How much does it cost to donate a conservation easement?
Landowners pay for the appraisal, the time and expertise of their attorneys and accountants and a title report.
The Teton Regional Land Trust incurs significant costs in accepting conservation easements and asks easement donors to help defray those costs, collectively called the Stewardship Donation.Those costs cover:
- The preparation of the Baseline Report: Teton Regional Land Trust staff compile wildlife and vegetation inventories and prepare topographic and aerial maps and photographs of the property. Land Trust staff also makes recommendations for property resource enhancements, such as improvements to fish and wildlife habitats and grazing management. This report is critical for documenting the condition of the property at the time of the easement donation and may be essential should the easement ever be violated. The landowner and Land Trust, both of who keep copies, sign the report. The Internal Revenue Service requires that baseline reports be prepared for donated conservation easements.
- Monitoring the conservation easement: TRLT visits properties under conservation easement at least annually to ensure that the terms of the easement are being met and to document the condition of the property.
- Legal defense: Part of the endowment will build TRLT's legal defense capabilities. Over time, there may be violations of the easement restrictions. TRLT needs to be prepared to defend restrictions through litigation if voluntary means fail.
The Land Trust calculates costs to cover perpetual stewardship for each specific property. The Stewardship donation is a suggested charitable donation and is not a prerequisite for acceptance of a conservation easement. However, the Land Trust must cover these costs before accepting a conservation easement.