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December 18, 2017

Landowners’ Guide

Table of contents

  1. Working with the Cadillac Area Land Conservancy
  2. Donating Land
  3. Selling Land
  4. Criteria for Land Acquisitions

Working with the Cadillac Area Land Conservancy

The Cadillac Area Land Conservancy (CALC) can offer invaluable assistance in your effort to protect your land. The hallmark of the Conservancy is that we listen to landowners and help them devise the best way to keep their land open.

Our land protection volunteers offer the expertise and commitment to provide sound information and assurance of long-term land protection. CALC will work closely and confidentially with you as you make decisions for your land, and the Conservancy will be there to ensure the land is protected long after the project is completed.

The Conservancy’s approach is strictly voluntary: we work with willing landowners who share our conservation goals.

What is the Cadillac Area Land Conservancy?

The Cadillac Area Land Conservancy is a private, nonprofit corporation. Our mission is simple and straightforward: we protect significant natural, scenic, and farm and woodlands — now and for all future generations.

We protect land by accepting donations of land or conservation easements. In some special cases when funding is available, we may buy land or certain rights in land. We work on preserving land in Lake, Osceola, Missaukee and Wexford counties.

How the Cadillac Area Land Conservancy Can Help You

  • We listen to your goals for your land and help match these with protection opportunities.
  • We can serve as recipients and stewards of conservation easements and land.
  • We can provide referrals to attorneys, appraisers, and accountants familiar with conservation strategies.
  • We are a “public charity” as defined by the federal tax code, and donations of land, qualified conservation easements, or cash and securities to us are tax deductible.

Tax Examples in This Booklet

Many of the land conservation options highlighted in this booklet involve tax benefits to the landowner. As such, this booklet includes a few basic examples of the different types of tax benefits and how they are calculated. The tax examples in this booklet are simplified and generally address only federal tax considerations and are based on current tax laws as of this printing. The examples are provided to show generally how the tax benefits work, not to guide you in calculating your own benefits. Your personal tax outcome in any particular situation will depend on factors such as the value of your donations, your income, the extent of your other deductions, the availability of state and local tax deductions, and so on. Furthermore, your donation of land or a conservation easement should include a desire to protect your land and not be based solely on tax savings. You should consult a tax advisor who can review your personal situation and make calculations for you.

Conservation Easements

A conservation easement is a legal agreement between a landowner and the Cadillac Area Land conservancy that permanently limits a property’s uses in order to protect its conservation values.

How Conservation Easements work

When you own land, you also “own” many rights associated with it. These property rights include the rights to harvest timber, build structures, grow crops, and so on (subject to zoning and other restrictions). When you grant a conservation easement to the Conservancy, you may permanently give up some of your development rights and retain other use rights to grow crops or harvest timber as designed by you the landowner. If your property is sold, future owners are also bound by the easement’s terms.

Conservation easements can be used to protect a wide variety of land including farms, forests, wildlife habitat, and properties with scenic views. Conservation easements are drafted in a detailed legal agreement that outlines the owner’s uses of the property and the responsibilities of the landowner and the Conservancy.

Easements Are Flexible

The landowner and the Conservancy tailor the easement terms to protect the land’s conservation values and to meet the needs of the landowner. Thus, each easement is a unique document.

Generally limitations are made on the number and location of structures and types of land use activities that can take place.

The Conservancy cannot accept an easement that does not meet our conservation standards, but these standards are met in different ways on different properties. For example, a farm might be protected by an easement that allows continued farming and the building of some additional structures for agricultural purposes. For a property containing habitat for a rare wildlife species, an easement might prohibit development of any kind. A working forestland easement can allow for sustainable timber harvesting and possibly a limited number of home sites.

A conservation easement can serve as a flexible tool in a family’s financial planning. The easement may apply to just a portion of the entire property it could also allow some building within the area under easement, if that is compatible with the easement’s conservational objectives. A conservation easement can also be combined with other protection methods. Please see the back of this booklet for the Acceptance Criteria for Conservation Easements.

Easements Are Enforced

When the conservancy receives a conservation easement, it takes on the permanent responsibility and legal right to enforce the terms of the easement. We monitor easements by inspecting the land regularly (yearly in most cases) and maintaining communications with landowners about future plans in order to avoid conflict with the easement. If a future owner or someone else violates the easement — for example, by erecting a building that the easement doesn’t allow — the Conservancy will take action to have the violation corrected, including going to court if necessary. These permanent responsibilities are a long-term cost to the Conservancy and they may request a cash donation from the easement donor to help pay for future stewardship expenses.

