Conservation FAQ

Q: Where does Greenbelt Land Trust work?

A: Greenbelt’s service area, as defined in our current Conservation Plan, is Benton, Linn, Polk, and Marion Counties. The work we do within that service area is focused on regions that have been identified as high-priority for permanent protection. We work strategically to build our conservation footprint in designated areas in order to make a lasting impact on plant and wildlife habitats, enhance water quality for native fish populations, and provide trail connections for our community to enjoy.

Q: What is a Conservation Easement?

A: An easement is a legally binding agreement between a landowner and a land trust. A conservation easement protects the natural character and resources on a property and provides an array of benefits to landowners, future generations and the community. With this agreement, the landowner agrees to permanently eliminate some uses of their land, while retaining owners and control. The landowner, the Trust, and funders work together to determine which uses should be prohibited to protect the conservation values. Some easements may include tax incentives, continues opportunities for traditional rural uses, and the peace of mind that treasured lands will be protected for generations to come. The landowner retains the title on the property, and can sell their land, though the easement remains with the property in perpetuity. In accepting an easement, the Trust is obligated to forever ensure the provisions of the easement are upheld.

“Our family has worked and lived on the Willamette River for five generations. We know the health of our crops depends on the health of the river system. Our goal for restoration is to utilize important floodplain areas to improve water quality and protect the valuable farm land that our family farm depends on.” ~ Gary Horning, Landowner

Q: How are land conservation projects funded?

A: Funding for land conservation comes from a variety of sources and differs for every acquisition. Often grant funds are leveraged against community investments for a conservation purchase. Some of the funders that Greenbelt Land Trust have worked with on recent projects include Bonneville Power Administration, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Meyer Memorial Trust, and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Land conservation is expensive, and organizations like Greenbelt must be innovative in merging multiple funding sources and maximizing every dollar invested. On any year every $1 of community contributions was leveraged to bring in $13 in critical grant funds!

Q: Are you actively managing & restoring your lands?

A: The acquisition of a property is really just the tip of the iceberg. After we purchase the land,  Greenbelt is then responsible for maintaining and enhancing habitats on that property forever. With a restoration staff of 3, Greenbelt Land Trust works on large and small-scale management projects, including restoring floodplain gallery forests, enhancing remnant upland prairie systems, growing and planting native seed, and integrating cattle grazing with endangered species protection. Each property has a comprehensive Management Plan, often with objectives that span 20-30 years from the date of purchase. Restoration projects are funded by grants and by a Stewardship Fund that people like YOU have invested in to ensure the long-term maintenance of the lands you care about.

Q: What is a land trust?

A: A land trust is a private, nonprofit organization with a mission to help landowners protect the natural character and valuable natural resources on their property. Even on private land, protecting these conservation values benefits both future generations of landowners and the community as a whole. To review a list of the 1700+ land trusts in the country, visit the Land Trust Alliance.

Q: Are Conservation Easements open to the public?

A: A conservation easement does not automatically grant public access to a property, and many of our protected lands have access limited to GLT-led tours and events. Please visit our Properties Protected page to learn more about each unique property, also remember to visit The Right Trail for a listing of all publicly-accessible trails and open spaces in Benton County!

Q: As a landowner, who should I contact to talk about my property?

A: We offer several tools to help landowners protect their land. We may be able to work with you to find a protection strategy for your property that meets your conservation goals and financial needs and that is consistent with our mission, capacity, and conservation priorities. Please feel free to fill out our Landowner Contact Form to start a discussion!

“My dad always said that ‘if you borrow something, you should return it in better shape than you found it’. That is how we feel about this land and this project. I look forward to seeing this property return to the way it was before my great-grandparents settled in this area,” – Landowner Judy Waggle

Have a question about our work that isn’t answered here? Contact Us – we would be delighted to talk with you further!