Conservation Easements

What is a Conservation Easement?

In use for over 100 years, conservation easements are legal agreements that permanently retire certain development rights of a property, as agreed upon by the property owner and a land trust. Each conservation easement is unique in that it restricts and protects the specific rights and land values that the owner wishes to conserve on a particular piece of property. And yet all conservation easements have one thing in common: they must provide a significant public benefit.

Conservation values may be agricultural, scenic, historic, ecological (wildlife habitat), or recreational, and the public benefits through the protection of these values. This does not mean that the conservation easement must allow for public access— in fact this is one of the biggest misconceptions of conservation easements! – it simply means that the surrounding community directly benefits by the land being conserved.

For example, if a landowner retires specific building rights and decides not to build houses on a scenic ridge top that is viewed from a major public road, then he or she is preserving a scenic view the public can see and enjoy. By voluntarily restricting development the landowner preserves the view (a conservation value) and the public benefits from these actions.

Every conservation easement must be recorded with the county clerk and is tied to the land in perpetuity. The land with the easement passes from landowner to landowner in concept since it is forever tied to the property. The land trust “holds” the easement, taking on the responsibility to ensure that the terms of the easement are met and visits the property and landowner each year to see that the conservation values are being protected.

In retiring certain development rights, a landowner is often giving-up a large amount of their land’s value. This value is determined by an appraisal and if the landowner donates the conservation easement to a land trust the value is considered a donation or gift by both the federal and state government, qualifying the landowner for a federal tax deduction and a NM state tax credit in certain cases.

Public benefits of conservation easements:

Protect water quality
Conserve wildlife habitat
Preserve open space
Preserve working farmland, ranchland, timberland
Maintain character of rural communities
Buffer public lands
Maintain landscapes for tourism
Require less in public services, generate more in local revenues
Stretch public conservation dollars

Upcoming Events

May
28
Tue
all-day 2019 SFCT Raffle
2019 SFCT Raffle
May 28 – Sep 16 all-day
2019 SFCT Raffle
BUY TICKETS NOW   Feeling Good about Giving! Here’s your opportunity to support the Santa Fe Conservation Trust and have a chance to win INCREDIBLE PRIZES! Your participation in this raffle will help: Ensure undeveloped[...]
Aug
27
Tue
5:30 pm Walk with a Notable Local
Walk with a Notable Local
Aug 27 @ 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Walk with a Notable Local
4th Tuesdays of the Month 5:30 PM- 6:30 PM (Except in October when it’s on the 1st) May 28th, Mayor Alan Webber, meet at 200 Lincoln Ave. and walk from City Hall to the River Trail[...]
Aug
28
Wed
8:30 am Dale Ball Trails Work Day @ Dale Ball Trails, Trailhead t.b.d.
Dale Ball Trails Work Day @ Dale Ball Trails, Trailhead t.b.d.
Aug 28 @ 8:30 am – 11:30 am
Dale Ball Trails Work Day @ Dale Ball Trails, Trailhead t.b.d. | Santa Fe | New Mexico | United States
Come help SFCT volunteers maintain Dale Ball Trails on behalf of the City, people, and dogs of Santa Fe. Bring work boots, long pants/shirt sleeves, sun protection, snacks, and water.  I’ll bring the tools! To[...]
Aug
31
Sat
10:00 am Rail History Walks @ El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe
Rail History Walks @ El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe
Aug 31 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Rail History Walks @ El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe
in conjunction with the 2nd Annual         presents two Rail History Walks, visiting sites of historic interest in and around the Santa Fe Railyard, starting and finishing at the 2nd Annual New[...]
Sep
1
Sun
10:00 am Rail History Walks @ El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe
Rail History Walks @ El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe
Sep 1 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Rail History Walks @ El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe
in conjunction with the 2nd Annual         presents two Rail History Walks, visiting sites of historic interest in and around the Santa Fe Railyard, starting and finishing at the 2nd Annual New[...]

2018 Annual Report