Conservation easement is one of the most powerful tools for protecting the land. It permanently restricts how land is used. The owners convey certain rights but retains ownership of the property which will allow them to continue to own and enjoy their property while ensuring it will be free from development.
The conservation purpose, the restrictions and the permissible uses of the property are described in the conservation easement deed. The restrictions are binding not only on the landowner who grants the easement but also on all future owners of the property.
Conservation easement can be granted for
- outdoor recreation
- protection of a relatively natural habitat of fish, wildlife, or plants, or similar ecosystem
- preservation of open space (including farmland and forest land)
- Preservation of a historically important land area or a certified historic structure
- Mitigation banking for developers (certain restrictions apply)
If you donate a conservation easement which meets the statutory requirements for a charitable contribution, as well as the specific requirements for conservation easement donations, you can claim a charitable contribution deduction from your income tax.