Donating a conservation easement, Step-by-step
Landowners should contact a CLC project manager at 518.392.5252
- CLC staff will visit the property to assess whether the land meets CLC’s conservation criteria as well as the state and federal requirements.
- CLC staff work with the landowner(s) to agree on the general terms of the easement and to determine the land planning for the property.
- A deposit is required to start preliminary mapping work and the first draft of the conservation easement document.
- CLC’s Board of Trustees must approve the easement donation proposal.
- Landowners are advised to seek independent legal, financial, and/or tax advice.
- CLC will initiate a limited title search on the property to determine legal ownership, liens, mortgages, mineral or other leases, water rights and/or other encumbrances. Any mortgages or encumbrances will need to be subordinated by the lending institution.
- CLC will draft the easement and create an accompanying conservation easement map. Each easement is tailored to the specific property. The easement identifies important conservation values to be protected. It allows only permitted uses and/or reserved rights that will not significantly impair the important conservation values of the property. The easement contains only restrictions that the land trust is capable of monitoring and that are enforceable.
- A baseline documentation report, depicting the existing condition of the property at the time the easement is donated, is assembled.
- If landowners donate a conservation easement and wish to apply for a potential tax deduction, they must procure a certified appraisal documenting the value of the conservation easement donation within the same tax year of, but no more than 60 days prior to, the donation. An appraisal is not needed at the time of closing.
- After the easement is signed and filed at the county clerk’s office, CLC and the landowner begin a working partnership. Landowners continue to make all of their property management decisions pursuant to the conservation easement. CLC serves as a community resource and is available to answer land management questions. CLC maintains regular contact with landowners and, when possible, provides them with information on property management and/or referrals to resource managers.
- CLC has a responsibility to ensure that the goals of each conservation easement are upheld in perpetuity. In order to accomplish this, CLC staff conduct annual visits to answer any questions landowners might have about their easement and to document that the easement terms are being upheld.