Keeping family lands in the family: What Public Act 446 of 2006 may mean to you to prevent your property taxes from becoming ‘uncapped’.

Under current Michigan law, when a property is sold or transferred, the property’s assessment is “uncapped” and the parcel is taxed upon its state equalized value (SEV: 50% of its true cash value). To many families, this means the difference between keeping the land in the family or selling it due to a dramatic and sudden increase in property taxes (“pop-up” tax).

Thanks to the newly enacted P.A. 446, permanently protecting your land through a qualified voluntary conservation agreement eliminates this “pop-up” property tax.. For example, let’s say that Mary Smith owns an 80-acre tract of land with a taxable value of $57,000; the current SEV is $500,000; she currently pays $2,500 in property taxes. This land has been in the family for over 20 years and upon Mary’s passing, her daughter Susan will inherit the property. Mary is concerned that Susan won’t be able to afford the new property taxes (they would increase to $10,910!) and that the property may need to be sold. Mary decides to permanently protect the family land with a conservation agreement. That way, when the property is transferred to Susan, her taxes will not be uncapped, and she will save about $8,000 a year in property taxes. Hopefully, this will help Susan keep the family land in the family!

A Common Misunderstanding about Conservation Easements

The most common misunderstanding about conservation easements is the belief that they must allow the public to have access to your property. This is not true — conservation easements DO NOT require public access on your land.

Donating a Conservation Easement

By far, the most common way of conveying a conservation easement is by donating it outright to a Conservancy or governmental agency.

Qualifying for an Income Tax Deduction

The donation of a conservation easement that meets certain requirements of the tax code can qualify as a tax-deductible gift. These requirements include a provision that the easement must be donated in perpetuity. It must also be donated to a qualified charitable organization that has the commitment and resources to enforce the easement, such as a conservancy or a governmental agency. In addition, it must be donated exclusively for conservation purposes, such as the protection of natural habitat for wildlife or the preservation of open space (including farmland and forest land) that provides a benefit to the public by offering the public a scenic view.

In essence, the income tax deduction is reserved for the protection of conservation resources that truly provide significant public benefit. However, the internal Revenue Code (IRC) allows for a certain amount of flexibility in the qualification of conservation easements.

The Size of the Income Tax Deduction

For income tax purposes, the value of the easement is the difference between the value of the land with the easement and its value without the easement, otherwise known as the “before” and “after” values. (This is determined by an appraisal.) For example, suppose an unrestricted property has a fair market value of $500,000. The landowner donates a conservation easement to the Conservancy on the land that precludes further development. The fair market value of the land without its development potential would drop to $300,000. The value of the donation is considered to be $200,000.

Example

  • Fair Market Value of land before easement: $500,000
  • Fair Market value of land after easement: $300,000
  • Value of easement: $200,000

If a landowner is unable to deduct the full amount of the easement value in one year, the IRC generally allows for the deduction to be carried for an additional five years. This way the landowner may be able to more fully realize the benefit of the easement donation.

Although virtually all conservation easements result in some reduction in land value, there is no rule of thumb for determining how much that will be. Easements values have ranged from less than 10% to more than 90% of a property’s fair market value. In general, the highest easements values arise from very restrictive conservation easements on tracts of developable open space in areas where developmental pressures are intense. For example, a conservation easement over an undeveloped wetland or a remote farm will have lower value

Easement Acceptance Donation Request

If a person donating an easement receives a federal income tax benefit, CALC will request an additional donation up to $3,000. That amount will consist of ½ their federal income tax refund attributable to the easement donation after subtracting documented expenses. Documented expenses are outlined in the landowner section of “Documents Required When Accepting an Easement.”

Conservation Easements Often Reduce Property Tax

Placing an easement on your property may also result in a property tax savings. The tax assessment on an easement-restricted property should reflect the land’s lowered value after imposition of the easement. However, local assessment practices vary. Assessors may not be familiar with conservation easements; you may have to apply for a reduction in the assessment. There is currently no law in Michigan that obligates the tax assessors to honor the after-easement appraised value. However, in cases brought before the Michigan Tax Tribunal, the Tribunal has ruled in favor of a lower “after” easement value.

