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Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Program

The Pennsylvania Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Program enables state and county governments to purchase conservation easements on productive farms. The easements protect the farmland from non-agricultural development. (print edition of ConservationTools.org guide)
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Last Modified
Aug 31, 2017
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4326 times

Agricultural Protection Zoning

2011
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Agricultural Protection Zoning preserves the availability of agricultural lands for farming and thus the agricultural base of the community by constraining non-agricultural development and land uses in designated areas.
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Last Modified
Apr 27, 2017
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4068 times

Agricultural Security Areas: Protecting Farms from Condemnation and Unreasonably Restrictive Ordinances

2017
Within an agricultural security area (ASA), a farm is entitled to special protection from condemnation and laws and ordinances that would unreasonably restrict farming operations. Local governments in Pennsylvania may establish ASAs but only in response to petitions from landowners interested in enrolling their land in an ASA.
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Last Modified
Apr 26, 2017
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4439 times

Amending and Restating Grants of Conservation Easement: Best Practices to Document Change

Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
If a land trust intends to amend a grant of conservation easement, implementation of the changes requires careful planning and drafting. The consequences of a poor execution range from missed opportunities to improve easement stewardship to inadvertent elimination of conservation protections.
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Last Modified
Apr 26, 2017
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3724 times

Amending Grants of Conservation Easement: Legal Considerations for Land Trusts

2015
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
This guide informs easement holders of legal matters to consider under Pennsylvania law and the Internal Revenue Code when making decisions regarding the amendment of grants of conservation easement.
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Last Modified
Jun 23, 2017
Viewed
4147 times

A Scientific Foundation for Shaping Riparian Buffer Protection Regulations

2014
Authors: Wesley R. Horner
(print edition of ConservationTools.org guide) Extensive scientific research documents that vegetated strips of land along water bodies provide extensive water quality and other environmental benefits. The science shows that development should be kept away from the water's edge, wider protected strips provide greater benefits, forested buffers are more effective than grassy ones, and forested buffers in headwaters provide the greatest benefits of all.
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Last Modified
Apr 27, 2017
Viewed
3497 times

Authorization of Real Estate Transactions: Rules and Process for Nonprofits

2015
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
(print edition of ConservationTools.org guide) Within the bounds of state law and private standards of practice, a nonprofit organization has considerable flexibility in establishing policies and procedures regarding the authorization of real estate transactions.
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Last Modified
Sep 01, 2015
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4750 times

Biodiversity: A Guide

2012
Authors: Elana Richman
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Biodiversity encompasses the diversity of life – the varying and different species, genes, and ecosystems of the Earth. The ongoing loss of biodiversity threatens human well-being and makes the need for conservation ever more pressing.
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Last Modified
Jul 03, 2019
Viewed
3496 times

Bird Research and Conservation

2017
Authors: Nate Lotze
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Initiatives in Pennsylvania and on a national level promote the study of bird populations and the protection of their habitat.
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Last Modified
Jul 03, 2019
Viewed
1847 times

Bridge Loans for Conservation Purchases: Borrowing from Revolving Loan Funds

2013
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Low and no interest, short-term loans are available to help nonprofit organizations complete land and easement purchases for conservation purposes.
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Last Modified
Apr 27, 2017
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3460 times

Build-Out Analysis

2017
Authors: Patty Elkis and Nate Lotze
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
A build-out analysis projects the development that could occur in an area under current law. It enables a community to test the reality of its development regulations against its vision for its future.
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Last Modified
May 24, 2017
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4177 times

Clean and Green: Pennsylvania's Preferential Tax Assessment Program

2017
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Clean and Green, established by the Pennsylvania Farmland and Forest Land Assessment Act, provides for lower property tax assessments of land capable of producing agricultural products and timber or providing open space for public use. (Print version of CT guide)
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Last Modified
Nov 14, 2017
Viewed
2010 times

Climate Change and Land Conservation

2019
Authors: Nate Lotze
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Land trusts and governments may tailor their land conservation work to help both reduce carbon in the atmosphere and mitigate the harm of climate change. (Print version of ConservationTools.org guide)
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Last Modified
Jun 17, 2019
Viewed
219 times

Closing: Finalizing the Real Estate Transaction

2012
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
At closing, the transfer of the real estate interest, whether land or easement, is completed. This guide helps users organize and expedite the closing.
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Last Modified
Apr 27, 2017
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4509 times

Collaborative Opportunities for Land Trusts

2012
Authors: Nicole Faraguna
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Many types of collaborative approaches are available to help land trusts and others advance land conservation. This guide identifies opportunities for collaboration, provides guidance in structuring productive collaborations, and presents examples of successful organizational partnerships.
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Last Modified
Apr 27, 2017
Viewed
4108 times

