Conservation Easements

A conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement entered into between a landowner and a land trust that permanently limits a property’s uses to protect the land’s natural resource values. Easement lands remain in private hands and can preserve traditional uses of the land such as family farming or timber management, while protecting wildlife habitat, wetlands and riparian areas, scenic views, water quality, and other conservation values. Conserved land may be sold, mortgaged, or passed down to the next generation, though the easement becomes a permanent part of the title, running with the land in perpetuity. 

Easement lands remain in private hands and on local tax rolls while providing significant public benefits such as open space, scenic vistas and wildlife habitat.   An easement can apply to an entire property or just to a portion of it, depending on what future uses the landowner would like to allow. In some cases, easements may allow for additional home sites on a portion of the property.  Public access onto conserved land is not required, though a landowner may choose to allow such access.

Donation of a conservation easement may provide income tax benefits to donors.  Additionally, protecting a property with a conservation easement may reduce the amount of estate tax owed, thus making it easier for landowners to pass the property on to their children.  In some situations property taxes may be reduced as well.  To qualify for tax benefits, the agreement must be properly structured and provide significant public benefit by satisfying a “qualified conservation purpose.”  While the land trust cannot guarantee that the donation of your easement will qualify you for tax benefits, we will work with you to ensure that your easement meets the federal guidelines for qualified conservation purposes.

For more about conservation easements, see these Frequently Asked Questions.

25 Friendship St./P.O. Box 180Waldoboro, ME 04572Tel: 207.832.5570 info@medomakvalley.org