Conservation Easements in Alberta

This website was created by the Environmental Law Centre and Miistakis Institute to help landowners, land trusts, municipalities and others find answers to questions related to conservation easements in Alberta. You can browse our top ten questions below or type into the search bar to see what other questions are answered on the site.

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Conservation easements for the purposes of preserving environmental and/or scenic values were legislatively enabled in Alberta in 1996, and broadened to include protection of agriculture in 2009. Numerous land trusts, municipalities, provincial agencies, and conservation-minded landowners have since used the tool to conserve those values on Alberta’s private landscapes. During that time, thinking around how to use conservation easements has evolved. Best practices have advanced, and easements are increasingly looked to as a backstop for broader conservation programs, land use policy and planning initiatives.

The Environmental Law Centre and the Miistakis Institute have conducted research and supported practice in relation to conservation easement policy and implementation since the tool was initially considered in Alberta.  It has increasingly became apparent through the organizations’ work that adoption of conservation easements as a planning and preservation tool needed an up-to-date hub for relevant information.  This information would help landowners, municipalities, decision-makers and land trusts when considering how to fulfill their conservation needs using easements.

This website fills that information gap by answering basic and advanced questions about conservation easements in Alberta: the who, what, where, when, why and how of conservation easements. It answers the fundamental questions of how conservation easements work, and includes practical resources like checklists, templates and links to relevant resources such as land trust profiles.

How to use this site

Your level of familiarity with conservation easements will determine how you interact with this site.

Those with little to no familiarity will want to start with the "Basic questions" section to find answers to questions like "What is a conservation easement?" or "How is a conservation easement created?" From there you can dig deeper by following links to more advanced questions like "Are you a qualified organization?" or "How is conservation easement changed?".

Those with more familiarity may want to peruse the “Basic questions” section for new information or jump straight into the “Advanced questions” section. There you will find answers to questions like “How is a conservation easement registered?” or “How do I draft a multi-purpose conservation easement?”

No matter your level of familiarity, the search function at the top of every page is a great way to find the answer to a specific question or information on a particular topic.

The “Resources” section contains a wealth of information including land trust profiles, conservation easement templates and links to relevant legislation, planning and policy resources.

Finally, if you have a question that we haven’t answered, you can use the “Ask a Question” function found at the top of each page to email your question to us. Your questions will help us modify the site so it continues to provide the answers about conservation easements that Albertans are seeking...

About Miistakis

The Miistakis Institute is a non-profit, charitable research institute affiliated with Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta. Miistakis envisions a world where communities have genuine access to the science and research they need to make choices that promote healthy landscapes. We study the landscape, so we can help people conserve it. The Institute works to make innovative research accessible to communities and decision-makers.

About the Environmental Law Centre (ELC)

The Environmental Law Centre is a registered charity whose mission is to ensure that Alberta’s laws, policies and legal processes sustain a healthy environment for future generations. Its programs provide services in environmental law reform, research, education and information.