Conservation easements are one of the most powerful, effective tools available for the permanent conservation of private lands. A conservation easement is a voluntary, legally binding agreement that limits certain types of uses or prevents development from taking place on a piece of property now and in the future, while protecting the property’s ecological or open-space values. The easement allows the landowner to retain title to the ecologically valuable property while giving KPC the right to enforce restrictions on certain types of harmful activities. Conservation easements typically restrict:
· Disturbance of natural habitat
· Introduction of on-native species
· Extent of forestry, grazing or agricultural operations
· Mining, dredging, filling, dumping
· Development, such as buildings, roads, bridges, and other improvements
· Alteration of wetlands and other water bodies
The conservation easement and its development restrictions follow the land and all restrictions apply to future landholders. The use of conservation easements protects property for wildlife habitat and open space, keeping land in private hands and generating significant public benefits. By donating a conservation easement on a property, a donor may be able to reduce capital gains tax and receive an income tax deduction.