Commission-Based Compensation Fundraising

2012
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Commission-based compensation for fundraising by staff and consultants, although legal, is widely viewed as a bad practice for nonprofits.
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Last Modified
May 23, 2019
Viewed
4893 times

Community Visioning

2019
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Community visioning is a planning tool that empowers people to express a vision for the future of their community; ideally, this vision guides land-use decisions and regulations. (Print version of ConservationTools.org guide)
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Last Modified
Apr 04, 2019
Viewed
369 times

CommunityViz®

2017
Authors: Nate Lotze and Andrew M. Loza
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
CommunityViz® software enables users to see what different land use and development scenarios would look like if they were to actually occur. It allows users to create hypothetical scenarios and assess the economic, environmental, social, and visual impacts of those scenarios. (Print version of CT guide)
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Last Modified
Nov 14, 2017
Viewed
1987 times

Conservation by Design

2019
Authors: Nate Lotze and Ann Hutchinson
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
By making straightforward changes to municipal land-use ordinances, Conservation by Design helps communities protect open space and natural resources at essentially no cost and without reducing the rights of landowners and developers to develop their land. (Print version of ConservationTools.org guide)
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Last Modified
Jan 22, 2019
Viewed
499 times

Conservation Easements: An Introduction for Private Landowners

2018
Authors: Andrew M. Loza
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
A conservation easement limits certain uses of the land in order to advance one or more conservation objectives while keeping the land in the owner’s control. It is established by mutual agreement of a landowner and a private land trust or government. (print version of ConservationTools.org guide)
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Last Modified
Sep 05, 2018
Viewed
2629 times

Cost of Community Services Studies

2017
Authors: Nate Lotze and Andrew M. Loza
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Cost of Community Services studies examine both the tax revenues generated by different land uses and the costs to local government of providing services to those same uses. They help people understand the fiscal consequences of keeping land in agriculture or as open space versus developing land for other purposes. (Print version of CT guide)
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Last Modified
Jun 24, 2019
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1954 times

Costs of Conservation Easement Stewardship: A Guide

2011
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
The holder of a conservation easement must monitor the eased property to confirm compliance with conservation restrictions and, when necessary, take action to uphold the conservation objectives of the easement. These and other stewardship activities result in costs, year in and year out, to the holder.
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Last Modified
Apr 27, 2017
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4721 times

Costs of Due Diligence in Conservation Acquisitions

2011
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
To responsibly accomplish a conservation easement or land acquisition, due diligence is necessary. This guide describes the costs incurred by land trusts and agricultural land preservation boards in completing surveys, baseline documentation, appraisals, title search and insurance, phase 1 environmental assessments and legal services in support of conservation acquisitions.
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Last Modified
Apr 27, 2017
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4500 times

Creating Sustainable Community Parks, 2nd Edition

2010
Authors: Jessica Sprajcar
Outlines the benefits of enhancing the natural resources in local parks and other landscapes, to maintain these areas in a sustainable manner, and to provide a step-by-step guide to help staff and volunteers achieve those results. It is directed primarily towards those charged with the design and maintenance of parklands, retail centers, housing developments, industrial parks, schools and other land uses, although the principles outlined in the book could also be used by individual homeowners.
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Last Modified
Apr 27, 2017
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5472 times

Donation Agreements

2018
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
A donation agreement may be used to ensure that a donor’s promise can be relied upon, set the expectations of both donor and donee, and prevent misunderstandings.
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Last Modified
May 08, 2018
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5880 times

Donation by Will: Options and Issues Regarding Gifts of Cash, Land and Other Property

2017
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Donors who want to help a worthy charity but also need to ensure that they have sufficient assests to live comfortably until life's end may choose to make some gifts via their wills. (Print version of CT guide)
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Last Modified
May 02, 2019
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2133 times

Donation of Stock and Other Securities

2018
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
For both donors and donees, the donation of stock and other marketable securities can be more advantageous than a cash donation.
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Last Modified
May 02, 2019
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823 times

Don't Regulate Rooftop Solar Without Compelling Cause

2019
Authors: Nate Lotze
Regulating rooftop solar energy systems through municipal zoning ordinances results in fewer people powering their homes and businesses with clean, safe, renewable energy. Furthermore, common arguments for regulation do not hold water. (Print version of ConservationTools.org guide)
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Last Modified
Feb 25, 2019
Viewed
347 times

Economic Benefits of Biodiversity

2011
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Economic impact studies document the many and substantial economic benefits generated by biodiversity. This guide identifies major studies, summarizes key findings of each and provides hyperlinks to the studies.
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Last Modified
Apr 27, 2017
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6208 times

