Conservation Easements and Land Banks
By Timothy Lindstrom* Voluntary land conservation in Virginia depends heavily upon conservation easements. Significant tax incentives, including Virginia’s Land Preservation Tax Credit, are available
Time to Double Down, Virginia!
The pandemic may have given us all a breather in the battle against climate change. As the nation ground to a halt, carbon emissions
The Future of the Conservation Easement
Looking at the vast network of tools we have established in Virginia for the protection of our land, there is no more powerful tool
River Systems are Integral
Originally published at: https://middleburgeccentric.com/2020/12/river-systems-are-integral-the-fence-post/ In last month’s installment, we described a well-managed property like a diversified stock portfolio. All the natural assets available are used
Frequently Asked Questions
An existing forest means their roots are already filtering runoff and cannot be removed. Invasive species, however, may be removed to make room for native species. A quick site visit can determine our options on your property.
Once recorded, the Restrictive Covenants will dictate the obligations of the new owner as a part of the property deed.
In a typical cycle, agreements are signed in October, the ground is prepared for planting in November, the saplings are planted in March, and the DEQ verifies the new growth 90 to 120 days later. If there are no issues, the credits are transferred for sale thereafter. Sale depends on development activity in your HUC (region,) but typically, shelf life is from 3 to 6 months.
In general, yes, as long as Conservation Plus has unlimited access to manage the trees during the Term. The stand must be fenced from livestock. The average distance between rows is 12 feet and will accommodate trails. If you desire trails that are wider than that, you can specify the allowance be documented in the Restrictive Covenants, as long as you understand that eliminating trees may reduce projected credits.
In general, we can accommodate your requests. We select a variety of native hardwood species depending on the soil types found on your property. Once we have a plan, you may want something different. If the species you prefer is more than our budget allows, you may be asked to afford the difference.
The DEQ requires that the project be monitored for 10 years for compliance, so our agreement lasts for 10 years.
The DEQ requires that the forest be protected in perpetuity by a restrictive covenant recorded into the property deed. That said, best forestry management practices are used to manage the stand to ensure long term survival of the new forest.
We generally prefer projects that are greater than 25 acres.
We ask that you pay a setup fee of $750 to fund initial mapping, but once we reach an agreement on the size and configuration of the project, the money is returned. From there, we provide any initial investment necessary to get the project developed, approved and sold. This includes mapping, DEQ application fees, purchase of the trees, preparing the ground before planting, planting the saplings, managing their young growth, DEQ verification, registration of the credits, and sale of the credits. The project expenses are repaid from gross sales. The net revenue is then split, with 70% going to the landowner.
Once the trees are planted and verified by Virginia DEQ, the credits we create are transferred to a third-party, independent registry. At that point, they are ready to be sold. Real estate developers buy them. City, county, and state governments buy them, too. Any organization with a construction project in your HUC (region) buys them to offset stormwater management at a development they have engineered.