The RVLT is interested in donations of property or conservation easements that qualify under one or more of the following guidelines:
- Property in Lenawee, Washtenaw, Jackson or Hillsdale Counties that are within or near the River Raisin watershed.
- Property contains a significant amount of primarily natural open space or farmland.
- Property provides significant wildlife habitat and or/scenic views.
- Preservation of the property will assist in maintaining or improving surface water quality.
- Property includes an important historical feature.
- Land is free of toxic waste, incompatible deed restrictions, and problems that make easement enforcement difficult.
Conservation Easement Process
Our primary method of directly preserving resources is through conservation easements, a deed restriction that prevents most development and protects the natural resources of the property.
- A landowner wishing to preserve his or her property contacts the RVLT.
- RVLT board members meet with the owner and walk the property to determine if it meets the RVLT guidelines.
- The landowner and the RVLT negotiate an easement contract which gives the RVLT the right and responsibility to restrict development on the property.
- The contract is filed with the county Register of Deeds office, and becomes a deed restriction on the property.
- The landowner is free to enjoy the land in its undeveloped state, and sell or bequeath it to whomever they wish. A new owner is bound by the easement contract. Future owners buy the property knowing and accepting the restrictions.
- An endowment is required to enable the RVLT to legally defend the easement if necessary. Easement donors are encouraged to help fund the endowment and other expenses involved.
- The landowner may receive an income tax benefit by claiming a charitable contribution for the amount of property value lost due to the deed restriction. This would help offset the expense in creating the easement.
- An RVLT representative will visit the property annually to verify that the terms of the easement are being observed.