Economic Benefits of Land Conservation: A Guide

2011
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
The conservation of natural lands and of working farms and forests can generate financial returns, both to governments and individuals, and create significant cost savings.
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Last Modified
Jul 02, 2019
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4409 times

Economic Benefits of Parks

2011
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
(print edition of ConservationTools.org guide) Economic impact studies document the many and substantial economic benefits generated by parks. This guide identifies major studies, summarizes key findings of each and provides hyperlinks to the studies. 11 pages
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Last Modified
Sep 01, 2015
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4206 times

Economic Benefits of Smart Growth and Costs of Sprawl

2011
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Sprawling patterns of development create heavy economic burdens -- problems, costs and liabilities far in excess of the benefits. Conversely, smart growth strategies can enhance economic vitality.
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Last Modified
Apr 27, 2017
Viewed
4013 times

Economic Benefits of Trails

2011
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
(print edition of ConservationTools.org guide) Economic impact studies document the many and substantial economic benefits generated by trails. This guide identifies major studies, summarizes key findings of each and provides hyperlinks to the studies. 14 pages
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Last Modified
Apr 27, 2017
Viewed
4742 times

Effective Nonprofit Email Newsletters

2019
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Effective email newsletters help nonprofits better publicize their work and connect with supporters. [Print version of ConservationTools.org guide]
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Last Modified
Sep 09, 2019
Viewed
132 times

Elections and 501(c)(3) Organizations

2019
Authors: Nate Lotze and Elana Richman
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Federal tax rules prohibit section 501(c)(3) organizations from participating or intervening in a political campaign in support of or in opposition to a candidate for elected public office. However, organizations may lobby, educate voters, encourage voter registration and participation, and advocate for issues in a nonpartisan manner. (Print version of ConservationTools.org guide)
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Last Modified
Apr 26, 2019
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304 times

Encroachment: Permitting Continued Use Without Risking Loss of Ownership

2019
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
What should you do if a neighboring landowner encroaches on your organization’s property (e.g., builds a shed or extends their lawn) or otherwise uses the land without permission? Sometimes immediately booting them is the best answer; sometimes arriving at some accommodation that provides them with at least temporary permission makes more sense. Doing nothing invites trouble. (Print version of ConservationTools.org guide)
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Last Modified
Feb 25, 2019
Viewed
462 times

Endowments and More

2018
Authors: Nate Lotze and Andrew M. Loza
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Endowments and quasi-endowments help organizations establish long-term financial stability. This guide explains the basics; provides links to resources that address creating, managing, and fundraising for these funds; and describes the practices of 10 land trusts. (Print version of ConservationTools.org guide)
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Last Modified
Nov 02, 2018
Viewed
574 times

Environmental Advisory Council

2014
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
A municipality's governing body may establish an environmental advisory council to advise the municipality's decision-makers and undertake projects regarding the protection and conservation of natural resources.
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Last Modified
Apr 27, 2017
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3950 times

Farm Preservation Options for Landowners: Government and Private Approaches to Conservation Easements in Pennsylvania

2017
Authors: Andrew M. Loza
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Fifty-seven Pennsylvania counties have agricultural land preservation boards that purchase agricultural conservation easements. Sixty-five private charitable organizations accept donations of conservation easements or, less commonly, purchase them. These two paths to farmland preservation differ in many ways.
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Last Modified
Apr 26, 2017
Viewed
2312 times

Floristic Quality Assessment

2019
Authors: Nate Lotze
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Floristic Quality Assessment (FQA) is a standardized assessment method that calculates a numerical index reflecting the quality of native plant communities for a given area. It indicates the impacts of invasive species and can also be used to monitor the effectiveness of land-management and restoration practices. (Print version of ConservationTools.org guide)
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Last Modified
Jun 17, 2019
Viewed
2490 times

From Lawn to Meadow: Protect Water and Provide Habitat While Saving Money

2017
Authors: Nate Lotze
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Converting areas covered by turf grass to meadows can be financially rewarding and relatively simple on both public and private land. It can also deliver substantial environmental and aesthetic benefits.
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Last Modified
Apr 26, 2017
Viewed
1945 times

Gift of a Future Interest in Real Estate: Reserved Life Estates Keep Owners in Control During Their Lifetimes

2015
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Landowners can convey a future interest in real property to a conservation organization or government but continue to live on or otherwise enjoy using the property during their lifetimes. If the property ia a personal residence or a fiarm, a donation of a future interest can generate immediate tax benefits. (print version of ConservationTools.org guide)
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Last Modified
Oct 23, 2019
Viewed
2978 times

Global Positioning System (GPS)

