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Conservation Easements: Structuring Effective Documents and Enforcing Terms and Conditions

Due Diligence and Development Rights, Challenges in Amending and Enforcing Easements

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, April 10, 2018

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will examine conservation easements and the legal considerations when drafting and enforcing an easement for the preservation of land and natural resources. The panel will discuss the benefits and limitations of these easements and the challenges associated with amending and enforcing the easements. Finally, the panel will offer best practices for using conservation easements.


A conservation easement is a legally enforceable land preservation agreement between a landowner and either a government agency or a qualified land protection organization for conservation of the land and its resources. As such, certain types of development, commercial and industrial uses, and other nuisance activities may be managed while preserving the ownership rights of the landholder, making conservation easements flexible preservation strategies.

However, counsel must understand how to draft, utilize and enforce easements, as the easement holder accepts the document in perpetuity and holds the risk and responsibility related to its enforcement. Counsel must know how to assess and inventory the property’s preservation value and natural resources, and how to identify responsible resource management actions and stewardship priorities and activities for the property.

Donations to a “stewardship fund” often enable stewardship activities on lands subject to a conservation easement. They may be beneficial from a tax standpoint for the donors, but counsel must meet applicable legal requirements and ensure compliance with applicable income, estate and property tax regulations.

Further, because easement holders are responsible for enforcing the easement in perpetuity, they must continually contend with violations by other landowners and third parties, including trespass or encroachment claims; improper exploitation of natural resources; or claims under the varying state criminal, tort and real property laws.

Listen as our authoritative panel discusses both the challenges associated with drafting effective conservation easements and the considerations for enforcing the provisions of a conservation easement in perpetuity.



  1. Drafting and interpreting conservation easements
  2. Benefits and limitations of conservation easements
  3. Challenges in enforcing easements in perpetuity
  4. Issues associated with the amendment of conservation easements
  5. Encroachment and other legal rights to action


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • How should counsel draft and structure conservation easements to maximize benefits to the holder?
  • What are the challenges and state law implications of enforcing easements in perpetuity?
  • How can counsel advise clients on funding and benefiting from stewardship activities?


Holland, J. Jeffrey
J. Jeffrey Holland

Holland & Muirden

Over the past 25+ years, Mr. Holland has worked on conservation projects for both individuals and nonprofit...  |  Read More

Paulus, William
William F. (Fritz) Paulus

Attorney at Law

Mr. Paulus is a real estate attorney who focuses on conservation transactions in Oregon. With over 16 years of...  |  Read More

Raffle, Brad
Brad Raffle, Esq.

Founder and President
Conservation Capital

Mr. Raffle has 25 years of legal practice experience in conservation law, most with the international law firms of...  |  Read More

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