A conservation covenant is one of the most powerful promises you can make.
A conservation covenant is a formal commitment to protect your land for nature that still allows you to own your property, live on your property, and sell it whenever you want.
The power of a conservation covenant is that it binds future owners to the same promises you made, meaning the landscape you’ve loved and cared for remains protected forever.
How a Conservation Covenant Works
The landowner promises to use the land only in ways that conserve the ecosystem, lands, and waters (e.g., walking, photography, nature appreciation, etc.), and the conservation organization promises to regularly monitor the property long into the future to ensure that those natural features are protected forever.
A covenant binds all future owners of the land 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 the land with.
A covenant can be placed on all or just some of your property, giving you the flexibility to continue to live on and even further develop the unprotected portion.
A conservation covenant is a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and a conservancy or land trust.
These covenants allow you to own (and sell or bequeath) your property and permanently protect the land at the same time.
Benefits to You
- Peace of mind: placing a conservation covenant on your property gives you peace of mind knowing that the nature you care for will be safe forever, regardless of who may own the land in future. The land you love will never be lost to development. Islands Trust Conservancy monitors covenanted lands annually, at no cost to the landowners, and enforces the terms of the covenant when necessary.
- Income tax benefits: if you register a covenant on a property with significant ecological value, you may be eligible for income tax benefits through the federal Ecological Gifts Program.
- Property tax benefits: if you register a covenant through the Islands Trust Conservancy’s Natural Area Protection Tax Exemption Program (NAPTEP), you can receive an annual property tax exemption of 65% on the protected portion of the land. In addition, 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. See below for our phone number and email address.
Natural Areas Protection Tax Exemption Program
The Natural Areas Protection Tax Exemption Program (NAPTEP) is a financial incentive to choose land protection over development.
When you register a conservation covenant through NAPTEP, you receive an annual property tax exemption of 65% on the protected portion of your land.
This means you save money annually in exchange for leaving the natural areas on your land alone for native species to enjoy.
These tax savings can add up quickly, depending on the size of the land you’re able to protect.
The Islands Trust Conservancy has created a guide to calculating NAPTEP benefits and costs to help you determine how NAPTEP could be financially beneficial for you.
To qualify for a NAPTEP covenant, you must own land in the Islands Trust Area, be willing to protect your land with a conservation covenant, and your property must have one or more of the following natural features:
- Relatively undisturbed sensitive ecosystems
- Habitat for rare or at-risk native plant species or plant communities
- Habitat critical to native wildlife breeding, rearing, feeding or sheltering activities
- Special geological features
Registering a Conservation Covenant on Your Land
To find out if a conservation covenant will help you achieve your vision for conservation, find answers to frequently asked questions, or learn about the next steps for registering a covenant on your land, contact us or consult these helpful resources:
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 discuss options to help you meet that vision.
We recommend that 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.
Acting Ecosystems Protection Specialist