2017
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
GPS enables users to easily record the location of natural and man-made features on the land. It allows users to identify where a photo or video is taken, revisit previously recorded features, and more. (Print version of CT guide)
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Last Modified
Nov 14, 2017
Viewed
1479 times

Green Burial

2019
Authors: Nate Lotze
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Green burials minimize negative environmental impacts by using biodegradable materials, avoiding toxic chemicals, and occurring on land maintained using good conservation practices. (Print version of ConservationTools.org guide)
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Last Modified
Jun 24, 2019
Viewed
200 times

Guide to Pennsylvania's Recreational Use of Land and Water Act: A Law Limiting the Liability of Those Who Open Their Land to the Public

2019
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
The Recreational Use of Land and Water Act limits the liability of property owners who open their land to the public for recreation. This guide describes the immunity provided to owners in regards to claims of personal injury and loss of property and reviews relevant case law. (Print version of ConservationTools.org guide)
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Last Modified
Jun 17, 2019
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7354 times

Guide to the Conservation and Preservation Easements Act: Pennsylvania Act 29 of 2001

2016
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Conservation organizations can avoid many potential difficulties in conservation easement stewardship by ensuring that their conservation easement documents are drafted to conform with the Conservation and Preservation Easements Act.
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Last Modified
Aug 31, 2017
Viewed
5926 times

Hiring and Managing Interns

2019
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Interns can help nonprofit organizations to cost-effectively accomplish more. They also present a pathway for the organization to cultivate potential future employees and introduce new people to the field. [Print version of ConservationTools.org guide]
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Last Modified
Sep 06, 2019
Viewed
123 times

Holders, Beneficiaries and Backup Grantees: Defining Roles and Relationships to Achieve Conservation Easement Objectives

2013
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
A conservation easement may have one or more holders responsible for upholding the easement’s conservation objectives. It may have a beneficiary, an entity with some rights to manage the easement in furtherance of the conservation objectives but no responsibility to do so. It may also provide a contingency plan to replace a holder in the event the holder cannot or will not perform its duties. Effective long-term easement management requires that when more than one entity shares easement management rights, the relationship between the entities must be carefully delineated.
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Last Modified
Apr 28, 2017
Viewed
3539 times

Impacts of Natural Land Loss on Water Quality

2012
Authors: Elana Richman
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Forests, riparian buffers, wetlands and other natural lands are essential for the protection of water quality and aquatic habitat.
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Last Modified
Jul 03, 2019
Viewed
4180 times

Indemnity Agreements and Liability Insurance: Protection From Claims Brought by Third Parties

2014
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
An individual or organization’s risk of being held liable for personal injury or property damage may be shifted to another party who agrees to accept the risk and who holds liability insurance or sufficient assets to back up the acceptance of the risk. A release agreement guards against a successful lawsuit by the person signing the release; an indemnity agreement, in contrast, ensures that if some other person sues, the indemnifying party will be responsible for handling the claim.
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Last Modified
Apr 28, 2017
Viewed
3888 times

Installment Agreement

2015
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
An installment agreement requires the buyer of real estate to pay the seller the purchase price in installments over time; the buyer takes immediate possession of the property but the seller retains legal title as security until the buyer pays in full. An installment agreement can be a low-cost, flexible alternative to a traditional mortgage loan.
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Last Modified
Apr 28, 2017
Viewed
2905 times

Invasive Species Management Program

2009
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Invasive species management programs help minimize the harm of invasive species on natural lands and encourage the health of native plants and wildlife.
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Last Modified
Apr 28, 2017
Viewed
2412 times

Land Trust Accreditation

2019
Authors: Nate Lotze and Andrew M. Loza
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
The Land Trust Accreditation Commission offers outside verification that a land trust conforms with a key set of practices within Land Trust Standards and Practices. Accreditation is voluntary. A land trust should weigh the advantages of rigorous, external review against the opportunity costs of obtaining and maintaining accredited status.
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Last Modified
Apr 04, 2019
Viewed
1826 times

Land Trust Merger Case Studies

2014
Authors: Nicole Faraguna
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
This guide describes the catalysts for exploring merger, the exploration and due diligence process, and the outcomes of several consolidations of land trusts with land trusts as well as land trusts with other charitable organizations.
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Last Modified
Apr 28, 2017
Viewed
3734 times

Land Trust Standards and Practices: Guidelines for the Responsible Operation of a Land Trust

2017
Authors: Nate Lotze and Andrew M. Loza
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
The Land Trust Standards and Practices are widely accepted ethical and technical guidelines for the responsible operation of a land trust. (print edition of ConservationTools.org guide)
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Last Modified
Aug 31, 2017
Viewed
1673 times

