What is a conservation easement?
A conservation easement is a voluntary yet legally binding and recorded agreement by which landowners may restrict select uses of their land to achieve protection of certain delineated conservation values. Landowner(s) continue to retain private ownership and may sell, gift or transfer the property with a conservation easement in effect.
Conservation easements typically protect open space, wildlife, fisheries, water quality or preserve valuable ranch and farm properties. Conservation easements remain in effect when the property is sold or passed to the next generation. A conservation easement may be sold, donated or partially sold and partially donated by a landowner.
Private lands remain in private ownership. The terms of the conservation easement may have requirements, such as keeping riparian areas intact or when and how to harvest timber.
As conservation easements usually have a value attached to them, they can be donated and/or purchased. Donating conservation easements may provide income or estate tax benefits. However, landowners must continue to pay Montana property taxes.
As conservation easements usually have a value attached to them, they can be donated and/or purchased. Donating conservation easements may provide income tax benefits and potentially estate tax benefits. However, the land remains in private hands and landowners must continue to pay Montana property taxes.