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:
D. Site Inspection
The land trust conducts a physical site inspection before buying or accepting donations of land or conservation agreements to be sure, they meet the organization's criteria, to identify the important conservation values on the property and to reveal any liabilities or potential threats to those values.
A land trust should not enter into a transaction without seeing and evaluating a property, and the earlier in the transaction process, that it can visit the property, the better. The purpose of a basic site inspection is to determine whether the property meets the land trust’s criteria, identify the property’s conservation resources, discover any management-related problems, and identify problems or threats that should be investigated further. Often a land trust visits the property several times, as the project develops.
CLTA Assessment Questions
- The inspection process includes consideration or examination of the following (check all that apply):
- Whether the property meets the organization’s land selection criteria
- Identification of the property’s important conservation values
- Identification of any potential management problems
- Is there a standard site evaluation form that provides a written record of the visit?