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Land Trusts

The Maryland Environmental Trusts Land Trust Assistance Program helps citizen groups in forming and operating local land trusts for the preservation of open space, farmland, woodland, and other natural and historic areas. Funding is from the Coastal Zone Management Program within the Department of Natural Resources. Land trusts are not-for-profit corporations designed to protect land from development, using conservation easements, gifts or purchases of land, limited development, conservation buyers, or promotion of existing local, state, or Federal easement programs. Our Land Trust Assistance Program offers land trusts with cooperative agreements with us, the following technical assistance, training, funding and cooperative land management services:

  • TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE in starting a land trust, including organizing a board of directors, drafting articles of incorporation and by-laws, filing for tax-exempt status, record keeping, establishing conservation strategies and criteria, and other formation tasks;

  • TRAINING for directors and staff in operating a land conservation organization and conducting land protection transactions; including Maryland-wide and Mid Atlantic regional conferences;

  • HOLDING CONSERVATION EASEMENTS JOINTLY with land trusts as Co-Grantee, allows property owners who donate easements to both trusts to be eligible for all benefits available to our donors; land trusts would also receive monitoring and enforcement assistance for these easements from us and DNR's Office of the Attorney General; the cooperative agreement necessary for co-holding with us is also a legal requirement for participation in Maryland's Rural Legacy Program;

  • TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE PUBLICATIONS, including our Land Trust Assistance Manual, standard easement processing forms, model easement documents, and an education video on conservation easements for landowners. In addition, land trusts are eligible to participate in the Maryland Land Trust Alliance, an informal association of national, state, regional and local land conservation organizations working in Maryland.

Land Trusts & Land Conservation Organizations