Standard 11: Conservation Agreement Stewardship
The land trust has a program of responsible stewardship for its conservation agreements.
A land trust that accepts and holds conservation agreements commits itself to their annual stewardship in perpetuity, to enforcement of their terms, and to building positive landowner and community relationships to support the land trust’s conservation programs and enforcement actions. A land trust that fails to do so may eventually lose its credibility, could cause its conservation agreement program to be invalidated, may erode public confidence in conservation agreements, and ultimately risk the protection of the land. Not all land trusts have the capacity to hold conservation agreements in perpetuity and may achieve their conservation goals through partnerships with other organizations, fee ownership or other conservation methods. These practices will help ensure that the important conservation values protected by conservation agreements are sustained over time.
- Society Act, RSBC 1996, c. 433, s. 27.
- Canada Corporations Act, RSC 1970, c. C-32.
- Income Tax Act, SC 1985, c. I, s. 149.1 (6.3);
see also Canada Revenue Agency policy interpretations at
- Expropriation Act, RSBC 1996, c. 125.
- Expropriation Act, SC 1996, c. E-21.
- Property Law Act, RSBC 1996, c. 377, s. 35.
- Land Title Act, RSBC 1996, c. 250, s. 218-223.
- Employment Standards Act, RSBC 1996, c. 113.
- Workers Compensation Act, RSBC 1996, c. 492.
- Human Rights Code, RSBC 1996, c. 210.
- Canada Pension Plan, c. C-8.
- Employment Insurance Act, SC 1996, c. 23.
- Society Act, RSBC 1996, c. 433.
- Canada Corporations Act, RSC 1970, c. C-32.
C. Conservation Agreement Monitoring
The land trust monitors its conservation agreement properties regularly, at least annually, except in exceptional and remote circumstances, in a manner appropriate to the size, restrictions and threats to the conservation values of each property. The land trust keeps written documentation (such as reports, updated photographs and maps) of each monitoring activity to confirm that the present use of the property is consistent with that at the time of donation or acquisition. Monitoring of Ecological Gifts will include confirmation that the present use of the property is consistent with that at the time of the donation and monitoring documentation relating to Ecological Gifts will be made available to Environment Canada upon request. The land trust will determine the capabilities (both human and financial) of its organization to fulfill the short and long-term monitoring responsibilities and will not accept conservation agreements it cannot monitor effectively. If conservation agreements are monitored by volunteers, the land trust shall ensure that, they are trained, tailoring the monitoring techniques and requirements to the specific property.
There are several reasons why a land trust should monitor its conservation agreements annually. In exceptional circumstances, due to the remoteness of the property, monitoring may not be carried out on an annual basis, but a schedule for monitoring should still be developed to insure the conservation values of the property will be safeguarded. Monitoring helps a land trust develop a relationship with the landowner, helps discover changes in land ownership, enables it to see if the conservation agreement is effective, helps uncover violations, saves time and money on enforcement actions, and establishes a record in case of court action. Annual monitoring routinely reminds the landowner of the conservation agreement and provides a means for annual landowner contact. With annual monitoring the land trust can promptly document any changes in the property’s condition relative to the conservation agreement. While some land trusts regularly conduct “drive-by” or informal monitoring activities, the monitoring results should be documented to build a record for future monitoring and in case the land trust must address a violation. Some conservation agreements with particularly sensitive conditions, or on land where a landowner is performing management activities, may require monitoring more frequently than once a year. Land trusts use a combination of on-the-ground review, aerial observation and other methods in their annual monitoring. Conservation agreements held under the Ecological Gifts Program must be monitored to ensure that the land use of the property is consistent with the original donation. Monitoring documentation for Ecological Gifts should be made available to Environment Canada upon request. If conservation agreements are monitored by volunteers, they should be trained, tailoring the monitoring techniques and requirements to the specific property. Depending on the complexity of the property and the conservation agreement, volunteers with certain technical backgrounds may be required. Good record keeping is essential to monitoring. Staff and/or volunteers should be provided with standard monitoring forms. Where violations occur, enforcement may be necessary and therefore detailed, credible records will be required.
CLTA Assessment Questions
- What percentage of the land trust’s conservation agreements are monitored on an annual basis?
- Does the land trust document its annual monitoring in writing and/or with photos?
- Has the land trust developed a formal program (including written materials) to train and oversee monitors so that there is consistency in monitoring?
- If the land trust does not conduct documented annual monitoring, how and when does it monitor its conservation agreements?
Resources: Example Policies & Template Documents
- TLC Monitoring MOU Municipalities
- ITF COVENANT MONITORING REPORT FORM
- ITF Covenant Monitoring Site Inspection Form
- LTABC Covenant Monitoring Forms