Conservation easements are useful planning tools for landowners and investors who may not be interested in conducting traditional subdivide and development activities on all or a portion of their properties. They can be placed in areas that have significant ecological, cultural, and historic values, but can also be placed to allow for public recreation and education, or simply to protect areas that are visible to the public (viewsheds).
Conservation easements are financial tools as well. They produce significant income tax benefits at the federal level and some states offer income tax credits and transferable income tax credits. In addition to tax benefits, there are many government programs and private entities/foundations that pay landowners for enacting conservation easement restrictions.
At UPRE, we have decades of experience funding and implementing conservation easements. Our goal is not to “lock up” properties, but to understand where a conservation easement may be appropriate, both on the landscape and in time. Conservation planning requires an iterative process of activities and decisions that result in the best outcome for the landowners and the land. Rushing to complete a conservation easement may not be the best solution. Our Advisors work with clients to understand how conservation may fit into the larger framework and timeline of a holistic strategy.