Conservation Easements



A conservation easement is a legally binding agreement that forever limits certain types of uses or prevents development from taking place on the land while the land remains in private hands. Most conservation easements protect land for future generations, while allowing its owners to retain many private property rights, to live on and use it. Granting a conservation easement may result in an income or real estate tax benefit to the easement donor.

Fall Forest LandscapeBy signing and delivering to a qualified private organization or a public entity, a landowner agrees to transfer, by contribution or sale, some ownership rights associated with his or her property – often, the right to subdivide or develop – and the recipient undertakes to maintain and enforce the restrictions created in the easement document.

An easement selectively targets only those rights necessary to protect specific conservation values for each individual property and is individually tailored to meet a landowner’s needs. Examples of specific conservation values may be the protection of water quality or the preservation of old oak savannas.

Sometimes, conservation easements will enable the landowner to qualify for tax benefits in compliance with the rules of any local municipality, the State of Wisconsin, and the Internal Revenue Service. The Geneva Lake Conservancy cannot provide any legal or valuation advice to a landowner that may be thought to be an opinion on a legal or a valuation matter, and it urges any interested landowner to consult his or her own professional advisors.

Conservation Easement Booklet

Conservancy’s You Tube video on Colman Woods