What is a conservation easement?

Available Conservation Easements and Agreements

What is a Conservation Easement?

A conservation easement is a voluntary, mutually agreed upon legal agreement between a landowner and Ducks Unlimited Canada. 

They preserve the natural integrity and features of all or part of their land in perpetuity by limiting the amount and type of development that can occur.

The value of a Conservation Easement goes beyond dollars and cents

  • The landowner retains the right to manage the habitat area covered by a conservation easement, so it is possible to generate income from permissible land uses such as hay production and pasture rental.
  • Wetlands covered by a conservation easement can be a water source for livestock and wildlife. They also provide ecosystem services such as mitigating the effects of floods and drought, filtering excess nutrients and pollutants, sequestering carbon and promoting biodiversity.

Factors to consider when placing a conservation easement on your land

  • Land protected by a conservation easement cannot be cultivated or cleared for any purpose including crop production of any kind. Activities such as drainage, filling, cultivation, and pumping (other than for domestic or livestock use) of any wetlands identified under a conservation easement are not permitted. 
  • Land covered by a conservation easement cannot be developed for commercial or residential property in the future. 
  • The conservation easement is attached to the land title and applies to all future landowners. Landowners are free to sell, gift or will the property however the conservation easement does bind future landowners to the same land use restrictions. 
  • Non-habitat areas (portions of the property not covered by the conservation easement restrictions) may be considered. 
  • Any future activities that may be viewed as a contravention of the conservation easement agreement can be authorized by Ducks Unlimited Canada through the use of a Work Consent Form. 
  • The landowner maintains control of public access to the property however Ducks Unlimited Canada will require periodic access for the purposes of monitoring the conservation easement. 
  • The landowner retains all rights and privileges not specified in the conservation easement agreement and is responsible for all taxes and obligations associated with ownership. 
  • As with any legal agreement, Ducks Unlimited Canada encourages landowners to seek legal advice before entering into a conservation easement agreement.

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