Virginia Conservation Easement Options

Open Space in Central Virginia

When I studied Forestry and Wildlife Management at Virginia Tech concentrating in Environmental Conservation back in the late 70’s and early 80’s,  there were not many options for applying a land owners conservation beliefs to their land in perpetuity.  Now we’ve got a variety of options including Conservation Easements.  If you own or are looking to purchase land and want to tie your conservation ethics to the land, Conservation Easements may provide the tool accomplish this goal.  I recently attended a Conservation Partners, Inc.  easement seminar, where the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, The Virginia Department of Forestry, The National Resources Conservation Services (US Department of Agriculture), The Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District and the audience discussed the wide variety of conservation easements available in Virginia.  The cool thing about all these easement programs  includes people to help you understand and evaluate the programs so can determine if an easements meets your individual needs!  Some of the easement programs last for defined periods of time instead of perpetuity, which appeals to some land owners.

The Rivanna River - One of Virginia's Scenic Rivers

Should you place conservation easements on your land?  That’s a personal decision that should be made after consulting your attorney, CPA, estate planner, possibly family and others.  Some conservation easements continue for perpetuity while others feature limited durations.   Real estate consists of a bundle (timber, mineral, open space, development, division, building, hunting, farming, fishing, etc) of rights. With a conservation easement you will be giving up and/or limiting some of your real estate rights (ability to subdivide, number and size of homes, building site location, etc.).  You can retain the right to hunt, fish, live, build a home, farm, etc.  Educating yourself to the legal, federal and state income tax plus estate tax implications remains a critical step in determining if conservation easements offer a viable option in passing your conservation ethic into the future.  Since you give up some of the rights with conservation easement, you reduce the value of the real estate, which can provide tax credits and other financial benefits.  I don’t give legal or tax advice so I would strongly urge to you to seek competent advice in these areas prior to entering into a binding agreement for conservation easements.

Beautiful Virginia Farm Land

Conservation easements may affect the marketability of your real estate as well as the value.  You may may not be planning to sell but circumstances can change.  Evaluate the easements to make sure your hands will not be tied making the property hard to sell should you need to sell in the future.  If you have questions or want to discuss conservation easements, let’s talk.  I don’t claim to have all the answers but am enjoying digging into options for conservation easements in Virginia!


About James Friend Dickerson

Real Estate Consultant As a native of Central Virginia and a full time REALTOR since 1991, James listens to your needs to provide information allowing you to make informed choices. In our constantly changing world, you need a REALTOR who puts you first providing rigidly flexible service. James Dickerson provides a high level of service designed to fit each individual clients needs. Having received many awards from both the local Association of REALTORS and RE/MAX International, James is recognized as an authority on the local real estate market. The highest form of recognition James receives continues to be the many repeat clients who seek out his services time after time plus sending their relatives, friends, co-workers and neighbors to James for their real estate needs. Contact James today for an interview to discuss your real estate needs. James is a licensed real estate sales person in the Commonwealth of Virginia with Charlottesville Solutions. Personal As a Central Virginia native (Born in Charlottesville and raised in Albemarle and Louisa Counties), James' youth was filled with extra-curricular activities and organizations centered around school, church and the Boy Scouts of America. A graduate of Virginia Tech with a degree in Forestry and Wildlife Management, James' non-real estate activities include spending time with family & friends, traveling, stalking deer & spring gobblers, fly fishing, church and Masonic activities. James and his lovely bride Karen live between Zion Crossroads and Gordonsville in the Green Springs area of Louisa County. Their dog Sammy passed away so they'll be adopting another dog soon through
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