We all consider the future when making decisions that affect our land and natural resources. Many times the question arises: should we develop that special area of land or leave it in its natural state? After all, we manage our lands to earn a living.
At the same time we recognize the value of conserving our natural landscape for future generations. As landowners we perform the key role in making conservation a reality.
Conservation means many things. Preserving natural habitat. Retaining elements of historic or archeological significance. Protecting the quality of our air, water and soil. By working together, these objectives can be reached.
Partners in Protection
A conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and a qualified conservation agency. Under this agreement, the landowner continues to own and manage the land with benefits to both the landowner and the environment.
As a landowner, you can take steps to preserve your property's conservation values, retain use of the land, and at the same time receive income tax benefits. A conservation agency of your choice can assist you in preparing an agreement. A conservation easement can be granted for a specified time, or in perpetuity and may be applied to the entire property or just a portion containing the natural features.
Qualifying for a Conservation Easement
A conservation easement is an option for any landowner whose land contains conservation value.
An easement may be granted to protect, enhance or restore a natural area or simply preserve an open stretch of land. Other purposes may be to retain significant archaeological or historic features.
Benefits of Granting an Easement
Granting a conservation easement means you are preserving the environment value of your land for the future. If the easement is granted in perpetuity, the natural values of the property will be protected indefinitely, no matter who owns the land in the future. If the land is sold, the conservation easement will be transferred with the property, and terms of the easement will remain.
The donation of a conservation easement may be viewed as a charitable gift by Canada Revenue Agency. The value of the gift is the appraised difference between the land's value with the conservation easement and the best land-use value without the easement. This taxable benefit may be observed at the time of donation or extended over five years. Donors are strongly advised to obtain independent tax advice when considering making an ecogift to ensure tax implications are clearly understood.
In some instances, conservation agencies may be willing to purchase an easement on privately-owned lands. A conservation easement may also be donated through a will.
The primary benefit to the landowner is the assurance that the property will remain in a natural state for the term of the agreement. It is an opportunity for the landowner to create a legacy for future generations.
Arranging an Easement
If there's a special area on your land - be it prairie, wetland, aspen bluff or even an historic site - why not plan to keep it that way? Contact an agency that best suits your objectives for conservation and land management.
The following agencies are able to hold conservation easements:
- All levels of government
- Ducks Unlimited Canada 1-306-569-0424
- Meewasin Valley Authority 1-306-665-6887
- Ministry of Environment 1-306-787-5751
- Nature Conservancy of Canada 1-866-622-7275
- Nature Saskatchewan 1-306-780-9273
- Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation 1-306-691-2854
- Saskatchewan Archaeological Society 1-306-664-4124
- Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association 1-306-780-9262
- Saskatchewan Watershed Authority 1-306-694-3900
- Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation 1-306-692-8812
- Wakamow Valley Authority 1-306-692-2717
- Wascana Centre Authority 1-306-522-3661