One of the biggest challenges facing land trusts today is stewarding easements with antiquated language. With properties transferring to successor landowners with increasing frequency and stewardship staff turning over in greater numbers, this an all-too common issue facing land trusts. Join conservation attorney Tamara Galanter, and stewardship staff Joel Cooper and Emily Parish, as they lay out common problems and sensible solutions. In this session, we will cover: how to analyze your portfolio to prepare for growth and change; typical problems with antiquated language; strategies to deal with older easements, including: building strong landowner relationships, when discretionary consent/approvals are appropriate, amendment and restatement of the easement; and when to draw the line and go down the litigation path. We will also examine case studies from two land trusts to see how they have used the various strategies to address problems with older easements.
This workshop will provide an overview of stewardship recordkeeping, and the importance of documenting the various aspects of monitoring visits, easement violations, approvals, denials, and easement interpretations. We will cover general stewardship recordkeeping tips from two different accredited land trusts, as well as best practices and legal considerations for documenting stewardship decisions and activities, especially in light of climate change and water constraints. This includes how to document compliance with various conservation easement provisions, the potential impact on conservation values of requests for easement changes, and the analysis on how the request does not result in impermissible private benefit or private inurement. The session will also touch on how to use monitoring reports, current condition reports, and supplemental baselines to document the completion of an approved activity. Hear about real-life examples from both land trusts and the practical and legal aspects of stewardship documentation.
With the increase of available geospatial technologies, land trusts continue to have the opportunity to enhance their stewardship toolkits and efforts. In this session, we will share practical tips to help you implement a successful geospatial photo collection program in connection with conservation easement monitoring. We will cover how to identify your needs, how to use ESRI's Field Maps software, how to implement the use of technology to document photo points, and lessons learned. As part of the workshop, we will walk through several example BDR photo point collection case studies.
Over the last two decades of the half-century-old field of land conservation law, the conservation community has instituted crucial supportive mechanisms and implemented new infrastructure to stabilize the perpetuity-long duration of conservation easements and their holders. After a half-century of incredibly successful conservation work, is essential now to evaluate the practical, policy, and ethical impacts of our work to focus on urgent needs and obtainable outcomes in the short-term, and sea-changing, aspirational goals for the long-term. From bolstering and expanding conservation incentives in the face of extensive abuse, to integrating private land protection within communities, shifting land monetization and valuation approaches, unbundling notions of land ownership, and re-democratizing and restoring land access and use, presenters will share a conservation checklist intended to sustain and secure perpetual land conservation as a continuing dynamic and flexible source for local, state, federal, and global protection and management of critical resources, while ensuring equitable, inclusive, diverse, and just land conservation for the future.
Times have changed and our baselines need to change with them. This advanced session will discuss, debate, and share best practices for land trusts facing a range of new challenges. These include anticipating a changing climate, documenting reserved and exercised rights, how and when to update old baseline reports and ensuring that each of these approaches satisfies requirements for admissibility and enforcement. We will lead an interactive, guided discussion to elicit challenges and solutions that senior staff have encountered across a range of easements, restrictions, physical contexts, and relationships. Participants will leave with concrete advice about how to both draft the strongest possible baseline reports and determine when updated reports are needed.
Session Level: Advanced Session Location: Marriott New Orleans
The Land Trust for Louisiana (LTL) currently holds 14 conservation easements (servitudes) with one pending on wetland mitigation banks and mitigation areas in Louisiana that total over 6,000 acres. These projects have generated over $450,000 to cover acquisition, stewardship, and legal defense costs. There are several roles a land trust can play in relation to regulatory mitigation, including easement Holder, Long-term Manager, or Mitigation Sponsor, with the least risky being the Holder. The New Orleans US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and many other districts require third-party conservation easements for all wetland mitigation banks. Having an accredited land trust to hold the easement helps benefit the Mitigation Sponsor and Manager who need someone to play that role to allow the project to happen, and has created an opportunity for LTL. Conservation easements differ somewhat than typical easements. For example, USACE districts typically have their own easement template and are reluctant to vary the language significantly, but LTL has had success in getting minimal language added that was recommended by the LTA. Land trusts must also introduce their USACE districts to the need for a Baseline Documentation Report in addition to the standard Mitigation Banking Instrument. Land trust need skilled staff in negotiating with mitigation consultants representing bank sponsors as well as the USACE, but once acquired, the process is relatively routine. Holding conservation easements for regulatory mitigation projects can come with minimal risk and full funding of easement project costs. In addition, unlike many land trust projects, they become high quality habitats, as the mitigation sponsors and managers are required to fully fund restoration and management in perpetuity.
The Rally Players return! Through a (hopefully humorous) skit, a cast of all too experienced practitioners will explore a land trust navigating a typical violation of all too common easement language: a secondary landowner constructing a new home where, in the eyes of the land trust, the conservation easement specifically prohibits it. But the new owner disagrees! We’ll focus on the importance of consistent annual monitoring and documentation. Then will turn to early and candid but still diplomatic engagement with the offending landowner before moving toward selecting the right competent, knowledgeable trial counsel for the case presented. We’ll then take the audience into now ubiquitous court-ordered mandatory mediation (aka alternative dispute resolution) to emphasize the importance of selecting a mediator and the dynamics in play among the parties, their respective counsel, and the mediator, and their respective perspectives. And we’ll touch on some of the considerations the land trust is likely to experience in that process.
Session Level: Intermediate Session Location: Marriott New Orleans Price: Spkr193
This is an exciting time for private lands conservation around the world. A diverse range of countries have developed and are protecting land using private lands conservation agreements, many of which have been adapted from conservation easements in the US, but with fascinating differences that are relevant to land trust practice in this country. Our panel of private lands conservation leaders will discuss agreements that are protecting habitat, species, and working lands in France, Spain, Finland, Australia, and Chile, and will touch on other geographies around the world. Land trusts in the US have a great deal to teach and to learn from these countries and their land protection agreements. Our panelists will discuss private lands agreements in both Common and Civil Law countries, and will explain how these agreements are structured, the conservation values they protect, how they are monitored and enforced, and the challenges and opportunities faced by the public and private organizations using them.
Session Level: Intermediate Session Location: Marriott New Orleans