Volunteer Conservation Easement MonitoringVolunteer monitors are instrumental in helping Landmark fulfill our yearly monitoring requirements- thank you!
As a land trust, Landmark Conservancy has the responsibility to monitor conservation easements across the 20 counties we serve.
Landmark Conservancy must ensure that the terms of each conservation easement are being upheld, and walking each property annually is a great way to do that. Not only does it allow for direct observation of the condition of the land, but it also provides a valuable opportunity to connect with landowners and discuss their questions or plans for the future.
Using a simple smartphone application allows volunteer monitors to collect valuable information which helps the Landmark staff track natural and man-made changes over time. For these reasons, annual monitoring is essential! As are the volunteers that help make it happen.
What is a conservation easement?
Conservation easements (CEs) are legal documents developed in cooperation with private landowners which constrain the use of their land in order to protect the unique conservation values of the property – perhaps a trout stream, old-growth forest, or wetland.
Each CE is different, but they often restrict the number and/or location of new buildings, block disturbances near sensitive waterways, and generally serve to protect the character and integrity of the land for future generations.
While the land continues to be owned by private landowners, Landmark Conservancy, as holder of the conservation easement, has the obligation to ensure the terms of the CE are upheld in perpetuity.
Interested in monitoring? Here are some things to know:
Deadline: Fill out the interest survey by MARCH 31 to be eligible to monitor this calendar year. While we try our best to assign and accommodate everyone who is interested in volunteering, local over-saturations of volunteers in popular areas may mean that we are not able to take everyone on board. Monitors will be selected and notified of their acceptance in April.
- Independently contact the landowner prior to the monitoring visit (contact information will be provided)
- Provide own transportation to and from the properties
- Be prepared to make a general walking inspection of the property with or without the landowner present. Some properties may be remote or difficult to traverse.
- Fill out a monitoring form, and return a copy to Landmark Conservancy by November 1st.
- If you are new to monitoring with Landmark, Stewardship Specialist, Katie Hahn, will work with you to schedule an hour-long online introductory training.
- Properties must be monitored between May 15th – November 1st
- Typically, each volunteer will be assigned to 3-6 properties, depending on availability and preferences
- Each monitoring visit typically lasts less than an hour, although it will vary based on property size and complexity
Volunteers play an important role in conducting the on-the-ground monitoring visits across our 20-county service area. In 2022, volunteers monitored 27% of our portfolio, covering 8,294 acres across 14 counties!