Legal Considerations for Stewardship Funding Arrangements: Binding Present and Future Landowners to Present Promises

2012
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
A landowner may agree to one or more funding arrangements that require the landowner or successor owners of an eased property to make one or more payments to the easement holder to support stewardship of the property. An understanding of what makes promises binding is critical for crafting arrangements that are enforceable over time.
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Last Modified
Apr 28, 2017
Viewed
6237 times

Lobbying Rules and 501(c)3 Organizations

2012
Authors: Elana Richman
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
501(c)3 organizations can lobby to positively affect legislative outcomes but they must follow IRS regulations as well as state and federal regulations dealing with lobbyist registrations and reporting.
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Last Modified
Apr 28, 2017
Viewed
4412 times

Local Land Use Planning and Controls in Pennsylvania

2019
Authors: Nate Lotze and Andrew M. Loza
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
This guide describes the basic elements of land use planning and regulation available to municipal and county governments under the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code. (Print version of Conservationtools.org guide)
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Last Modified
Oct 16, 2019
Viewed
126 times

Local Regulation for Historic Preservation

2011
Authors: John Snook and Andrew M. Loza
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Local municipal regulations can provide substantial protection to historic resources, preserving their contributions to cultural vitality and helping communities maintain quality of life.
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Last Modified
Apr 28, 2017
Viewed
4585 times

Management of the Document Preparation Process

2012
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
When a document needs to be reviewed, edited and approved by more than one person, good document management and control practices help prevent time-consuming missteps and confusion for all the parties involved.
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Last Modified
Apr 28, 2017
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3950 times

Merger: An Introduction for Conservation Organizations

2013
Authors: Nicole Faraguna
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
A land trust may merge with another land trust or other conservation organization in order to more effectively advance the goals of each organization.
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Last Modified
Apr 28, 2017
Viewed
3286 times

Model Conservation Easement

2017
Authors: Andrew M. Loza
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
(print edition of ConservationTools.org guide) The Model Grant of Conservation Easement and Declaration of Covenants with Commentary provides users with a state-of-the-art legal document and guidance to customize it to nearly any situation. No easement document has benefited from more real-world testing and peer review.
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Last Modified
Aug 31, 2017
Viewed
5188 times

Model Documents

2018
Authors: Andrew M. Loza
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
The Pennsylvania Land Trust Association develops and maintains model documents to help users complete projects and manage their operations efficiently and effectively. This guide briefly describes each of these models. (print edition of the ConservationTools.org guide)
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Last Modified
Apr 28, 2018
Viewed
4687 times

Multi-Municipal Cooperation for Recreation and Parks

2006
This publication provides a foundation on the basic concepts of public recreation and parks services in Pennsylvania. It also covers the demographic, environmental, social and other issues that face our municipalities and impact the provision of recreation and parks services.
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Last Modified
Apr 28, 2017
Viewed
4363 times

National Poll Results: How Americans View Conservation

2017
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Across the political spectrum, voters in the United Sates consistently demonstrate support for conservation. (Print version of CT Guide)
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Last Modified
Jun 21, 2018
Viewed
5216 times

Nonprofit Name Change

2019
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Sometimes it makes sense for a nonprofit to change its name to better reflect its mission and work, distinguish itself from other organizations, or otherwise improve its marketing. [Print version of ConservationTools.org guide]
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Last Modified
Sep 06, 2019
Viewed
133 times

Not a Charitable Trust: The Donated Conservation Easement in Pennsylvania

2015
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
(print edition of the ConservationTools.org guide) Little evidence exists to support the proposition that a donated conservation easement, in the absence of a charitable trust agreement (not to be confused with the grant of conservation easement), is a charitable trust in Pennsylvania; indeed, there is compelling evidence to the contrary. (Holder covenants may be used to buttress easements and do not run into the legal obstacles or suffer from the policy failings of the trust proposition.)
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Last Modified
Apr 28, 2017
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2882 times

Not a Public Trust: The Land Trust-Held Conservation Easement in Pennsylvania

2014
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
No legal precedent exists in Pennsylvania for finding that a conservation easement acquired by a private land trust is a public trust.
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Last Modified
Apr 28, 2017
Viewed
3305 times

Optimizing Direct-Mail Fundraising Appeals

2018
Authors: Nate Lotze
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
A collection of links to resources that can help organizations large and small raise more money from their appeal letters. (Print version of ConservationTools.org guide)
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Last Modified
Sep 14, 2018
Viewed
893 times

Options to Sell

2013
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
An option to sell may be used to assure that a property acquisition can be undone if expectations are not met.
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Last Modified
Apr 28, 2017
Viewed
3554 times

Outdoor Access and Programs

2015
Authors: Nicole Faraguna
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Land trusts have available to them a variety of tools and examples of how to improve public access and provide programming on their lands. By providing opportunities for outdoor experiences, land trusts help foster people's connections to nature and conservation.
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Last Modified
May 23, 2019
Viewed
3720 times

Overview of Pennsylvania’s Recreational Use of Land and Water Act

2019
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
A two-page review of the landowner protections provided by the Act regarding claims of personal injury or property loss by recreational users of their land. (PALTA's "Guide to Pennsylvania’s Recreational Use of Land and Water Act" provides a more in-depth review of the same subject.)
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Last Modified
Jun 17, 2019
Viewed
6351 times

Pennsylvania Local Governments May Support Land Trusts

2015
Authors: Andrew M. Loza
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
In Pennsylvania, local governments may give money, land and easements to land trusts.
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Last Modified
Apr 28, 2017
Viewed
2639 times

Permits for Events, Hunting, Camping, and Other Uses of Conserved Lands

2019
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Requiring permits for certain activities on conservation lands (such as events, hunting, and camping) helps land managers ensure that the activities do not negatively impact the land or others’ enjoyment of it. The permit-application process can also serve to inform users of the rules for using the land. (Print version of ConservationTools.org guide)
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Last Modified
Jun 21, 2019
Viewed
298 times

Planning a Site Visit with Your Legislator

2013
Authors: Elana Richman
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
A visit to a property conserved with a state grant may help a legislator better understand the impact of state conservation investments.
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Last Modified
Apr 28, 2017
Viewed
3942 times

Polls Show Pennsylvanians Support Environmental Protection

2017
Authors: Nate Lotze
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Polls show that Pennsylvanians are concerned about a range of environmental issues, from clean water and wildlife conservation to global warming and renewable energy. (Print version of CT guide)
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Last Modified
Jun 21, 2018
Viewed
1674 times

Pre-Existing Mortgages in Easement Transactions: Using Non-Disturbance and Subordination Agreements to Prevent Extinguishment and Comply with Tax Law

2019
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
When a mortgage predates an easement on a property, the easement could be extinguished in a foreclosure if the owners default on their mortgage payments. And if the easement is to be donated and the donors wish to obtain tax benefits, additional complications arise. These problems can be avoided by obtaining an agreement from the mortgage holder appropriate to the circumstances. [print version of ConservationTools.org guide]
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Last Modified
Aug 01, 2019
Viewed
6708 times

Prescribed Fire

2019
Authors: Nate Lotze
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
A prescribed fire is a planned fire—sometimes called a controlled burn—used to manage certain types of landscapes. It reduces the chance of major wildfires and provides numerous other benefits for humans, plants, and wildlife. (Print version of ConservationTools.org guide)
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Last Modified
Jun 25, 2019
Viewed
202 times

Prioritization of Conservation Resources

2017
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Prioritization tools help land trusts and municipalities make better decisions about where to focus conservation efforts and how to allocate limited resources. (Print version of CT Guide)
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Last Modified
Nov 14, 2017
Viewed
1447 times

Promoting Walking for Wellness

2015
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Walking is a free, easily accessible activity that improves physical and mental health and connects people with the outdoors. A variety of resources exist for promoting walking.
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Last Modified
Apr 28, 2017
Viewed
2318 times

Property Tax Exemption for Preserves, Parks, Trails, and Other Conserved Lands

2015
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Preserves, parks, trails, and other conserved lands in Pennsylvania are not automatically exempted from real estate taxes. If tax exemption is desired for a parcel, the charitable organization or local government must apply for exemption for that specific parcel. Exemption for one parcel does not guarantee exemption for others owned by the same entity.
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Last Modified
May 23, 2019
Viewed
2717 times

Public Access Policies and Practices for Land Trusts: Survey Results in Pennsylvania

2013
Authors: Nicole Faraguna
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
The Pennsylvania Land Trust Association surveyed Pennsylvania land trusts regarding their organizational policies and practices as well as management issues encountered related to their fee-owned properties.
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Last Modified
May 23, 2019
Viewed
3249 times

Public Dedication of Land and Fees-in-Lieu for Parks and Recreation: A Tool for Meeting Recreational Demands in Pennsylvania Municipalities

2015
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Municipalities may require developers to provide parkland for new developments. They may also offer developers the option to instead pay fees, construct facilities or establish private parkland. This is the 2nd edition (2015) of a guide first published in 2008. It addresses changes made to the law in 2014 to give municipalities greater flexibility.
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Last Modified
Apr 28, 2017
Viewed
7990 times

