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What We Do

What are Conservation Easements?

Conservation Easements, or land preservation agreements, are generally used to conserve a property in its natural state, while allowing land owners to retain many rights, including ownership of the property.

A property owner has many rights that come with his land, including the rights to manage its resources, change its uses, or develop the property. With a land preservation agreement, a landowner can limit one or more of these rights. For example, a landowner can restrict the right to develop his property, but keep the rights to build a house, raise cattle, grow crops, and hunt and fish the land.

Conservation Easements are used to conserve a property in its natural state, while allowing land owners to retain many rights.

A land preservation agreement is a recorded written agreement between a landowner and a nonprofit land trust, like Hill Country Conservancy. The property owner makes the decision to allow the land trust to be the “holder” of the agreement.

The owner keeps the legal title to his land and decides which uses should continue on the property and which he wants to limit. As part of the arrangement, the land trust periodically checks the land to make sure it is maintained according to the terms of the agreement.

To summarize, a land preservation agreement is a limit or restriction a landowner freely places on his property to protect it. It is a choice the landowner makes to preserve the natural beauty, fertile soil, wildlife, and history of his land forever.   Questions for us?

Why Use A Land Preservation Agreement?

Landowners seeking to protect their lands for future generations are usually concerned about two things. First, they want to save its natural beauty and unique qualities, such as the trees, springs and wildlife that make up the land’s memories and history.

Land preservation agreements can be donated or sold, which can have significant federal and state tax benefits.

Second, landowners are concerned about their property’s economic viability. Although it is unlikely the land is the family’s primary source of income, it remains an asset that requires considerable financial management. Landowners often consider selling or developing their property when faced with rising property taxes and complex estate tax issues.

Hill Country Conservancy can lessen the burden of both concerns for landowners. Land preservation agreements can be donated or sold, which can have significant federal and state tax benefits. Hill Country Conservancy can craft a land preservation agreement that maintains the landowner’s private ownership, while protecting the open spaces, scenic vistas, water, wildlife and rural heritage for their children and future generations.

Learn more about properties already protected through land preservation agreements with HCC.

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