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Conservation Agreement

scout valley birdwatching
Birdwatching in Scout Valley Nature Reserve

Conservation agreements allow private landowners to continue to own and use their land and even to sell it or pass it on to heirs, while protecting the natural values of the property.

A conservation agreement (sometimes called a conservation easement, covenant or servitude) is a voluntary, legal agreement between a landowner and conservation organization that permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect its natural values.

Each conservation agreement’s restrictions are tailored to fit the particular property, the natural features to be protected and the interest of the landowner.

A conservation agreement restricts the activities on the subject land (or part of the land).

How does it work?

The conservation organization, with the help of the landowner, determines the conservation targets and develops restrictions to prevent activities that could negatively impact those values. For example, if the purpose of the agreement is to protect a large tract of forest, the restrictions may be developed to prevent subdivision of the property and/or the removal of certain native vegetation species.

Conservation agreement restrictions may apply to a landowner’s entire property or just the portion containing the significant natural features.

What happens once the agreement is signed?

One of the keys to guaranteeing the integrity of these agreements is The Couchiching Conservancy’s commitment to monitoring each term of each conservation agreement on a consistent basis. This plays a critical role in detecting unauthorized changes in the agreement lands, to ensure that lands are being maintained in accordance with the terms of the agreements and to identify and address any violations of the agreements as early as possible.

In addition, the Conservancy recognizes that regular and consistent monitoring serve to proactively understand and/or discover pending or contemplated actions by landowners that may impact the conservation agreements in the future.
The Couchiching Conservancy invites inquiries about potential donations of conservation easements. Due to limited resources, we must assess and prioritize easement donations to ensure that they fit within our programs and science-based priorities. For more information on donating land, please contact our office at 705-326-1620.