Purchase and Sale Agreements for Conservation Projects: Guidance and Sample Provisions

2019
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Acquisitions of land and easements for conservation purposes can involve issues different from other real estate transactions. This guide looks at purchase and sale agreements in general and then reviews potential customizations that may be made to these agreements to specifically address conservation matters. [Print version of ConservationTools.org guide]
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Last Modified
Sep 19, 2019
Viewed
160 times

Purchase Options: Gaining the Right Without the Obligation to Acquire Property Interests

2013
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
A purchase option is a right to purchase or lease land or other property interests without any obligation to do so.
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Last Modified
Apr 28, 2017
Viewed
4337 times

Realty Transfer Tax: Exclusions for Conservation-Related Transactions in Pennsylvania

2016
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Many conservation-related property transactions are excluded from having to pay state and local realty transfer taxes in Pennsylvania.
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Last Modified
Apr 28, 2017
Viewed
3260 times

Reducing Federal Estate Tax: A Conservation Easement Benefit for Large Estates

2019
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
For large estates, death triggers the possibility of federal estate tax. A conservation easement on the deceased person’s land, whether granted in life, by will, or by the person’s heirs—can reduce or eliminate the tax owed. (Print version of Conservationtools.org guide)
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Last Modified
Oct 16, 2019
Viewed
115 times

Reducing Liability Associated with Public Access

2011
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Public access to property for recreational uses – such as hiking, bird watching, fishing and hunting – raises concern about the possibility of liability on account of injury to a recreational user. Pennsylvania law provides some protection from liability associated with public use of property for recreational purposes. Also there are practical steps that can be taken to minimize risk of liability.
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Last Modified
Apr 28, 2017
Viewed
4736 times

Reducing Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax

2012
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
(print edition of the ConservationTools.org guide) In Pennsylvania, death triggers a state inheritance tax on the distribution of the deceased person’s assets (called the “estate”) to the beneficiaries of the estate. Conservation restrictions on land included in the estate can reduce the inheritance tax owed. 4 pages.
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Last Modified
Apr 28, 2017
Viewed
4558 times

Release of Liability Form: A Tool to Reduce the Risk of Claims for Personal Injury or Property Loss

2019
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
A properly designed release of liability form signed by a volunteer or participant in an activity can reduce liability risks of the organizing or hosting organization. (Print version of ConservationTools.org guide)
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Last Modified
Oct 22, 2019
Viewed
4565 times

Restricted Gifts: Issues to Consider Before Making or Taking a Gift for a Specific Purpose

2015
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
A restricted gift of cash, land, easement or other property may only be used for a particular purpose rather than an organization’s general purposes. Both donor and donee need to be aware of the issues raised by limiting the use of a gift.
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Last Modified
Apr 28, 2017
Viewed
2533 times

Reversionary Interest

2012
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
A landowner who is concerned about the future use of his land can donate or sell the land on a conditional rather than absolute basis. A reversionary interest is created by a deed that reserves to the grantor a future ownership right upon the occurrence of some condition.
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Last Modified
Apr 28, 2017
Viewed
4426 times

Rights of First Purchase (Offer, Negotiation and Refusal)

2015
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
A right of first purchase gives a potential purchaser the opportunity to purchase before a property is sold to another. It can be a right of first offer, a right of first negotiation, a right of first refusal or a combination of these rights.
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Last Modified
Apr 28, 2017
Viewed
5768 times

Riparian Buffer Protection Agreement

2011
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
A riparian buffer protection agreement limits activities on all or a portion of a property to advance conservation purposes while keeping the property in the control of the landowner.
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Last Modified
Mar 22, 2018
Viewed
4646 times

Riparian Buffer Protection via Local Regulation: A Guide and Model Ordinance for Pennsylvania Municipalities

2014
Riparian buffers - forested or otherwise vegetated lands bordering water bodies - deliver tremendous water quality and other public benefits. Pennsylvania municipalities may ensure the protection and restoration of riparian buffers with their land use regulations.
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Last Modified
Apr 28, 2017
Viewed
4185 times

Seller Take Back Financing

2019
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
When a seller wants to close a sale of real estate but the buyer is not yet in a position to fully fund the purchase, the parties can close the sale with the seller taking from the buyer a purchase money note and mortgage in lieu of an all-cash payment.
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Last Modified
Jan 22, 2019
Viewed
442 times

Sign Ordinance

2019
Authors: Nate Lotze
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
A sign ordinance can help a municipality reduce the visual clutter of signage and end business sign wars. It also can help protect, establish, or enhance community identity. (Print version of ConservationTools.org guide)
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Last Modified
Apr 04, 2019
Viewed
315 times

