Landowner Conservation Options
What Are My Options?
The most important factor in considering conservation options is your own goal as landowner.
Most successful conservation “projects” are between land trusts and people who want to see their land remain in a working landscape, open and less developed.
Each landowner needs to carefully evaluate their specific, long-term goals and needs to determine what development or use rights they need to keep, any agriculture operations they wish to maintain and what they maybe willing to give up in a conservation transaction.
As a land trust we will work with the landowner to consolidate these ideas, make suggestions and bring other ideas to the table to help the landowner understand the transaction and maintain the long-term viability of the property being discussed. The final decision to complete a conservation transaction is by mutal agreement between the landowner and the land trust.
To be eligible for a land conservation transaction, your land must have recognized conservation values. These conservation values include land important to the community for its agricultural production, wildlife habitat, wetlands, scenic open space, historic buildings or cultural resource sites.
If your land has these values, a conservation agreement can help you and your advisors evaluate conservation scenarios and potential incentives that fit your property and family needs.
Agreeing to deed land or a conservation easement is one way to realize the appreciated value in your land without selling it for subdivision or development.
The value of land or a conservation easement to be granted is determined by an independent real estate appraisal. Conservation easement values typically range from 25% to 60% of the fair market value of the land.
At the state and federal level, current law provides an income tax deduction for the donation of land or a conservation easement. Deductions are limited to a percentage of adjusted gross income, but may be taken over several years and the value of the land or easement donated for conservation is no longer part of the taxable estate.
As a landtrust we work with other organziaitons like California Rangeland Trust (CRT) to help landowners achieve a common set of goals. We are also members of the California Rangeland Conservation Coalition working to preserve Califronia’s vast rangelands along with the species and the way of life they support
Contact Us if you more questions about conservation easements and land conservation.