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
5:30 pm Walk with a Notable Local
Walk with a Notable Local
May 28 @ 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[...]
May
29
Wed
9:00 am La Tierra Trails Work Day @ La Tierra Trails, trailhead to be determined
La Tierra Trails Work Day @ La Tierra Trails, trailhead to be determined
May 29 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
La Tierra Trails Work Day @ La Tierra Trails, trailhead to be determined | Santa Fe | New Mexico | United States
Come help SFCT volunteers maintain La Tierra Trails on behalf of the City, people, dogs, and horses of Santa Fe. Bring work boots, long pants/shirt sleeves, sun protection, snacks, and water.  I’ll bring the tools![...]
Jun
5
Wed
9:00 am La Tierra Trails Work Day @ La Tierra Trails, trailhead to be determined
La Tierra Trails Work Day @ La Tierra Trails, trailhead to be determined
Jun 5 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
La Tierra Trails Work Day @ La Tierra Trails, trailhead to be determined | Santa Fe | New Mexico | United States
Come help SFCT volunteers maintain La Tierra Trails on behalf of the City, people, dogs, and horses of Santa Fe. Bring work boots, long pants/shirt sleeves, sun protection, snacks, and water.  I’ll bring the tools![...]
Jun
8
Sat
10:00 am Take a Kid Hiking Day! @ St. Johns Trailhead
Take a Kid Hiking Day! @ St. Johns Trailhead
Jun 8 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Take a Kid Hiking Day! @ St. Johns Trailhead
As part of the Vamonos, Santa Fe Walks program; we invite you to “Take a Kid Walking!!” This hike is designed to get kids and families out on the trail enjoying all the beauty Santa[...]
10:00 am Vamonos Hikes
Vamonos Hikes
Jun 8 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Vamonos Hikes
2nd Saturdays of the month 10 AM – 11 AM (Except in September when it’s on the 28th ) May 11th “Find a View” Meet at Upper Canyon Road and Cerro Gordo Road  and walk[...]

2017 Annual Report