You cherish and care for the native species on your property, but perhaps the next owners might not value the land in the same way. At the Islands Trust Fund, we believe your efforts to protect the land you love should be respected into the future. We believe the security of a species' habitat shouldn't be jeopardized with each new landowner.
A conservation covenant is a formal commitment you can make to protect the natural features on your property. With a conservation covenant, you still own your land, can live on the property, and sell it whenever you want. The covenant binds future owners to the same promises you made, meaning the landscape you've loved and cared for remains protected forever.
As your regional land trust, the Islands Trust Fund is able to hold conservation covenants. We work closely with our covenant donors to create a covenant agreement that meets their long-term vision for the future. Since 1990, more than 60 landowners have signed conservation covenants with the Islands Trust Fund, permanently protecting more than 500 hectares of habitat in the islands.
How a conservation covenant works
A covenant is a voluntary, legal agreement between a landowner and a conservation organization where you as the landowner promise to use the land only in specific ways, protecting its natural features, and we as the conservation agency promise to monitor future use of the property long into the future, protecting those natural features forever. In the event of a future landowner violating the terms you put on the covenant, the Islands Trust Fund is responsible for enforcing those terms.
A covenant can be placed on all or just some of your property, giving you the flexibility to continue to use and even further develop the unprotected portion of your lot. Conservation covenants allow you to continue to own and use your land and even sell it or pass it on to your heirs.
A conservation covenant is placed on the title of your property, binding future owners to the same terms you agree to. This ensures that the natural features that you value today will continue to be protected forever. Putting a conservation covenant on your property creates a permanent sanctuary for the plants and animals you share your land with.
Benefits to you
Placing a covenant on your land for conservation first and foremost gives you the peace of mind knowing the land you care for will be safe forever, regardless of who eventually owns your property. The Islands Trust Fund continues to monitor its conservation covenants annually, at no cost to the landowners. The land you love will never be lost to development.
You may receive income and property tax benefits by placing a covenant on your land. If you register a covenant on a property with significant ecological value, you may be eligible for income tax benefits through the Ecological Gifts Program. If you register a covenant through the Islands Trust Fund's Natural Area Protection Tax Exemption Program, you can receive an annual property tax exemption of 65% on the protected portion of the land. If a covenant significantly restricts future use lowering the property's market value, BC Assessment may lower your property's assessed value, lowering your property taxes owed each year.
North & South Pender Landowners: The Morrison Waxler Biodiversity Protection Legacy Fund offers grants to North & South Pender landowners to cover some of the costs involved with registering a conservation covenant or NAPTEP covenant. Contact us to learn more or to apply for this grant.
Talk to us
A conservation covenant can be individually tailored to you and your land. We'd love to talk to you about your vision for conservation and to discuss options that meet that vision and your financial goals.
Ecosystem Protection Specialist, Islands Trust Fund
We recommend anyone contemplating a conservation covenant also talk with independent financial and legal advisors. If your advisor is not familiar with covenants, we would be happy to provide additional information.