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:
I. Partnership Documentation
If engaging in a partnership on a joint acquisition or long- term stewardship project, agreements are documented in writing to clarify, as appropriate, the goals of the project, roles and responsibilities of each party, legal and financial arrangements, communications to the public and between parties, and public acknowledgement of each partner’s role in the project.
Partnerships are integral to the success of many land conservation transactions, and land trusts are increasingly engaging in partnerships to maximize their conservation success. Partnerships bring together important skills for complex projects, but can also leave one or more parties feeling disappointed with the process. Partnerships involving acquisition of land can be particularly challenging. As with any partnership, it is important for the partners to understand their respective roles and responsibilities. A memorandum of understanding or other written agreement that spells out the terms and conditions of the partnership and provides protection for all parties should guide acquisition, management or stewardship partnerships.
CLTA Assessment Questions
- Does the land trust have appropriate written agreements to manage its partnership projects?