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Conservation Easement Due Diligence: Navigating IRS Approval, Appraisals, Phase 1 Assessments and More

Effective Due Diligence Approaches for Easement Grantors and Grantee Conservation Organizations

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will provide guidance for counsel for grantee conservation organizations and easement grantors on key due diligence issues involved in conservation easement transactions. The panel will outline approaches to identify and mitigate risks and liabilities.


A conservation easement is a legally enforceable perpetual land preservation agreement between a landowner and either a government agency or a qualified land protection organization (such as a land trust) for the purposes of conservation of the land and its resources.

To identify and manage environmental risks, due diligence is a critical component of transactions. Site assessments are key to identifying potential risks/liabilities.

Title review is necessary to show that no mortgages are senior to the conservation easement; otherwise, the mortgage needs to be subordinated to the easement. Donors must also consider choosing a conservation partner carefully. Counsel must ensure the easement meets IRS approval for grantors of the easements where there is a donation.

Listen as our authoritative panel of environmental attorneys discusses preparation for due diligence for conservation easements, the scope of due diligence, the relationship between the grantee organization and the grantor, potential risks presented, and available protections.



  1. Choosing a conservation partner (easement holder)
  2. IRS approval requirements if grantor donates easement
  3. Due diligence
    1. Survey
    2. Baseline Data
    3. Appraisals and a Land Use Analysis
    4. Title Searches and Subordination Issues
    5. Environmental assessments
  4. Easement Monitoring and Stewardship
  5. Easement Modification, Interpretation and Amendments


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What should easement grantors consider when choosing a conservation partner?
  • What factors help determine the scope of due diligence sufficient for real estate transactions?
  • What are the best practices for evaluating and managing environmental risks in conservation easement transactions?
  • What should easement grantors consider in order to minimize audit risks associated with donated conservation easements?


Benjamin S. Wechsler
Benjamin S. Wechsler

Linowes and Blocher

Mr. Wechsler concentrates his practice on land use and environmental law, as well as litigation. Prior to joining...  |  Read More

Bill Crouch
Bill Crouch

State Director, Conservation Acquisition
The Conservation Fund

Mr. Crouch sources, manages and oversees all conservation real estate activities occurring in Maryland working to...  |  Read More

Maureen L. Mitchell
Maureen L. Mitchell

Fox Rothschild

Ms. Mitchell’s environmental practice involves representing public and private entities, including non-profits,...  |  Read More

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