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:
K. Non-conservation Lands
A land trust may receive land that does not meet its project selection criteria (see 8B) with the intent of using the proceeds from the sale of the property to advance its mission. If the land trust intends to sell the land, it provides clear documentation to the donor of its intent and has a plan to manage community expectations. Practices 4C, 9K and 9L are followed.
This practice clarifies that non-conservation land (sometime referred to as “trade lands”) need not meet the land trust’s selection criteria, but that the intent to sell or transfer the property must be clear between the organization and the donor. Many organizations use trade lands as an important source of funding for their organizations, and have policies or procedures for how they accept, sell and use sale proceeds. See related practices 4C, 9K and 9L.
CLTA Assessment Questions
- Does the land trust have a policy or procedure for lands it receives as gifts and does not intend to hold for permanent conservation?