Several options are available for landowners who wish to ensure the long-term protection of their properties. As a landowner you may want to ensure protection of a particular feature of your land without giving up ownership. In these cases, a conservation covenant is one of the most effective land preservation tools available to landowners.
A covenant is a voluntary, legal agreement between a landowner and a conservation organization where you as the landowner promise to protect the land in specific ways. The promises the landowner makes will be attached on title to the land forever, regardless of who owns the land. In return, the conservation organization agrees to monitor the covenant and ensure that the intentions and objectives of the covenant are being maintained.
What does this mean in practice? Suppose your property contains a small marsh that provides habitat for several endangered species. A conservation covenant will give you a number of options to protect your marsh. In the simplest case, you would likely agree to forbid development in the marsh area. Covenants are very flexible documents that can contain a number of provisions from limiting subdivision and development to committing to the removal of noxious weeds. Any terms that you and the land trust agree upon can be included in the covenant.
All of the promises you make in a covenant apply not only to you, but also to every future landowner. The terms outlined in a conservation covenant are decided by you as the landowner. The conservation organization works with you to ensure those terms are enforced, but does not determine what restrictions will be suitable for your property. (Click here to see some examples of covenant restrictions.) Each landowner’s situation is unique and their conservation needs will vary depending on many different factors.
Monitors inspect the property and report any issues such as vandalism, unauthorized construction or natural degradation. These issues are then resolved either with the property owners or through a management plan for restoration.
The cost of monitoring and enforcing a covenant can vary depending on the location, size and complexity of the property, and the particular restrictions outlined in the covenant. Since TLC’s covenant monitoring program is funded by donations, we are relying on you to help us reach our fundraising goal of $150,000 this year.
You can help TLC continue to protect important ecosystems across BC by supporting the monitoring and enforcement of our covenants. Please complete our online donation form to show your support today!
Covenant Program News
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