What is a Conservation Easement?

A conservation easement is a written agreement between a landowner and the “holder” of the conservation easement under which a landowner voluntarily restricts certain uses of the property in order to protect its natural, productive or cultural features of the land. The holder of the conservation easement can be a governmental entity or a qualified land protection organization, such as The Edmond Land Conservancy. Under a conservation easement, the landowner retains legal title to the property but agrees to limit the use of the land in order to carry out the conservation purpose. For example, a landowner donating a conservation easement could choose to limit the right to develop its property, but retain rights to build a house, raise cattle and grow crops. A conservation easement is intended to be perpetual, and therefore the easement agreement will provide that the easement holder has right and obligation to assure that the agreed upon conservation purpose remains in effect. Donation of a conservation easement to a qualified land protection organization such as The Edmond Land Conservancy may entitle a landowner to claim a federal income tax deduction equal to the value of their donation.