Through our Land Protection program, Potomac Conservancy helps protect water quality from future threats by permanently protecting land in the headwaters regions. We work with landowners within the South Branch watershed in West Virginia and the upper Shenandoah River watershed in Virginia to place conservation easements on their farm and forest land. Easements protect conservation values including water resources, forestland, wildlife habitat and prime farm soils by limiting development and similar land uses.
To date, Potomac Conservancy has permanently protected more than 13,100 acres through 76 conservation easements. To view maps and details about each of our easement properties, please visit our Conservation Registry >
In 2010, Potomac Conservancy was officially accredited by The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance. Accreditation publicly validates the high caliber of the Conservancy's land protection work and demonstrates that it meets the industry’s best practices related to governance and management. The Conservancy is one of just 238 of the more than 1,700 land trusts nationwide to be approved since 2008.
What is a Conservation Easement?
A conservation easement is a private legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust, such as Potomac Conservancy, that protects land and its conservation values permanently. The landowner and land trust together write the easement to protect the natural and scenic qualities of the land. The landowner retains title and continues to own, use, and enjoy the property, subject to the terms written in the conservation easement.
Why Donate a Conservation Easement?
- Preserve your land’s special qualities
- Make a gift to your children or grandchildren
- Prevent future landowners from harming the land or “un-doing” your work to improve your property
- Help maintain the landscape that defines your community
- Enjoy the property tax, state income tax, and federal estate and income tax benefits associated with an easement donation
What Do Conservation Easements Do?
- Restrict or prohibit subdivisions
- Restrict the number and size of structures
- Prohibit industrial/commercial uses (except agriculture, forestry, etc.)
- Prohibit mining, oil or gas extraction, and major excavation
- Prohibit cutting of stream-side trees and vegetation
- May require a Forest or Farm Management Plan for some activities
- Protect your property’s features- scenery, historic sites, farm soils, etc.
- YOU decide the specifics of YOUR easement!