|P.O. Box 884 * Chippewa Falls, WI 54729|
How does a Conservation Easment Work?
A conservation easement is a legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust (a private, nonprofit conservation organization) of government agency that permanently limits a property's uses in order to protect it's conservation values.
The conservation easement (called a "conservation restriction" in some states) is written up in a legal agreement that is tailored to protect the land's conservation values and meet the financial and personal needs of the landowner. An easement on property containing rare wildlife habitat might prohibit development of any kinds, for example, while one on a farm might allow continued farming and the building of additional agricultural structures.
In some cases, a conservation easement may apply to just a portion of the property, leaving the option of development open for the remaining part. It may allow limited building within the area under the easement.
The land trust takes on the responsibility and legal right to enforce the easement. If a future owner or someone else violates the easement - perhaps by erecting a building the easement doesn't allow - the land trust will work to have the violation corrected. (The land trust usually asks for donation from the easement donor to help offset the cost of future stewardship expenses.)