After acquiring a conservation easement, the Holder (grantee) of the conservation easement commits itself (under state and federal laws) to the annual stewardship of those easements in perpetuity. Stewardship refers to all aspects of managing a conservation easement in perpetuity (after its acquisition) including but not limited to monitoring; landowner relations; recordkeeping; processing landowner notices, reserved rights requests for approvals, and amendment requests; managing stewardship funds; enforcement and legal defense.
Land trusts must determine the long-term stewardship and enforcement expenses of each easement transaction and secure the dedicated endowment or operating funds to cover current and future expenses. If funds are not secured at or before the completion of the transaction, the land trust must have a plan to secure these funds.
Working with the City of New York and private donors, WAC is working on funding an endowment Fund dedicated to finance the stewardship of all conservation easements in the Council’s easement portfolio in perpetuity.
The Council’s conservation easements are designed to allow for working landscapes while promoting conservation. WAC easements allow for intensive extractive activities such as agricultural, timber harvest and blue stone quarrying so long as the plans to engage in those activities are approved by WAC and promote sound conservation practices. Conservation Easements that allow for working landscapes are the most challenging and costly type of conservation easement to steward because of the many conditioned activities that may occur on a property.