Property Owners

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.

  1. A landowner wishing to preserve his or her property contacts the RVLT.
  2. RVLT board members meet with the owner and walk the property to determine if it meets the RVLT guidelines.
  3. The landowner and the RVLT negotiate an easement contract which gives the RVLT the right and responsibility to restrict development on the property.
  4. The contract is filed with the county Register of Deeds office, and becomes a deed restriction on the property.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. An RVLT representative will visit the property annually to verify that the terms of the easement are being observed.