Preserving land to protect water with you!

Conservation Easements

"The delight of knowing the land is now protected makes you tingle all over - it means safety for everything around us."
~ Polly West

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Why Protect Your Land?

Conserved land provides numerous benefits to people and the environment. Preserved forestland along waterways acts as a protective barrier against pollution and sediment runoff, ensuring clean water for local communities. These conserved areas serve as crucial wildlife habitats and contribute to preserving species biodiversity. Additionally, they offer recreational opportunities such as fishing, hunting, and hiking, which are essential for driving tourism and supporting the local economy.

For sustainable farming and forestry businesses, conserved lands serve as a valuable resource, providing raw materials for food and wood products while creating job opportunities. Furthermore, the conservation of land helps maintain the region's scenic beauty, preserves its traditions, and protects historic landmarks, all of which are integral to the identity and character of northern Minnesota.

Conserving Your Land

Your land is an important financial asset, but it’s likely much more than that to you or your family.

Land means different things to different people: family heritage, working landscapes, habitat for plants and animals, solitude or recreation, citizen science monitoring, artistic inspiration, or simply a connection to place.

Every landowners’ situation is unique, so we can help you understand the ecological value of your land, and what your conservation options are. Then, we can guide you through the steps to permanently preserve your land in a way that best meets your goals.

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We have programs to help you protect your land.

You care about the future of your land, and there are a number of ways you can make sure the things you value about it will be there for generations to come.

Conservation Easements

Conservation Easements are agreements that limit or prohibit future developments on your land yet allows you to maintain ownership and most uses. The landowner makes the final decision on the agreement.

CE’s are individually tailored to each property owner’s needs, but all strive to preserve and protect natural or scenic features. These features, called “conservation values,” might include significant wildlife and plant habitat, lake or river shoreline, wetlands, or important scenic or cultural lands which benefit the public.

There are a number of benefits for landowners.

Landowner Benefits

Protecting land as a private individual or family in northern Minnesota offers several advantages, including valuable tax incentives and the assurance of making an impact for future generations. Donating land or placing an easement on land can lead to various financial benefits.

One significant benefit of donating a conservation easement is the potential for substantial tax advantages, provided it meets federal requirements. By claiming the value of the easement as a tax-deductible charitable donation, you can potentially lower your federal income tax. Additionally, it may also reduce your state income tax burden.

Beyond the financial benefits, a conservation easement allows you to plan for the future of the land and ensure its preservation for generations to come. It becomes a vital tool for passing on your land to the next generation, while also potentially lowering estate taxes. The conservation easement offers the opportunity to protect the land's natural and cultural values, securing its legacy and providing lasting benefits for both the environment and your family.


Make an Impact. Inspire Others.

Funding Sources

Funding for our largest programs comes from the Outdoor Heritage Fund (OHF).

Other funding sources include the Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership, Initiative Foundation, and contributions from donors like you.

We work with multiple partners to find a solution for your conservation needs.

The primary funding source NWLT uses to support landowner’s out-of-pocket costs to establish a conservation easement on their property, or facilitate an acquisition, is the Outdoor Heritage Fund.

NWLT also works in partnership with the DNR and area Soil & Water Conservation Districts to facilitate other grant-based conservation projects, through programs such as:

If you are interested in protecting your land or lake, let NWLT be your first point of contact to help determine which conservation program would work best for your land. Contact us at


Established in 2008 when Minnesota voters passed the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment (Legacy Amendment) to the Minnesota Constitution, the Outdoor Heritage Fund "may be spent only to restore, protect, and enhance wetlands, prairies, forest and habitat for fish, game, and wildlife."