Putting Conservation Easements in Perspective

I recently attended a banquet of the Texas Agricultural Land Trust and during opening remarks, the Past Chairman asked the 150 some odd attendees (all ranchers, farmers, wildlife managers, hunter conservationists, etc.) how many in the audience had or were considering placing a conservation easement on their lands?  A modest number of hands went up, maybe a dozen or so.  Next, he asked how many of those in attendance would like for their neighbors to place a conservation easement on those neighboring properties…every hand went up!

In my mind, this really puts things in perspective.  While there are some, if not many, for whom a conservation easement may not a good fit; for all of us who value our “open spaces”, it is a tool that has value and, in cases, adds value to the area.

The actions and activities of a neighbor or nearby neighbor can directly impact the productivity, enjoyment and the value of your land.  Neighbor related issues are some of the most difficult, unpredictable and complicated issues a landowner faces.  Having a neighbor that has a conservation easement on their land provides certainty that is not found anywhere else.  This certainty and predictability can add value to neighboring lands, whether those have chosen to have easements themselves or not.

We are fortunate to currently represent the conservation minded sellers of several properties that benefit from being in conservation neighborhoods where some of the adjacent or nearby neighbors with conservation easements actually offer benefits to the land being offered for sale.

River Valley Ranch in Blanco County, TX, which sold in May 2019,  is ~1,562 acres situated along 1.3 miles of the Pedernales River.  It benefits from numerous neighbors (several adjacent and others nearby) having chosen to permanently conserve their lands.

Moving further west, in Kerr County our ~315 acre Headwaters Ranch listing is out of and bordered by the perpetually conserved parent Cloud 9 Ranch.

Further west on the iconic Devils River, our 40,138 acre Monarch Ranch listing (and its two available divisions) is located in an area that continues to benefit from many ranches having been conserved to protect the Devils River.

Don’t discount the value of a conservation easement until you put things in perspective!

Updated March 31, 2020