Conservation Easement Endowments: Stewardship in Perpetuity

Northern Prairies Land Trust helps private conservation-minded landowners protect their land, not just during their lifetimes, but in perpetuity.

To ensure their conservation goals are fulfilled, landowners accompany their donated conservation easement with a gift to The Stewardship Fund. Landowners understand that over time, changes in land use and ownership are inevitable. The terms of their conservation easements could face challenges which would require Northern Prairies Land Trust (NPLT) action. To truly protect their land, NPLT must have the financial capability to monitor, defend, and enforce the terms of each easement in its portfolio.

Stewardship endowments for easement protection are pooled in a restricted fund, The Stewardship Fund, and are used exclusively for easement monitoring and enforcement. We cannot predict the future, but we can prepare for it. These endowment funds are vital to the defense of protected lands.

Policies and Administration of The Stewardship Fund

  1. Each conservation easement has an underlying stewardship endowment plan.
  2. Endowment monies are placed in a restricted fund called The Stewardship Fund, which has a separate accounting of assets.
  3. The Stewardship Fund shall be used exclusively for easement protection. Qualified expenditures are restricted to monitoring, enforcement and activities directly related thereto.
  4. Interest income earned by The Stewardship Fund may be used, as needed for general NPLT operations.
  5. The Northern Prairies Land Trust Board of Directors reviews The Stewardship Fund annually and calls for periodic audits at its discretion.

The amount of the donation to the Stewardship Fund will be determined by the Board of Directors on a case-by-case basis, after receiving a recommendation from the Executive Director.

It is recognized that this amount will vary based upon a variety of factors including:

  1. Size of the area protected.
  2. Location in relation to significant urban and recreational areas, transportation corridors,
    public lands and the Northern Prairies Land Trust offices.
  3. Complexity of the easement provisions
  4. The vulnerability of natural features and conservation values.
  5. Donor’s residence on the land.
  6. Importance of the conservation values to the public interest.
  7. The frequency of required monitoring.
  8. Conservation motives of the donor.
  9. Where the donation is to advance the protection of farm or ranch land, the unique
    economics of agriculture may be consider