Voluntary Land Conservation
What is voluntary land conservation?
We establish voluntary land protection agreements with family farmers, ranchers, and landowners known as Conservation Easements. We also buy or receive gifts of land that keep our county a special place to live, work and play - forever.
How does it work?
Before we take on a project we assess the conservation values and benefits of the land, including:
- habitat values
- public benefits
- land uses - especially working landscapes
- educational or scientific purposes
- various technical aspects
Once we decide to pursue a conservation project, we work cooperatively with willing landowners to determine how to complete a project that benefits the local resources and meets the needs of the landowner.
During the negotiations process we determine how best to protect the land itself either by a direct purchase, where we take ownership of the land, or through conservation easements that keeps the land in private ownership, but protects it forever.
A Conservation Easement is a legal document that is recorded on the deed of the conservation property that protects the resources on that property. Each conservation easement is tailored specifically to meet conservation and landowner needs. There are many benefits to Conservation Easements including the maintenance of agricultural viability and several types of tax advantages for landowners. Tax benefits include charitable deductions on income tax and reduced estate values for estate planning. In some cases property taxes may be lowered, but this is not always the case and is never guaranteed.
Stewardship & Maintenance
Stewardship of our conservation lands is of great importance to the Land Conservancy. Each year we monitor all of our properties, including those under conservation easement, to assure that the conservation restrictions are being upheld. Regular monitoring, maintenance and restoration of our own lands is also undertaken to maximize our impact.
Local Story: Conservation of Hidden Springs Farm, Atascadero
Learn how the voluntary conservation of the Frank Family's Hidden Springs Farm provides economic benefits and protects the farm's future. Read More