When a landowner finalizes a conservation easement agreement with SALT, we become fellow stewards and guardians of the property under easement. We take this stewardship commitment very seriously, and much of our organization is focused around monitoring and upholding our easements and preserves. Conservation easements are permanent agreements, which means we hold the responsibility for monitoring and defending the terms of the easement forever. This is a costly business, so in most cases we request landowners who donate easements to concurrently donate a stewardship endowment – a one-time donation that will cover the costs of monitoring and defending the easement. The amount of the endowment is calculated property according to factors such as the costs of perpetual annual monitoring and potential legal defense. It is a privilege to work with these landowners who are committed stewards of their land. Our annual visits give us a chance to learn more about their history, family stories and plans for the future on these beautiful places we have conserved together.
SALT staff schedule a regular monitoring visit for all of our easements at least yearly. In the easement agreement, we retain the right to inspect the property at any time, however we are required to give you reasonable notice before we do so. In practice, SALT staff try and schedule a time to walk the property with the landowner. The current status and any changes are documented with a report and photos. Annual monitoring gives us a chance to answer any questions and clear up any issues that might come about. We look forward to these visits, as it’s a time to reconnect and deepen our relationships with the landowners and property and ensure that everyone’s conservation values for the property are being honored.
The Sandhills Area Land Trust is honored to protect and steward 100 properties: