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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Resource Materials


LAND TRUSTS AND OTHER EASEMENT HOLDERS OPERATING IN ALBERTA

Land trust profiles

A brief description of each active land trust in Alberta, including their area of focus and contact information.

Canada Revenue Agency Charity Listings

An on-line listing of all charities in Canada, through which you can get basic and detailed information about their charitable activities.

Environment Canada's list of EcoGift eligible charities

The list of charities in Canada (with an Alberta subset) that are eligible to receive gifts of ecological property.

Government of Alberta Directory of Agencies

A listing of all Provincial Government agencies in Alberta (recall that any agency is automatically eligible to hold conservation easements).

Alberta Municipal Profiles

A listing of all municipalities in Alberta, with detailed information about each (recall that any municipality is automatically eligible to hold conservation easements).


LEGISLATION AND RELATED INFORMATION

Conservation Easements – legal and plain language

The excerpted clauses in the Alberta Land Stewardship Act that enable conservation easements, with a plain-language translation.

Alberta Land Stewardship Act

The Act which enables the conservation easement tool in Alberta (Secs. 28-35)

Conservation Easement Registration Regulation

The Alberta regulation prescribing the additional notifications required when registering a conservation easement.

Land Titles Act

All conservation easements are registered on the title of the land, following the procedures laid out in this Act.

A Legacy of Land: Conservation Easements and Land Stewardship (Conference Proceedings, 1999)

Dated, but still useful proceedings of a conference showcasing numerous perspectives on the role and opportunities of conservation easements.

Conservation Easements, Covenants and Servitudes in Canada: A Legal Review

A dated, but still useful resource describing the conservation easement laws across Canada.


PLANNING AND POLICY RESOURCES

Conservation Easements for Agriculture in Alberta: A Report on a Proposed Policy Direction

A policy paper designed to inform and catalyze development of a policy for the newly-created agricultural purpose for conservation easements.

Transferable Development Credits

An on-line resource for Alberta municipalities describing how TDC programs work, including the anchoring role that conservation easements play.

Conservation Easement Registry

A searchable, online database containing information on registered conservation easements in Alberta, maintained by the Land Stewardship Centre.

Stewardship Canada Portal

A national on-line portal of conservation and stewardship organizations, projects and activities.

West Coast Environmental Law Research Foundation

A searchable resource library which includes information about conservation covenants (the British Columbia version of conservation easements).

Canadian Land Trust Alliance Standards and Practices

Critical guiding documents from the now-defunct CLTA, providing a baseline for organizational integrity, but also standards for conservation easement transactions. There is also an accompanying background document.


REGISTERING CONSERVATION EASEMENTS

Land Titles Office

The home page of the Alberta land titles office, where all conservation easements must be registered to be connected to the relevant land parcel and come into effect.

Metis Settlement Land Registry

The home page of the Metis Settlement Registry, where conservation easements on Metis settlement lands must be registered to come into effect.


TEMPLATES AND CHECKLISTS FOR LANDOWNERS AND ADVISORS

Monitoring Template

An annotated template for a conservation easement monitoring report, outlining what sections should be included and the kinds of information each should hold.

Baseline Documentation Report Template

An annotated template for Baseline Document Reports on environmental conservation easements, outlining the components each report should contain.

Lawyer Checklist

A checklist that outlines considerations that legal counsel may use in advising a client involved in a conservation easement.


SAMPLE PROVISIONS AND TEMPLATE FOR A CONSERVATION EASEMENT AGREEMENT

Common Conservation Easement Agreement Provisions

Though all conservation easements are different, this document lists some of the provisions most likely to be included in a conservation easement.

Conservation Easement for Agricultural (and Mixed) Purpose Template

A starting-point template for drafting a conservation easement which has agricultural or mixed purposes,

Sample Resections in Conservation Easement Agreements

Restrictions vary between conservation easements, but some are more likely to appear than others; a description of some of the most common restrictions.

FINANCIAL AND APPRAISAL RESOURCES

Valuing Conservation Easements

A simple graphic illustrating the ‘before-and-after’ valuation method used to derive a dollar value for a conservation easement.

