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If you are reading this, you are most likely a landowner in Texas who is concerned about the future of your land. Perhaps you have a farm or ranch that has been in your family for generations, or maybe you recently purchased your ideal second home in an idyllic rural area. Whatever your situation, many Texas landowners face the same dilemma: how do you ensure that the land you love looks the way that it does forever? How can you pass along your legacy to the next generation with the assurance that they too will care for, protect, and revel in the beauty of your favorite place?The Texas Land Conservancy (TLC) is a non-governmental, 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of land in Texas. In essence, we are in the business of protecting natural areas from the negative effects of land fragmentation and poorly-planned development. Land conserved by TLC will be protected forever from becoming a subdivision, strip mall, or parking lot.
We know that economics play a huge role in your decisions about your land, and that selling land to a developer is extraordinarily lucrative. Our goal is to help you find a realistic alternative to selling your land to a developer that will allow ownership to remain in your hands, put the responsibility of conserving the land into ours, and provide an economic benefit to you. Many of the properties we protect with are working farms or ranches, while others contain important habitat for wildlife and native plant communities. All of these lands are beautiful examples of Texas’ natural heritage. TLC’s work ensures that economic viability and growth is balanced with what makes us Texan: our rural heritage, our open-spaces, our farms and ranches, our scenic vistas, and our natural resources.
TLC works with landowners like you who have a passion for their land and who want to find a way to ensure that its integrity and natural condition is preserved forever. Using a tool called a conservation easement, we can help you protect your land for the benefit of your future generations. A conservation easement is a legal agreement between you, the property owner, and a qualified conservation organization (often a “land trust”) or public agency, such as TLC. When entering into this kind of legal agreement, the owner voluntarily agrees to restrict the type and amount of development that may take place on his/her property. In essence, you are donating the development rights to your land, while retaining ownership. A conservation easement is a way to protect property that has a conservation value while keeping the property in its natural and undeveloped state and allowing the owner to maintain ownership of the property. The owner also keeps the right to use the property for economic gain or recreation and the right to sell or deed the property to another. A donation of a conservation easement may also reduce estate, income, and property taxes. Ready to learn more? We invite you to read more about the conservation easement process, tax incentives for easement donors, a glossary of common terms, and an index of helpful documents.