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Natural Systems

NS2.1

Conservation Easements

Conservation easements can help to preserve key areas of land. Contact to Flint Hills Regional Council to learn how to get started with conservation easements

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Tool Information


Goals

  1. Conservation
  2. Water
  3. Family Farms and Ranches
  4. Air Quality
  5. Stewardship

Description

Conservation easements can permanently conserve a valued landscape while maintaining private ownership. A conservation easement is agreed to on a voluntary basis. It is a legal agreement between a land owner and a government or land trust (a private land conservation organization). The landowner retains private ownership of land. Landowner participants typically have input into specific provisions tailored to their own circumstances. While the conservation easement may prohibit residential, commercial and industrial development, agreements can still allow the landowner to (a) continue operating the land for agricultural purposes; (b) retain control of who may access the property; and (c) sell or transfer ownership of the property. The conservation easement restrictions continue to apply to future owners of the property. In Kansas, land conserved with conservation easements remain subject to property taxes.

Background

Conservation easements can help to preserve key areas of land that are under threat of development near larger towns.  They can also help keep farms viable by making ownership of land more affordable.

Additional Information

"Kansas Land Trust offers funding to landowners for preserving Flint Hills lands." Kansas City Star Press Release Central, August 1, 2012.

"New Partnerships Boost Flint Hills Preservation." Natural Resource Conservation Service, Kansas.

Implementation Strategy


Champions and Partners

Kansas Land Trust (Jerry Jost, 785-749-3297,jjost@klt.org)

Timeframe

Medium (3-8 years)

Cost

$

Implementation Details

A brief outline of the first few steps necessary for implementation are provided. The steps outlined here are provided only as a suggested starting point and other approaches are certainly valid.

  1. Landowner interested in conservation easements would be able to visit a FHRC site with general information about conservation easements as well as more specific information on which organizations work in the landowners region. Interested community group would first identify a local goal to be accomplished by conservation easements.
  2. Landowner begins to work with a government or land trust in order to identify and then achieve their long term conservations goals for their land. Contact existing land trusts to understand successes, needs, challenges, and lessons-learned.
  3. Identify if, where, and how to work on needs and challenges, and who can do that work. Evaluate whether a new entity is needed, or simply more resources need to be diverted to existing land trusts.

Case Study


Kansas Land Trust - Tallgrass Legacy Alliance

The Tallgrass Legacy Alliance began in 1999 when Kansas Partners for Fish and Wildlife biologists began to "think big, think ecosystems." This came at a time when the Kansas Partners Program was just finishing a needs assessment of the state's various habitats, done primarily through The Nature Conservancy and Kansas Biological Survey. The assessment showed clearly that all of the resource issues and environmental needs facing Kansas, one stood boldly forward--the Tallgrass Prairie. Only 4% of North America's presettlement tallgrass prairie survives to this day, and 80% is located in Kansas.

 

Gathering Waters Conservancy - Decision Flowchart

 

Tall Grass Legacy Alliance