Stewardship of Conservation Easements
The Central Coast Land Conservancy believes that the best way to ensure that the terms of conservation easements are honored is to build strong partnerships. Engaging landowners on an annual basis to provide information regarding the state of the property, clarification regarding terms found in the easement and other concerns that may arise, will accomplish this.
Conservation easement stewardship begins with thorough documentation of a property. Prior to accepting an easement the Conservancy compiles a record of the property's condition, which includes maps, property management plans (forestland, farmland), survey documentation, environmental assessment report, and any other materials that will aid the Conservancy in understanding the condition of the property. Once the easement deed is signed, a representative from the Conservancy will conduct a baseline documentation of the property. This document is created using information found in the aforementioned plans and reports as well as with a plant and wildlife inventory developed during the property walk. By creating a comprehensive document of the property the Conservancy will be able to assess changes that take place on the property.
Monitoring Conservation Easements
A Central Coast Land Conservancy land steward will visit each conservation easement monitored by the Conservancy on an annual basis and meet with the landowner to ensure the continued health of the property and to record any observable changes. The steward will also look for easement violations such as prohibited building, dumping and logging. These reports are compiled annually, shared with the landowner and become historical records of the property. If an easement violation occurs, these records will strengthen the Conservancy's efforts to defend the easement.
Defending Conservation Easements
The Conservancy is committed to working with landowners to resolve any problems that arise regarding easement compliance. When a problem develops, a land steward will promptly visit the property and investigate the easement violation. The Conservancy will work to understand the landowner's activities and the restrictions contained within the easement deed. Often easement violations are due to a lack of awareness, which can be corrected by educating landowners and the community. However in a situation where the Conservancy and landowner cannot reach an agreement the Conservancy will explore legal channels available to carry out its management obligations.
The Conservancy encourages landowners to call with any questions regarding the terms and rights found within their conservation easement deeds. The Conservancy believes that easements are strongest when the landowner and community support the integrity and purpose of the easement.