Reduce Estate Tax

It’s a fact of modern life that simply passing land on from one generation to the next may prove impossible for some families. For example, a landowner dies leaving land to her children. The children find that the land has appreciated dramatically since it was purchased. Because of its development potential, the land’s fair market value is in the millions of dollars. The federal estate tax is based on this fair market value, not on the land’s original price or on its current use. Selling all or part of the land for development may appear to be the only way to pay the estate tax.

A conservation easement can change this scenario. If the landowner places an easement on the land restricting future development, its fair market value will, in most cases, be reduced. When the landowner dies, estate taxes — based on the value of the land with its development potential restricted — will be reduced.

An Easement’s effect on estate taxes is generally more important to landowners with sizeable estates and substantial real estate holdings which can easily push a property’s value well above an affordable level for heirs’, without the landowner realizing it.

IRC Section 2031 (c)The Taxpayer Relief Act, passed in 1997, added significant incentive for the donation of conservation easements on family lands. Under Section 2031 (c), a qualified conservation easement donation allows for an additional exclusion of up to 40% of the value of the protected land for estate tax purposes up to a cash value of $500,000. 

It also provides the opportunity for a qualified conservation easement to be donated by the heirs after the death of their loved one, but before the estate tax return is filed. Postponing action on an easement until after the death of a landowner is not the best way to do an easement. If done soon enough after death it preserves the estate tax benefit, but it forfeits the input of the landowner and may lose income tax benefits. For complete information on all aspects of this Internal Revenue Code section, landowners should consult a qualified tax advisor.

Conservation Easements that are “working lands” with active management plans for sustainable forestry or agriculture.

These properties may have educational, recreational or economic goals.

Purchase of Development Rights

Where possible and when funds are available, the Conservancy may protect land by assisting or facilitating in the purchase of development rights (PDR) on certain priority properties. Our area has no local PDR funds at this time, but particularly valuable parcels may qualify under state or federal programs which do obtain more restrictions.

Here’s how it works: the land is permanently protected by a conservation easement, but instead of donating the conservation easement/development rights as a charitable gift, landowners receive a cash payment for some or all of their development rights. The value of the development rights is determined by an appraisal using the same methods for determining the value of a conservation easement.

PDR can be a useful tool in some communities where funding is available. Peninsula Township residents in Grand Traverse County voted to fund a PDR program in their township in 1994 and it has served as an effective tool for protecting farmland on the Old Mission Peninsula. The program has been so successful that an extension and increase of the millage in the township was approved in November 2002.

Conservation Buyer Program

On occasion, the Conservancy purchases key properties in order to protect them from development but with the sole intention of reselling the land. In most cases we would restrict the land with a conservation easement and then sell it to a “conservation buyer.” Alternatively, the buyer will purchase the land from the Conservancy unrestricted, but then grant a conservation easement on the property and take advantage of the available tax benefits.

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Donating Land

Land donated to the Conservancy for conservation is truly one of the finest legacies a person can leave to future generations. Our community is enjoying nature preserves and other open space today because of the foresight and generosity of the dozens of landowners who have made gifts of their land.

Donating Land Is Attractive to Landowners:

  • Whose land has significant conservation values and who do not have heirs; or whose heirs cannot or will not protect it;
  • Who own property (such as a vacation retreat) that they no longer use;
  • Who own highly appreciated property; the sale of which would result in large capital gains taxes;
  • Who have substantial real estate holdings and wish to reduce estate tax burdens;
  • Who would like to be relieved of the responsibility of managing and caring for land that they otherwise treasure; or;
  • Who wish to leave a legacy by preserving their land for future generations.

An outright donation of land has several benefits. It is a relatively simple transaction. It releases you from the responsibility of managing the land. It can provide substantial income tax deductions and estate tax benefits (while avoiding any capital gains taxes that would result from selling the property). Most important, if the land is donated because of its conservation value, it will be permanently protected.

Donation (and Charitable Deduction) vs. Sale (and Capital Gains Tax)

Donating land is a very generous act. But, especially if the land has appreciated a great deal since you acquired it, it may not be as large a financial sacrifice as one would expect. If you donate your land to a charitable organization or government agency, you can claim an income tax deduction equal to the land’s current fair market value (within limitations allowed by the tax code).

If you sell the land, you may incur capital gains tax on the appreciation. Your profit may be further reduced by a realtor’s commission (usually 6-10%) and expenses resulting from the time delay in finding a buyer.

Donating land will also remove its value from your estate, reducing further estate taxes. And, of course, you won’t have to pay property taxes on it anymore.

