Acceptance Criteria

Our Board of Directors has adopted criteria governing the acceptance of conservation easements to ensure that conservation activities are directed toward properties that are worthy of protection. Easements must be accepted by a majority vote of the Board of Directors, or the Executive Committee acting on behalf of the full Board.

To accept an easement, the Executive Committee or Board of Directors must find that all of the Conservation Objectives, and at least one of the Public Benefit criteria below, have been met. If all four of the Conservation Objectives and/or one of the Public Benefit criteria are not met, but the property has special significance in relation to any of the criteria, the Board may accept an easement with a written explanation of its reasoning for doing so. If we do not accept a proposed easement, a landowner may still be able to protect the land using private deed restrictions.

Any development permitted under the easement should not unduly compromise the scenic, agricultural, watershed, recreational, or other natural resource values of the property, and there should be adequate opportunity for us to review any proposed development. We will request an endowment for monitoring and enforcement.

Criteria for Acceptance of Conservation Easements

To qualify, the property should meet ALL of these criteria:

• Located within HHLT’s mission area.
• In a relatively undisturbed natural, scenic or historic condition, has recreational or agricultural value, or is in active agricultural use.
• Of sufficient size that its conservation resources are likely to remain intact, even if adjacent properties are developed; or sufficient neighboring property is either already protected or to be included as to have the same result.
• Protection aids sound land use planning, promotes land conservation, and encourages careful stewardship of land and water resources.

To qualify, a property must meet one or more of these criteria:

• Contributes to protection of lands in furtherance of government plans or policies.
• Contains endangered, threatened, or rare species or natural communities.
• Contains relatively natural wildlife habitat, ecosystems, or natural features.
• Contains or has potential to contain natural features of educational or scientific value.
• Is in active agricultural use or provides an example of historic agricultural use.
• Contains wetlands, floodplains, waterways, riparian corridors, aquifer recharge areas, watershed or other lands necessary for protection of water supply, water resources or wetland habitat.
• Buffers agricultural land, wetlands, wildlife habitats, or other sensitive areas.
• Provides a buffer for or is close or contiguous to existing conservation easement, park, preserve or other protected land.
• Protects scenic views from public roadways, waterways or recreation areas.
• Public access for education or recreation will be permitted.
• Sets an important precedent for resource or open space protection in a targeted area.
• Provides connection to other open protected or open space lands that is important for movement of wildlife between habitats or through developed corridors so that natural areas do not become isolated “islands”.
• Has historic or archaeological value, or is adjacent to and buffer for such lands.
• Contains unique or outstanding physiographic characteristics.
• Offers significant relief from urban closeness and/or helps define community character.