What Land Trusts Do
A land trust is a local, regional, or national non-profit organization that protects land for its natural, recreational, scenic, historical, or productive value. Land trusts have varying conservation objectives; some work in specific geographic areas, and some concentrate on protecting different natural or cultural features.
Initially, the land trust works with the landowner to tailor the terms of the easement to protect the land’s conservation value and meet personal and financial goals. Land trusts can also connect landowners with legal, tax, or natural resource professionals familiar with conservation easements.
Monitoring the Property
Land trusts that accept conservation easements are responsible for monitoring that property and ensuring that the terms of the easement are followed. Representatives from the land trust make scheduled, usually annual, visits to the property to document the condition of the property and notify the landowner of any potential violation of the conservation easement. If the terms of the conservation easement are violated, the land trust can take legal steps to stop or correct the violation.
The land trust is responsible for the stewardship of the conservation easement for as long as the easement exists. A landowner must select an organization that can demonstrate that it has the financial resources and staying power to handle these responsibilities over the long term.
A land trust may also work with a landowner to develop a management plan to include flexible goals and objectives relating to the conservation of the property’s natural and cultural features. Management plans, which should be updated periodically, are crucial for productive agricultural or recreational property or for property susceptible to invasive species.
An Easement with Mississippi Land Trust
When the MLT accepts an easement, we are responsible for monitoring that property and ensuring that the terms of the easement are followed.
We request financial contributions to help us defray some of the costs involved in administering a conservation easement agreement. These contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law.
For the easements held to date, we have established an endowment of over $3,500,000 to pay the cost of monitoring. Landowners with an easement on their property will be required to donate to the endowment. All funds contributed to the fund will remain in it plus interest minus inflation.