Conservation Agreements

A conservation agreement is a tool used to help you protect your land and to conserve the natural, scenic, or rural qualities of the land for today and for future generations.

For many landowners, a piece of property is much more than real estate. Your property may hold memories of where you grew up or raised children. It may be where you spend many happy hours with family and friends fishing, hunting, picnicking, hiking, and watching wildlife. It may provide the food that sustains you and from which you earn your living.

A conservation agreement might be right for you if you want to protect your land while continuing to own, use, and live on it. These agreements can also allow you to pass it along to heirs or sell the property to a new owner. Contact one of our land protection staff to learn more about the process.

April Scholtz, Land Protection Director
Email April
Pete DeBoer, Land Protection Coordinator
Email Pete

How it Works

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The legal document used in a conservation agreement is called a conservation easement. It is a voluntary and legally binding agreement between you, as the landowner, and the Land Conservancy. Conservation easements contain provisions that prohibit or limit activities that would have a negative effect on the identified conservation values of the property, such as natural habitats or scenic views. They often include limitations on land divisions, residential development, mining, and road building.

Protect your Land Forever

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Conservation agreements preserve natural and agricultural land by limiting future uses that could destroy or degrade these resources. The agreements are “perpetual” – they last forever. Once you and the Land Conservancy sign an agreement, it is recorded at the Register of Deeds and stays with the property no matter the owner.

Custom Made for You

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Each agreement is built to reflect the unique characteristics of a property and the resources that are to be protected as well as your current uses and goals for the property. The staff at the Land Conservancy of West Michigan will work with you to determine the specifics of the agreement and will work hard to make sure your goals for land protection are met.

Financial Benefits

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Some federal and state tax benefits may be available to those who complete a conservation agreement. These tax benefits may make it much more affordable for you to pass your land on to heirs or to sell your property to a conservation-minded buyer. Our land protection staff can help you understand how these benefits might work for you.

Others Ways We Protect Land

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Community Conservation

The Land Conservancy assists local communities and governments in their efforts to create parks and preserve open space.

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Nature Preserves

The Land Conservancy protects land that it owns and manages as nature preserves throughout West Michigan. These preserves are open to the public and include hiking trails and scenic outlooks.

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