Solar Energy Development and Land Conservation

2019
Authors: Andrew M. Loza and Nate Lotze
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
An enormous boost in solar energy production is one of the actions needed to stop the dramatic rise of carbon in the atmosphere and better ensure civilization’s long-term prospects. This guide explores issues that conservationists may want to consider in order to both advance their land conservation work and support solar energy development.
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Last Modified
Nov 26, 2019
Viewed
80 times

Steep Slope Ordinance

2019
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Municipalities use zoning regulations to limit disturbance of steep slopes in order to prevent erosion, reduce the risk of dangerous landslides, and preserve scenic hillsides. (Print version of ConservationTools.org guide)
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Last Modified
Apr 05, 2019
Viewed
5106 times

Stewardship Funding Arrangements: Options for Financing the Obligations of Conservation Easement Holders

2018
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
(print edition of ConservationTools.org guide) A landowner may agree to one or more funding arrangements that require the landowner or successive owners of an eased property to make one or more payments to the easement holder to support stewardship of the property. These arrangements may be customized to fit the stewardship demands created by the particular conservation easement and the financial circumstances of the owner.
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Last Modified
Oct 19, 2018
Viewed
7573 times

Street and Sidewalk Design

2019
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Good street and sidewalk design improves public safety, accommodates a variety of users, reduces environmental impacts, and enhances community character. (Print version of ConservationTools.org guide)
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Last Modified
Jun 25, 2019
Viewed
4323 times

The Nature of the Conservation Easement and the Document Granting It

2014
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
By statute and by common law interpretation, a conservation easement is a real estate interest and is governed by real estate law, in particular, the law of servitudes. This guide analyzes the nature of the conservation easement and the operation of the document granting the easement. It includes discussion of the mechanisms that assist in upholding the easement's conservation objectives in perpetuity.
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Last Modified
Apr 28, 2017
Viewed
3150 times

The Official Map: A Handbook for Preserving and Providing Public Lands and Facilities

2011
The official map is a powerful planning tool for ensuring that land will be available where it is needed for roads, trails, parks, riparian buffers and other potential public infrastructure. The official map is authorized by the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code. This handbook is a guide for county and municipal leaders and planners who seek practical guidance in more effectively implementing land use plans.
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Last Modified
Sep 17, 2019
Viewed
11165 times

Traffic Calming

2011
Authors: Nicole Faraguna
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Traffic-calming incorporates a variety of design and management strategies in local streetscapes to control volume and speed of traffic for the safety of both motorists and non-motorists.
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Last Modified
Apr 28, 2017
Viewed
4112 times

Trail Easements

2015
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
A landowner may convey to another person the rights to create a trail, open it for public use and maintain it without the owner giving up ownership and enjoyment of the land through which the trail passes.
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Last Modified
Apr 28, 2017
Viewed
3533 times

Urban Growth Boundary

2019
Authors: Nate Lotze
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Urban growth boundaries are used to demarcate where government intends to encourage and discourage land development. This guide provides links to resources about urban growth boundaries, as well as examples from Pennsylvania municipalities. (Print version of ConservationTools.org guide)
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Last Modified
Feb 25, 2019
Viewed
2331 times

Volunteers: Guidance for Recruiting, Training, Managing, and Retaining Unpaid Workers

2019
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Effectively recruiting, training, managing, and retaining volunteers can play a crucial role in helping a nonprofit organization accomplish its goals. (Print version of ConservationTools.org guide)
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Last Modified
Jul 15, 2019
Viewed
160 times

What Is a Land Trust?

2018
Authors: Andrew M. Loza
Simply stated, a land trust is a charitable organization that acquires land or conservation easements, or that stewards land or easements, for conservation purposes. However, this simple definition leaves much to be explained.
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Last Modified
May 07, 2018
Viewed
2016 times

Who Has Standing? Conservation Easements in Pennsylvania Courts

2013
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Who can assert claims and be heard in Pennsylvania’s courts if a dispute heats up over the management of a conservation easement?
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Last Modified
Apr 28, 2017
Viewed
4223 times

Why Preserve Farmland?

2017
Authors: Nate Lotze and Andrew M. Loza
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Farms feed us and provide a host of other public benefits. However, every day the amount of fertile farmland diminishes as development spreads. This guide describes the importance of preserving productive agricultural lands.
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Last Modified
Jul 03, 2019
Viewed
2352 times

Working with Nature to Manage Stormwater

2019
Authors: Nate Lotze
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
The most effective tools to reduce the water pollution and flooding caused by stormwater runoff are green infrastructure, land conservation, and best management practices on farms. (Print version of ConservationTools.org guide)
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Last Modified
Apr 25, 2019
Viewed
441 times