By Tiffany Edwards,
Conservation Project Manager

In my last blog, you learned about conservation easements. Do you remember? A conservation easement is “a legal agreement between a land trust and a willing landowner that protects a property’s conservation values…forever!

POST currently holds 32 conservation easements on 13,000 acres. It’s my job to make sure that these natural resources protected by the terms of these easements are being upheld. But how do we do that? Today, I am going to tell you!

Redgate Ranch Frank Crossman Nov 2015_POST
POST volunteers visit one of their conservation easement monitoring sites at Redgate Ranch. Photo by Frank Crossman

For several years, POST has worked with a well-established volunteer monitoring program that allows us to inspect the properties on an annual basis and work with landowners to ensure that the conservation values of the property are being protected in perpetuity.

POST is responsible for visiting these properties annually to ensure that the conservation values of each property are being upheld.

Why is annual conservation easement monitoring so important?

Annual conservation easement monitoring allows POST to:

  • observe the condition of the conservation easement property to determine whether it is in compliance with easement terms
  • maintain a working relationship with the landowner, and
  • create a record of easement stewardship and property condition over time.
Rancho Canada del Oro 2014
Photography plays a key role in helping us monitor changes on the land from year to year.

Properties are monitored once a year, and our monitoring season lasts from September to December. Conservation easements may be monitored by staff or volunteers, depending on the site conditions and accessibility, and all teams have a team leader, a photographer, and a note-taker.  

Each year they visit established photo points to document any changes, ranging from documenting a thriving wildlife corridor or maintenance issues that need to be addressed. The teams then assemble a report which is sent to the landowner and kept on file at POST. Our volunteer monitoring positions are highly coveted, and we have many volunteers who have been monitoring their assigned properties for nearly a decade!  

This is a vital resource of knowledge for POST and provides our supporters a chance to see the work we do for themselves. Conservation easement volunteers make a 2-year commitment and receive training on report writing, using a global positioning system (GPS) and compass, safety in the field, and interacting with landowners and the public.  

Our conservation easement monitoring program is a wonderful opportunity for our supporters to see the land POST protects for themselves while learning about the everyday workings of our agricultural and open space properties.

In my next blog, I’ll tell you about affirmative agricultural easements, a new conservation tool we’re using to protect farmland on the Peninsula. Stay tuned!

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About Post

Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) protects and cares for open space, farms and parkland in and around Silicon Valley. Since its founding in 1977, POST has been responsible for saving more than 75,000 acres as permanently protected land in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties.

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