Protecting Oak Woodlands with Conservation Easements Mike Spiess
Northern California Regional Land Trust Conservation Easements Protects the conservation value of the land by restricting the development of the land Legally binding agreement that is recorded Conservation Easements (CE) are permanent Agreement is voluntary with the holder of the easement. CEs have been an effective tool for land protection for 25 years
Northern California Regional Land Trust What kinds of property can be protected? Lands with significant conservation or historic value Agricultural lands including grazing lands Wetlands Significant habitat Open space and scenic areas
Northern California Regional Land Trust Easement Restrictions Easements seek to restrict changes that would damage the conservation value. For example: –Subdivision of the land –Industrial or commercial (urban) activities –Dumping Commonly easements do not cover an entire property
Northern California Regional Land Trust Why do land owners agree to CEs? Permanent protection of the conservation value of the land (natural features) –Easements are flexible and may not cover the entire property –Easements remain in force when the title to the land changes hands. Donation of an easement may result in a tax deduction Estate taxes may be reduced when the land is passed to the heirs allowing the heirs to retain the land. Purchased easements may generate needed revenues.
Northern California Regional Land Trust How do easements work? The easement grantor and holder agree on the restrictions. Different CE holders may have different criteria. The grantee often needs a payment (endowment) to allow for the cost of monitoring of the easement. Fees for appraisal, legal, surveying, etc. services may be paid by the grantor or the holder, or both. Purchased easements may require time for funds to be obtained. Every easement is different, so agreements can often take time.
Northern California Regional Land Trust CE’s are held by: Private Non-profit land trusts –Northern California Regional Land Trust –California Rangeland Trust –The Nature Conservancy Public Agencies –Federal – US Fish and Wildlife Service –State – Department of Conservation –Local – Conservation District
Northern California Regional Land Trust Easement Holder’s Responsibilities Monitor the property on a regular basis Enforce the terms of the easement
Northern California Regional Land Trust For More Information: Northern California Regional Land Trust http://www.landconservation.org 530.894.7738 Land Trust Alliance http://www.lta.org
Northern California Regional Land Trust About Mike Treasurer and Board member of the Northern California Regional Land Trust Faculty of the College of Ag at Chico State Founding member, former Treasurer and Board Member of the Sierra Foothill Conservancy Advisor to the Western Cave Conservancy Mike can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org