FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1. Do landowners have to participate in the Conservation Bank program?

Answer: NO. Landowner participation is completely voluntary.

2. Does a conservation easement have something to do with government rights-of-way?

Answer: NO. A conservation easement or conservation agreement is a voluntary conservation option. It sets up a legal arrangement between a landowner and a government agency or land trust that ensures the land remains essentially in its current state and its conservation values are protected. The land remains the private property of the landowner, who is responsible for its upkeep, paying taxes, etc. at no cost to state taxpayers.

3. When you sign a conservation easement, do you give up all your rights to your property?

Answer:  NO. Your conservation easement is tailored specifically to your needs—in fact, you help design it. Its main purpose is to protect the conservation values of your property, so you continue to own and control your land and all financial and other values you derive from it. Typically, a conservation easement allows farming, forestry, hunting and fishing to continue on the land, as well as limited building rights defined in the conservation easement.

4. Will a conservation agreement give the government the ability to take over my property and management decisions?

Answer:  NO. You continue to own and manage the land in accordance with the terms of the conservation easement.

4. Will a conservation agreement give the government the ability to take over my property and management decisions?

Answer:  NO. You continue to own and manage the land in accordance with the terms of the conservation easement.

5. Do I have a choice in land trust partners?

Answer:  YES. Your potential land trust partners know that choice is important to you, so nothing will be forced on you when entering a conservation agreement. There are many qualified land trusts working across South Carolina.

6. Do conservation agreements reduce the value of your property and make it difficult for your children or grandchildren to profit from it?

Answer:  A conservation agreement can reduce the fair market value because they ensure that the property will be protected rather than developed. But this loss in value can be significantly reduced by a grant from the Conservation Bank and also by tax deductions and credits. The most important value is the owner knows that his or her special place will be protected forever.

We urgently need your support in our efforts to make sure reauthorization happens.

The first step is simply providing us with your contact information, so we can keep you updated on our efforts. Once you are on our communications list, we will provide the ideas and methods for you to let your elected representative in Columbia know how important the conservation bank is to you personally. Remember, they are there to represent you, and not play politics.