Voluntary conservation of private land plays an important role in shaping the future of the Nisqually Watershed. As development pressures increase – South Sound is projected to be the fastest growing region of Puget Sound over the next 25 years – and as reduced funding forces local, state and federal land agencies to consider reducing public services and divesting or closing publicly-owned properties, private conservation will be essential to the long-term health of the watershed.
Many visionary watershed residents have worked with the Nisqually Land Trust to conserve natural areas and working farms and forests in perpetuity. If you are considering making a similar gift to the future of the Nisqually Watershed, please review the information below and then call us with any questions you may have.
Conserving Your Own Land
For many of us, the ability to own and care for land in the Nisqually Watershed is a special gift. Healthy and undeveloped land has provided us with clean air and water, wildlife habitat, recreation, fresh food and scenic beauty, and it is perhaps the single most important legacy that we can pass on to our children and future generations.
If you’re a landowner in the watershed who is considering conserving your own property, learn more below.
As a landowner, you may choose among a number of voluntary conservation options. These range from placing lasting restrictions on the use of your land, to donating your land outright, to selling it to a conservation organization such as the Land Trust. And all of these options have variations.
Conservation gifts may also create tax benefits for the donor. This helpful factsheet, produced by the Land Trust Alliance, describes the types of conservation gifts that may qualify for a tax donation and explains the potential tax benefits. Anyone considering making such a gift should consult his or her attorney, accountant, or tax advisor for more specific information.
There is no single best land conservation method. Your approach will depend on your property’s natural attributes, your financial and ownership situation, and the specific vision you have for the long-term future of your land.
Approach 1: The Nisqually Land Trust owns the land. In this approach, the Land Trust purchases or receives donations of land. Like any other private landowner, we are then responsible for the long-term care of these properties.
Approach 2: The Nisqually Land Trust holds a conservation easements on the land. In this approach, the Land Trust purchase or receives donation of a conservation easement, a voluntary, legally-binding and perpetual agreement that is made with a private landowner that identifies and protects specific conservation values on their property. The landowner may continue to own, enjoy, sell or bequeath the land, but its use is forever subject to the terms of the conservation easement.
Other Options for Land Conservation: There are a number of variations on the above approaches that may be considered, including a bequest of land or a conservation easement in a will and donations of land with reserved life estates, which allow a landowner to continue to live on the property.