Conservation Easements

Are there costs associated with donating a conservation easement?

There are costs associated with putting a conservation easement on a property. Each conservation easement requires a report documenting the existing natural resources and human activity on the property, a minerals remoteness test if the landowner does not own all the mineral rights, verification of legal description, and recording fees. These are costs the Reliance incurs. Landowners decide which, if any, of these costs they can help defray. Associated costs, which are the responsibility of the landowner, may include an appraisal, and attorney or accountant fees. In some instances, there are funding sources available to help a landowner defray the costs associated with their conservation easement.

How long does the conservation easement last?

MLR only takes conservation easements in perpetuity, which gives the donor the comfort of knowing that their property will remain as they describe in the conservation easement document. Additionally;

Federal tax law stipulates that to quality for tax incentives, a conservation easement must be in perpetuity.

Are my property taxes affected?

No, by Montana statute property taxes cannot be reduced by donation of a conservation easement.

How long does it take to put a conservation easement on my property?

It typically takes from three to nine months to complete the paperwork for a conservation easement.

How are MLR conservation easements different from purchased conservation easements?

Purchased conservation easements typically have some requirements attached to them, such as public access. Typically, management of some aspect of your operation is shared with the entity/government agency purchasing the conservation easement.

Do I have to allow public access on my land?

No, MLR does not require public access on its conservation easements. In fact, controlling access of any kind is a right retained by the landowner.

Can MLR staff come on my land whenever they want?

MLR staff sets up an appointment with each landowner once a year to monitor their conservation easement. The time is mutually agreed upon by MLR and the landowner.

How often do you monitor conservation easements?


Is MLR going to tell me what to do with my property?

No, MLR is not in the land management business. We monitor conservation easements to ensure that the landowner is complying with the mutually agreed upon terms of the conservation easement.

Do you transfer land ownership to the federal or state government?

No, we are a private land conservation organization, and only work with private landowners.

Does MLR own the property if I donate a conservation easement to them?

No, they only have an interest in the property, and control those rights that the landowner wishes to restrict or eliminate. The landowner continues to own the property under the terms of the conservation easement.

Can I sell my property if I put a conservation easement on it?

Yes, the landowner retains full ownership of their land. The property is sold with the conservation easement attached-it “travels with the land”. The new landowner is subject to the same restrictions as the landowner who initiated the easement.

Where does MLR get its money?

We fundraise from private individuals and apply for grants from various foundations and businesses. We also receive income from MLR endowment funds.

Who runs MLR?

MLR is run by a Montana board of directors which meets quarterly. The Board oversees policy and programs, and is ultimately responsible for all major decisions. The staff is responsible for the operations and functioning of the organization.