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Protecting Land Through Conservation Easements

Learn how private landowners can help protect the environment through conservation easements with the City of Albuquerque

The City of Albuquerque aspires to help preserve and protect land conservation values within the City through the use of conservation easements. Conservation easement programs at the federal and state levels are often primarily directed at larger tracts and include criteria that prohibit and/or make it difficult for landowners of smaller parcels in urban areas to participate in such programs and to access the associated tax benefits. Through the development of a City of Albuquerque-sponsored program, owners who desire to partner with the City to conserve smaller tracts of land for their environmental benefit will have the opportunity to do so without the burden of additional costs and fees.

What is a Conservation Easement?

A conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust or government agency that permanently limits use of certain land in order to protect and preserve the conservation values of the land. Conservation easements provide benefits that may include protection of viewsheds, agricultural uses, wildlife habitat, water quality, water quality, and support of farms and gardens that grow local groups. A conservation easement program encourages landowners to grant these easements through utilizing certain tax incentives and/or sell conservation easements through public and private land acquisition programs.

Why Conservation Easements Are Important

Open Space land is incredibly important to the cultural heritage, water quality, farm and grassland preservation, scenic views, wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation, education, historic preservation, and quality of life in the City of Albuquerque. Undeveloped lands in the Middle Rio Grande Valley are threatened by population growth, residential and commercial development, limited water resources, water quality issues and other factors. Currently, private landowners who desire to protect that land often cannot because the transaction costs of forming a conservation easement may prove to be insurmountable. Conservation easement programs can assist or cover the costs of the required land surveys, specialized appraisals, title work, title insurance, mineral assessments, environmental assessments, and other investigations and reports.

How to Get Involved:

  • The City is currently developing a program to support landowners who want to put their land into a conservation easement but cannot cover the transactional costs. If you are interested in further exploring this, please check back as this website will be updated with new information as we develop the program.
  • Rather than putting your land into a conservation easement, please consider donating your land to the City for Open Space.
  • If you don’t have land you want to put into a conservation easement, but would like to support this effort, please consider providing money to help offset transactional cost for landowners.

Resources:

Rio Grande Agriculture Land Trust, Rio Grande Agricultural Land Trust (rgalt.org)

New Mexico Land Conservancy, New Mexico Land Conservancy (nmlandconservancy.org)

To learn more about Tax Incentives, Conservation Easements | Internal Revenue Service (irs.gov)