Canadian Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice

The Appraisal Institute of Canada’s on-line standards and ethics for appraisers.

Appraisal Institute of Canada

The Appraisal Institute of Canada’s web site; all conservation easements should be assessed by a qualified appraiser.

Stewardship Calculator

A worksheet template for qualified organizations to calculate the costs of stewarding a conservation easement.

Stewardship Calculator Manual


ECO-GIFT RESOURCES

The Canadian Ecological Gifts Program Handbook

The comprehensive guidebook from Environment Canada describing the process for certifying and receiving gifts of ecological valuable property.

The Ecological Gifts Program Donation and Income Tax Scenarios

A collection of common income tax scenarios for the donation of an EcoGift, showing the potential beneficial implications.

The Ecological Gifts Program Guidelines for Appraisals

The on-line (and PDF) description of the mandatory process for conducting - and submitting for review - appraisals of EcoGifts.

Application for Appraisal Review and Determination of the Fair Market Value of an Ecological Gift

The application forms (and summary information) for the submission of an conservation easement appraisal for certification as an EcoGift.

Engaging an Appraiser to Appraise an Ecological Gift
EcoGifts Change in Use Factsheet

A glossy guidebook to help landowners and qualified organizations appropriately engage appraisers for certifying a conservation easement as an EcoGift.


ORGANIZATIONS TO CONTACT FOR MORE INFORMATION

Miistakis Institute

A charitable, applied conservation research institute with extension experience in the practical aspects of planning for and using conservation easements (co-authors of this site).

Environmental Law Centre

A charitable, environmental law information hub in Alberta, with extensive experience in the legal aspects of conservation easements (co-authors of this site).

Land Stewardship Centre

A charity that supports grassroots community stewardship efforts and sustainable resource use, and maintains the Conservation Easement Registry.


GOVERNMENT RESOURCES

Land Use Framework

The Land Use Secretariat’s on-line information on the conservation and stewardship tools included in the Alberta Land Stewardship Act, including conservation easements.

Land Trust Grants Program

A Government of Alberta funding program which supports the purchase of conservation easements.


OTHER LAND TRUST SUPPORTS

American Farmland Trust

A national agricultural land protection group in the United States, with a large library of resources on conservation easements in that country.

American Friends of Canadian Land Trusts

An organization created by a coalition of Canadian and US conservation professionals to provide a mechanism to protect ecologically sensitive land in Canada owned by US taxpayers.

BC Lands Trust Alliance

The web site of the umbrella organization for land trusts in British Columbia, with many resources that provide insights for conservation easement practitioners in Alberta.

Land Trust Alliance (US)

The umbrella organization for land trusts in the United States, and a great source of general information on conservation easement practice.

Ontario Land Trust Alliance

The web site of the umbrella organization for land trusts in Ontario, with many resources that provide insights for conservation easement practitioners in Alberta.

PUBLICATIONS

Conservation Easement Guide for Alberta. By Arlene Kwasniak. Produced by the Environmental Law Centre (Alberta). Edmonton, AB: 1996.

An annotated guide to the original conservation easement legislation, which is still a valuable resource as the legislation has changed very little.

Conservation Easements: A Landowner's Guide. Produced by the Southern Alberta Land Trust Society. High River, AB: 2000.

A guide to conservation easements from the landowner’s perspective. Developed by the Southern Alberta Land Trust Society.

Conservancy: The Land Trust Movement in America. By Richard Brewer. Dartmouth College, University Press of New England. 2003.

A relatively current history of the land trust movement in the United States (and North America) which provides insights into the evolution of the conservation easement tool.

For the Love of Alberta: Ways to Save Your Natural Heritage: Private Conservancy Guide for Alberta. By Lesley Patricia Curthoys. Published by Federation of Alberta Naturalists, Edmonton, AB: 1998.

The seminal (though dated) Alberta publication designed to inspire landowners to conserve private land by showcasing practical options, including conservation easements.