The goal of the Stewardship Program is to ensure that the projects our organization funds continue to provide benefits for North Carolina’s citizens forever.  This is done through the establishment, monitoring and enforcement of perpetual conservation agreements.  These arrangements, which are entered into voluntarily, restrict certain uses of the property and guarantee that the land continues to exist in its natural state in perpetuity. 

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There are several basic types of conservation agreements we use depending on the land ownership and requirements of the grant program. Here is a summary:

State-held Conservation Easement – This is a legal document granted or assigned to the State of North Carolina.  It is a real property right vested in the State and is tracked as such by the State Property Office.  We receive annual monitoring reports for properties protected by these easements and maintain direct responsibility for enforcing encroachments.  Most of our Land Acquisition Program projects not under State ownership are protected by these easements.

Third-Party Conservation Easement – These easements are similar to the State-held conservation easements, except that the grantee is another conservation organization.  The State holds no direct property interest and does not monitor these easements.  However, the State does maintain a third-party right of enforcement as an option in the event that the grantee fails to enforce the easement.  These are used for our donated property mini-grants and stream restoration projects.

Restrictive Covenants – These single party agreements impose restrictions on the future land use that can be virtually the same as a conservation easement.  However, they do not have a second party responsible for annual monitoring and reporting.  We generally use these for properties owned by a local government.

Dedication under the Nature Preserves Act – When the ownership of a property will be State agency, qualifying portions of the property are dedicated under the Nature Preserve Act. This designation is managed by the Natural Heritage Program.   

For more information about types of land protection documents NCLWF uses and how each type applies to the program areas, see "Conservation Documents Applicable to NCLWF-Funded Projects”.

Properties with a State-held conservation easement, one for which the State is the direct Grantee or has been assigned as the Grantee, will be monitored and reported on annually.  Grants awarded prior to 2004 will generally be monitored at the expense of the land trust, per arrangements made at the time of funding, while those awards after will be paid for by the State through funds set aside in an endowment.  

Download the following forms at the links below: