Standard 8: Evaluating and Selecting Conservation Projects
The land trust carefully evaluates and selects its conservation projects.
Having choices about which land protection projects to undertake may seem like a luxury. Many land protection projects are done under great time pressure; the tendency is to protect now, think later. Sometimes that is inevitable. Yet unless the land trust exercises care in reviewing all of its projects, it may find itself with a property or a conservation agreement that serves little public interest, is costly to manage or defend, or does not fit with the land trust’s mission. Every land trust must find a balance between being strategic and being opportunistic. Land trusts that focus on their strategic priorities typically find that they can raise more funds and protect more land. These land trusts work with their partners to develop conservation priorities appropriate for their community. A land trust that does not prioritize and carefully select its projects may open itself to public criticism, credibility issues and even legal problems. In order for land conservation to maintain public credibility, it is essential that all land trusts carefully screen projects for the public benefit that will be provided. Once projects are selected, the land trust must determine how best to protect a given property’s resources. For each property, sufficient information must be gathered to make sound judgments and avoid unacceptable risks.
- Land Title Act, RSBC 1996, c. 250, s. 219:
- Receiver General – to hold Covenants in BC:
- Income Tax Act, SC 1985, c. I, s. 149.1 (6.3);
see also Canada Revenue Agency policy interpretations at
- Environmental Management Act, SBC 2003, c. 53, s. 40
- Contaminated Sites Regulation, BC Reg. 375/96, as am., s. 3.
- Canada Revenue Agency policy interpretation of Income Tax Act, SC 1985, c. I;
see Income Tax Technical News No. 26 at:
H. Evaluating Partnerships
The land trust evaluates whether it has the skills and resources to protect the important conservation values on the property effectively, or whether it should refer the project to, or engage in a partnership with, another qualified conservation organization.
In evaluating the best conservation tool, a land trust may find that it does not have the capacity to undertake the size or scope of the protection project that is necessary to protect the important conservation values on the property. It is critical that land trusts do not engage in projects that exceed the organization’s capability to manage the land or conservation agreement over time and that do not exceed their mission or expertise. In cases where a project exceeds the land trust’s mission or capacity, it is encouraged to form partnerships with (or refer projects to) other organizations that have sufficient capacity. Land trusts have engaged in many creative partnerships with other land trusts, public agencies, historic preservation organizations, and other conservation entities.