Bay Area Monitor: NOT SO EASY: THE COMPLEX MECHANISMS OF CONSERVATION EASEMENTS

Bay Area Monitor: NOT SO EASY: THE COMPLEX MECHANISMS OF CONSERVATION EASEMENTS
February 3, 2018 Peter

What do thousands of blooming Contra Costa goldfields and a wedge of blue cheese have in common? Both can be linked to a conservation easement, a tool used by nonprofit land trusts and public agencies to conserve land, support agriculture, and protect natural resources. A conservation easement is a legal agreement that a land trust or public agency can make with a landowner. Under these agreements, an owner willingly relinquishes the right to develop their land and agrees to use the land in ways that align with specific conservation goals. In exchange, the owner usually receives tax benefits, and in some instances, gets paid for forfeiting their development rights in perpetuity. The land trust or public agency assumes responsibility for monitoring the land and enforcing the terms of the conservation easement. Of the nearly 1.2 million acres of permanently protected land in the San Francisco Bay Area, 20 percent is privately owned and protected by voluntary conservation agreements, according to the Bay Area Protected Areas Database compiled by the Bay Area Open Space Council and the GreenInfo Network.

Read Full Article