Conservation Easements

Conservation easements are voluntary legal agreements between a landowner and a land trust (or other qualified organization) such as the Merrill Linn Land & Waterways Conservancy in which the land owner, not some outside agency, places restrictions on the use of his or her property, in order to protect the natural values of the land. They (easements) are flexible and tailored to meet a landowner’s needs and vision for the land. Donation of a conservation easement protects your land permanently while keepingit in private ownership. A conservation easement, held by a land trust, provides permanent protection of the natural values of the site. The land owner retains ownership of the property an all rights and privileges for its use, except for the uses restricted under the easement.

Some tax advantages might be available to the landowner for placing his/her land under easement protection. The landowner retains all other rights over the property including the right to sell, lease, transfer or mortgage. The landowner can use the land in any way that is consistent with the easement. An easement does not give the public the right to enter the property, unless the landowner specifically requests that this be allowed.

Conservation easements are designed to conserve forever the important resource values of each property. An easement may cover portions of the property or the entire parcel. It is legally binding on all future owners and will be monitored and enforced by a land trust.