How does The Nature Conservancy protect so much land? Most of the land that we strive to conserve harbors rare species or is located within fragile ecosystems that are rapidly disappearing. All life on earth depends on these ecosystems.
What do we do with a large piece of property in which only a small portion of it warrants our protection? Often the Conservancy must purchase hundreds of acres, sometimes through estate settlements or auctions, when only a small portion of the parcel falls within our preserve design. This problem necessitated the creation of the Conservation Land Buyer Program.
The program allows The Nature Conservancy to work with private purchasers to protect land that buffers biologically sensitive areas. These properties typically do not harbor rare or endangered species but offer a shield of protection from such things as development, damaging agricultural practices, and pollution. After careful scientific evaluation we determine what portion of a tract does not qualify for full protection and this land becomes available for re-sale through the program. We then seek conservation-minded people to purchase this ‘extra’ acreage at fair market value, which allows us to protect far more land than ever before and at the same time be cost-efficient.
There are two main tools we use to ensure this land remains unchanged into perpetuity - Deed Restrictions and Conservation Easements. Both of these legal documents are recorded at the County Clerk’s office and follow the chain of title. The decision to use Deed Restrictions or a Conservation Easement is determined by the proximity of the tract to the preserve. Deed Restrictions are simply placed in the deed before the land is resold. Kentucky law allows a landowner to sell property with deed restrictions and enforce those restrictions as long as the seller retains adjacent property. Conservation Easements can be placed on the property in two ways; (1) The Conservancy can sell the land with the requirement that the buyer donate the easement back to the organization, or (2) Impose the easement on the property before the land is resold. Both Deed Restrictions and Conservation Easements are specifically tailored for each tract, and the tax advantages are the same.
Please call our office if you would like more information on any of the details of this growing and successful program. (859) 259-9655February 06, 2012