Working with the Land Conservancy

It is important to get the approval of the Conservancy before making a land donation. Although usually the Conservancy will welcome your donation, in some cases it will be unable to accept it- perhaps because it is not the type of land the Conservancy specializes in or because its location, size, or other factors would cause strain on the Conservancy’s management resources. If unable to accept the land, the Conservancy might be able to suggest another donee or a different protection technique.

It is typical for the Conservancy to request a financial contribution toward future management costs to enable it to fulfill its perpetual obligation to care for the land. Although this may seem an odd request to make of a donor who has already made a generous gift of property, it demonstrates that the Conservancy takes its stewardship responsibilities seriously.

Donating Land to Be Resold with a Conservation Easement

In some case, ownership by the Conservancy may not be the best long-term protection strategy for your property. If private ownership is most appropriate for the property (for example, if it is a farm or woodlot), the Conservancy may accept the land, place restrictions on it in the form of a conservation easement, and resell it. The land is then protected by the easement, the Conservancy’s management costs are reduced, and the Conservancy can use the proceeds from the sale for future conservation work.

Before the land is deeded to the conservancy, you should have a written understanding with the Conservancy, stating whether they plan to keep the land as a nature preserve or sell it to a conservation buyer.

Donating Land That Doesn’t Have Conservation Value

Land must have significant conservation value to be appropriate for preservation. But property without conservation value — for example, a commercial building, a house, or a building lot — can also be donated to the Conservancy. The Conservancy can sell or trade the property to help fund its conservation work. The donor can take a charitable deduction for the full fair market value and avoid the capital gains taxes that could have resulted from selling the land.

Donating a Remainder Interest

A landowner can donate land but continue to live on it by donating a remainder interest in the property and retaining a reserved life estate. The way this works is that the landowner donated the property during his or her lifetime, but reserves the right to continue to live on and use the property during their lifetime (called a “reserved life estate”). Other named individuals can be included in this reserved life estate as well. As such, the landowners have donated to the Conservancy a “remainder interest” in their property. When they, or those specified, die or release their life interests, the Conservancy will have full title and control over the property.

This approach offers a number of advantages. With a reserved life estate, landowners can continue to enjoy the land, but because the deed is transferred during their lifetimes, they have the assurance that the Conservancy has accepted the land. Finally, a gift of a remainder interest is often tax deductible.

Qualifying for a Tax Deduction

The donation of a remainder interest can qualify for a federal income tax deduction. The donation of a personal residence, vacation home, or farm to any charitable organization can qualify for a deduction.

A remainder interest donation can also qualify for a charitable deduction if it is given for conservation purposes to a qualified organization. The definitions of “conservation purposes” and “qualified conservation organization” are the same as a conservation easement donation.

The Size of the Income Tax Deduction

The deduction for donation of a remainder interest is determined by reducing the fair market value of the donated property by the value of the reserved life interest of the landowner or his designees, based on IRS actuarial tables. The more life tenants there are, and the younger they are, the lower the value of the remainder interest and, hence, the lower the income tax deduction.

Tax Deductions for Remainder Interests

If a single donor age 80 gave a remainder interesting her $200,000 home to the Conservancy, reserving the right to use the property for her lifetime, her federal tax charitable deduction would be $128,570 (64% of the value of the property, from current IRS actuarial tables using the IRS discount rate and effect for April 1999). Here are examples of how the deduction would be valued under other circumstances:

  • Donor and spouse (both 80): $106,960 (53%)
  • Donor (65): $82,928 (41%)
  • Donor and spouse (both 65): $58,464 (29%)

Charitable Gift Annuity

Under certain circumstances, donations of property can also be the basis of an income stream for the donor through charitable remainder trust or charitable gift annuity.

Donating Land by Will

Some landowners prefer to continue to own and control their land during their lifetimes, transferring the land to the Conservancy at the time of their death. This kind of donation is called a donation by will or by devise.

Before writing the devise into your will, you should make sure the Conservancy is willing and able to receive the gift. It is also important to have an agreement with the Conservancy about the future use of your property once it is transferred to the Conservancy. For example, is the land suitable to be used as a nature preserve? If not, can the Conservancy restrict the land with a conservation easement and sell it to a conservation buyer? If the land is suitable as a nature preserve, you may also want to consider a cash donation by will to assist the Conservancy with its long-term maintance and stewardship costs

It can be a good idea to name an alternate recipient (whose agreement also should be secured) in the event that the Conservancy is unable to accept the gift after your death. If you want to be sure the property is managed or used in a particular way, you could specify in the will that if the primary recipient fails to use the land as specified, the property transfers to another named organization.

