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Partners and Resources - Conservationists


Conservation easements protect critical land for future generations while allowing owners to live on, use, and own their land. An easement is either donated or sold by the landowner in exchange for agreeing to limit certain uses of the land, such as subdivisions or new development. Landowners keep their private property rights while enjoying certain tax benefits, which help keep land intact and in the family. You can still sell your land with a conservation easement.

Conservation Futures is a land preservation program that protects, preserves, maintains, restores, and limits the future use of threatened areas. Those lands include open space, timberlands, wetlands, habitat areas, culturally significant sites, and agricultural farmlands within the County. Land to be set aside for conservation purposes is purchased through a tax levy enacted in 1971. The program has helped provide recreational opportunities while protecting various habitats and valuable agricultural lands from development.

Mitigation/Conservation banks are permanently protected lands that contain natural resource values. The lands are for species that are endangered, threatened, candidates for listing, or are otherwise at risk. Conservation banks offset adverse impacts to these species that occur elsewhere, sometimes known as off-site mitigation. In exchange for permanently protecting the land and managing it for these species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approves a specified number of habitat or species credits that bank owners may sell. Developers who need to compensate for the unavoidable adverse impacts their projects have on species (incidental take) may purchase the credits from conservation banks to mitigate the impacts.

A Safe Harbor Agreement is a voluntary agreement involving private or other non-Federal property owners whose actions contribute to the recovery of threatened or endangered species. Some property owners may be reluctant to undertake activities that support or attract listed species on their properties, due to fear of future property-use restrictions related to the ESA. To address this concern, a SHA provides that future property-use limitations will not occur without the landowner’s consent.

Property owners receive formal assurances from the USFWS that as long as they fulfill the conditions of the Safe Harbor Agreement, they will not need to carry out any additional management activities unless they consent to them.


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Interested Parties: If you would like to be added to our Web Mail list, please click here. Staff contact: Andrew Deffobis, Associate Planner. Phone: (360) 754-3355, ext. 5467. E-mail: deffoba@co.thurston.wa.us.

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