What happens after I sign a conservation easement?
Now you will get to know the Conservancy’s stewardship staff, who will conduct an annual visit to your property and will assist you in finding answers to any questions you have about caring for your land. You’ll also receive our special LandLines newsletter, with tips and information just for easement owners, and will become part of a great community of members and volunteers who are thrilled that you’ve taken this important step to protect your land.
When should I call the Conservancy?
You are free to call us anytime with questions about your easement or about caring for your land. Please notify us in advance if you want to make changes to the property such as building a new structure, conducting a timber harvest, implementing a habitat enhancement such as a pond, and before your sell, transfer, or lease your land. To make the process as smooth as possible, please share your plans for building or land use changes with our Stewardship Coordinator as early as possible in your planning process. This will allow us to ensure that your plans match the terms of your conservation easement, and prevent possible costly changes later.
What happens during an annual property visit?
Once a year, our Monitoring Coordinator will send a letter and call you to set up a time to visit. The Monitoring Coordinator, usually accompanied by a volunteer, will walk your land with you (if you choose to join her) and will ask how you are using your land and about your plans for the future. He or she will also answer your questions about your conservation easement and discuss how the choices you make in using your land can help continue your conservation efforts. If changes have occurred on your property (natural or man-made), the monitor may take photographs, create maps, and update records. In certain cases, aerial monitoring of your property might take place. Learn more about Conservancy staff
What happens if the Stewardship team thinks I have not followed the provisions outlined in my Conservation Easement?
The stewardship team and committee will work with you to address any issues that are discovered during the yearly visit or at any other time. We can also tell you where you can get assistance to help make any changes needed. Land conservation is a partnership, and we strive to find voluntary, cooperative solutions to easement compliance issues.
How do I get signage for my protected property?
Please contact our Stewardship Assoicate if you wish to obtain “Protected Property” signage for your land.
What if I want to amend my conservation easement?
Conservation easements are intended to protect land in perpetuity. However, situations that landowners or the Conservancy could not have anticipated may arise; in these cases, it may be necessary to amend the easement. An amendment is made to strengthen an easement’s conservation values or to clarify intentions of the landowner and improve enforceability. Easements may not be amended to be less restrictive, and may not be terminated. The Delaware Highlands Conservancy has a rigorous review process in place to carefully review amendment requests and to ensure that any amendment supports the conservation easement’s purposes and values, a process which conforms to national Land Trust Alliance standards and practices, and with federal law. Please contact the Stewardship Coordinator with questions or for more information about amendments.
*Thanks to the Vermont Land Trust for assistance with the content on this page.
– Aldo Leopold