Placing the donation in your will, rather than donating the land during your lifetime, means that you receive no income tax benefits from your gift and you will continue to be liable for property taxes. By the same token, removing the value of the property from your estate could significantly reduce estate taxes.

Get Independent Advice

The Conservancy can provide and array of information and assistance, but there are a number of things we cannot do. We cannot provide legal or financial advice or guarantee that a particular conservation plan is best for your personal and financial circumstances. We cannot state unequivocally that a particular conservation easement will qualify for a tax deduction or say how much the deduction will be. You should obtain your own independent advice from knowledgeable attorneys and financial advisors, while recognizing that you are responsible for the final decision.

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Selling Land

Bargain Sale

One alternative to a fair market value sale is a bargain sale, in which the land is sold at less than its fair market value. A bargain sale combines the income-producing benefit of a sale with the tax reducing benefit of a donation. It can also avoid the expenses of a sale on the open market. The difference between the lands appraised fair market value and its sale price is considered a charitable donation to the Conservancy, and can be claimed as an income tax deduction.

In cases paying the fair market value of the property would not be possible, a bargain sale may bring the price down to one the Conservancy can afford. Some government agencies also purchase land through bargain sales.

A gift to the Conservancy of land subject to a mortgage is also considered to be a bargain sale. It is treated, for income tax purposes, as though the Conservancy paid the amount owed on the mortgage to the landowner.

For any bargain sale, the donor’s intent to contribute the fair market value of the donated property in excess of the sales proceeds should be put in writing. For example, a clause could be included in the purchase and sale agreement recognizing that the value of the property is substantially higher than the sale price and expressing the seller’s intent to make a charitable contribution to the buyer. Alternatively, a letter could be sent to the donee prior to closing the transaction expressing the donor’s intent.

As for any gift of property greater than $5,000, the value of the asset must be substantiated by a qualified appraisal in order to receive the deduction.

Option to Purchase

Sometimes a landowner is interested in selling his land to the Conservancy, but the organization does not have the funds to buy it immediately. He might then give or sell the Conservancy an option to buy the property. Under an option, the landowner and the Conservancy contractually agree on a sale price, and the Conservancy is given a specified amount of time to exercise the option. However, the Conservancy is not obligated to purchase the land.

During the option period, the land cannot be sold to any other buyer. This gives the Conservancy time to raise the necessary purchase funds. It also enhances the Conservancy’s fundraising; people may be more interested in donating when they know that the money is going to protect a specific piece of land at a specific cost.

Right of First Refusal

If you are not ready to commit to selling your land, you might still grant a “right of first refusal” to the Conservancy. This gives the Conservancy the opportunity to match any bona fide offer you receive. As with an option, a right of first refusal does not obligate the Conservancy to purchase the land.

Conservation Easement Registry

If you are not ready to commit to any protection of your land at this time, you can join our Conservation Easement Registry by becoming a member of the Cadillac Area Land Conservancy and promising to notify us before you make any disposition of your land. This promise is not legally binding but it does give us a chance to present you with alternatives at the time that you are ready to do something with your land.

Acceptance Criteria for Conservation Easements

Land that contains an occurrence of rare, threatened, or endangered species or land that meet the following criteria should be recommended to the Cadillac Area Land Conservancy’s board of directors for approval.

Category A:

  • 1.Land is 40 acres or more.
  • 2.Land is adjacent to land already protected by the Conservancy.
  • 3.Land is located within a “Wildlife Corridor” as identified by wildlife experts and provides important wildlife habitat.

Note: If the land meets only one of the above criteria in Category A, it must also meet one of the following criteria in Category B. If the land meets none of the criterion in Category A, it can be accepted if it meets a minimum of two criteria in Category B.

Category B:

  • Land is within, or adjacent to, a federal, state, or a local forest/park boundary.
  • Land has ecologically important frontage or contains more than 500 feet of frontage on a body if water such as a lake, pond, river, or stream.
  • Land is consistent with a federal, state, or local conservation program such as a township or county master plan, a state-designated scenic highway, or a federally protected shoreline or watershed protection program.
  • Land contains a wetland that is ecologically viable (an identifiable and sustainable natural community).
  • Land contains habitat for rare, threatened, or endangered species.
  • Land is major trail corridor or has significant public recreational opportunities.
  • Land has a site that offers the general public a scenic view, such as a “scenic turnout.”
  • Land is within a scenic corridor from a well-traveled public road, lake, or river.
  • Land is farmland that is of regional significance and has been classified as having “prime” or “unique” soils under criteria set forth by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service.
  • Other (public relations, fund-raising, or land that may serve as a focus for future land protection efforts).

