Your family farm. Waterfowl that give you such pleasure to watch. Scenic views of the Chesapeake Bay. Three centuries of agrarian economy. Do you want to see it all preserved? Would you like to give your children and grandchildren the opportunity to enjoy the treasures of the Eastern Shore? Contact us today about protecting your land with a conservation easement. To contact ESLC, please click here.
|The following generally outlines the key steps in completing a conservation easement:
How can I protect my land?
You can protect your land by donating or selling a conservation easement– a contract between you and an organization, like ESLC, that forever protects your land. By donating an easement you receive tax benefits, and by selling an easement you receive payment. Our land protection staff can help you find the option that best suits you and your land.
Frequently Asked Questions about Conservation Easements
What uses are prohibited on land subject to a Conservation Easement?
Most conservation easements held by the ESLC prohibit commercial and industrial activities other than farming, forestry, and other open-space uses. In addition, the terms of the conservation easement will restrict future residential development and subdivision of the property to a mutually agreed upon level. In general, the terms of conservation easements are flexible (within broad ESLC and IRS guidelines) and can be tailored to meet the needs of an individual landowner. Agricultural use is encouraged and forest harvest practices are allowed, or if the woodland on the property provides important wildlife habitat, the landowner can elect to limit forest harvesting for conservation purposes.
Does granting a conservation easement give the public the right to enter my property?
No. You continue to maintain private ownership in your property and the conservation easement conveys no rights to the public for access.
How are conservation easements enforced?
During the process of drafting the conservation easement, ESLC staff will document the condition of the property at the time of donation. Then, the ESLC will take on the responsibility to regularly monitor the property and to ensure that all future land uses are consistent with the terms of the conservation easement.
What type of land is eligible for a conservation easement?
The ESLC will consider acceptance of a conservation easement on lands that yield a significant public benefit and protect important conservation purposes. These properties may contain natural habitat, open space for scenic enjoyment, farmland, forests, or other natural features.
Does an easement impact my ability to sell the land?
No. A landowner can sell or other-wise convey land protected with a conservation easement. Since the easement is permanent, the restrictions run with the land and bind all future owners.
What are the benefits to the landowner?
The landowner can be assured that their land will never be developed beyond that level agreed to in the easement. In addition, the landowner and his or her heirs may be eligible for significant income tax, estate tax, and property tax savings for donating a conservation easement. For more information on this topic, please see our fact sheet on Tax Benefits From a Conservation Easement Donation.
|The explanation of complex tax and land planning issues provided in this fact sheet has been greatly simplified. For more detailed information and to ensure that a conservation easement donation will qualify for the described tax deductions in your particular situation, you are encouraged to seek professional counsel. Eastern Shore Land Conservancy staff cannot assure the deductibility of an easement donation.|