine whether it meets Land […]

Does the conservation easement have to cover all of the landowner’s property?

No, some conservation easements cover only a portion of the landowner’s property. Again, it depends on the landowner’s wishes and the importance of the property. For example, if someone owns 100 acres, of which 80 acres are wetlands, forest or wildlife habitat, the owner may decide to restrict development only on these 80 acres. The […]

Who owns and manages land protected by a conservation easement?

The landowner retains full rights to control and manage his or her property within the limits of the conservation easement. The landowner continues to bear all costs and liabilities related to ownership and maintenance of the property. The Land Trust monitors the property to ensure compliance with the easement’s terms, but generally has no other […]

Who owns the conservation easement?

To qualify for a tax deduction, a conservation easement must be donated to a qualifying government agency or a qualifying conservation or historic preservation organization. The Whidbey Camano Land Trust qualifies as a federally recognized public charity and nature conservancy organization under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3). In addition, the Land Trust is qualified to […]

How long does a conservation easement last and who upholds it in the future?

Conservation easements are “perpetual,” that is, they last forever and run with the land, not the owner. The Land Trust monitors the property, generally once a year, to assure that the easement terms are not being violated. If the easement has been breached, the Land Trust will take whatever steps are necessary to uphold the […]

Do conservation easements require public access?

The public does not have access to property protected by a conservation easement unless the landowner who grants the easement specifically allows it.

Can the landowner still sell or give the property away?

The landowner continues to own the property after executing a conservation easement. Therefore, the owner can sell, give or lease the property, as before. However, all future owners assume ownership of the property subject to the conditions of the easement.

What activities are allowed on land protected by a conservation easement?

The activities allowed by a conservation easement depend on the landowner’s wishes and the characteristics of the property. In some instances, no further development is allowed on the land. In other circumstances, some additional development is allowed but the amount and type of development may be restricted. Conservation easements can be designed to cover all […]

Is land protected by a conservation easement exempt from property tax?

Properties protected by conservation easements are still subject to local property taxes and assessments. Because the land is still in private ownership, landowners retain the “right” and responsibility to pay property taxes. Conveyance of a conservation easement may reduce a landowner’s property taxes. Under Washington State law, county assessors must take a conservation easement into […]


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