Note: There are certain considerations that may lead to the Conservancy board’s decision not to pursue a potential project. While the following list is not all-inclusive, it does give some indication of whether or not to go forward with a potential project:

  • Land is part of, or adjacent to, a development that is likely to have an adverse impact on the conservation values seeking to be protected.
  • Landowner insists on provisions in the conservation easement that would significantly diminish the property’s conservation values of the Conservancy’s ability to enforce the easement.
  • The easement would be unusually difficult to monitor/enforce due to multiple or fractured ownerships, high likelihood or destructive trespassing or dumping, and/or probable hazardous waste contamination.
  • Due to the potentially controversial nature of the easement, it may significantly detract from the Conservancy’s ability to achieve its goals.

All of the preceding notwithstanding, the Cadillac Area Land Conservancy board of directors retains discretion over accepting or rejecting conservation easements and will review each proposal on a case-by-case basis.

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Criteria for Land Acquisitions

The Conservancy owns and manages land as one way of meeting our mission of “Protecting land now and for all future generations.” Conservancy owned land is categorized as follows:

Preserves. Conservancy-owned land suitable for public access, which may include recreational development of trails, overlooks, etc.. Land is managed primarily for ecological goals but has a recreational component.

Sanctuaries. Conservancy owned lands that are protected for their exceptional and/or fragile ecological characteristics and are not suitable for widespread public access.

Reserves. Conservancy owned “working land” with active management for ecological restoration or sustainable forestry and/or agriculture. These projects may also have educational, recreational, and economic goals.

Determination of which of the above categories best represents each Conservancy-owned parcel is based on the Acquisition Criteria that define the parcel. All properties considered for long-term Conservancy ownership must meet the Acquisition Criteria as defined below:

Acquisition Criteria:

  • The Conservancy must have the necessary resources to meet both its long and short-term stewardship responsibilities for any land acquisition; and,
  • Land must meet a significant number of the items listed below:
  • Site provides valuable educational, recreational, or scenic attributes.
  • Site is in an identified area of importance.
  • Site provides public access to native natural features where such access is currently non-existent or underdeveloped.
  • Site supports species listed as state or federally endangered, threatened, or of special concern, or other regionally significant species.
  • Site supports a high quality of sustainable floral community of diverse species.
  • Site provides seasonally significant habitat- e.g., breeding birds, migration corridor, etc.
  • Site contains greater than 500 feet of undisturbed lake or stream frontage.
  • Site contains rare or unique natural features such as an entire inland lake.
  • Site is uncharacteristically large for the region. For example, it exceeds 320 acres in size.
  • Site will enhance an existing Conservancy-owned (or other) preserve, sanctuary, or reserve.
  • Site has good public access including access from a public road and a suitable site for parking.
  • Site provides a corridor between ecologically significant parcels of protected land or land likely to be protected by the Conservancy in the future.
  • Site provides viable opportunity for sustainable resource extraction while sustaining natural communities (for Reserves only).
  • Site is free of human-made structures, or the Conservancy has identified resources and flexibility to manage, sell, remove, or demolish buildings or other structures in a manner according to its mission.
  • Conservancy ownership of this land would enhance the Conservancy’s geographic representation within its service area.
  • Conservancy ownership and/or proposed management is supported by the local community.

The Conservancy is under no obligation to accept land may reject any such conveyance at its sole discretion. Properties meeting one or more of the following criteria are generally unsuitable for Conservancy ownership:

  • Land does not have significant conservation value.
  • Land could be protected equally or better by another method such as conservation easement, conservation buyer, public ownership/management, etc.
  • Land presents unreasonable liabilities to the Conservancy (buildings, hazardous waste, access/safety issues, etc.)
  • Land is better suited for federal/state/local government ownership, given public ownership patterns.
  • Land is too small to meet conservation objectives (typically less than 40 acres).
  • Land does not have legal access.
  • Conservancy ownership could not adequately protect natural features on the land because land has severed interests (minerals, timber, etc.), or conveyance is subject to do donor/seller limitations that inhibit the Conservancy’s ability to manage the land in accordance with its mission.
  • Land does not have significant native species.
  • The Conservancy has enough preserves of this type/location.

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