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Eastern Shore Land Conservancy

Eastern Shore Land Conservancy is committed to preserving and sustaining the vibrant communities of the Eastern Shore and the lands and waters that connect them.

Our Vision
Our vision in 2050 is an Eastern Shore where towns are vibrant and well defined; farms, forests, and fisheries are thriving and scenic; historic, natural, and riverine landscapes are maintained.

Where We Work
ESLC helps save land and promote sound land use planning from the C&D Canal in Cecil County all the way to the Nanticoke River in Dorchester County. We work in Cecil, Kent, Queen Anne's Caroline, Talbot and Dorchester Counties.


Because of the effort and dedication of our conservation easement owners, we are able to ensure that these protections remain in place forever. From the perspective of ESLC’s stewardship program, finalizing your conservation easement is only the beginning of our long-term commitment to care for preserved lands. We view our stewardship responsibilities as a cooperative effort between ESLC and our landowners. Described below are fundamental aspects of our stewardship program - how we envision working together with our landowners to uphold our shared commitment to the preservation of the land.

Annual Monitoring Visits
As part of ESLC’s adoption of the Land Trust Alliance (LTA) Standards and Practices, the foundation of our stewardship program is annual monitoring of every property under easement. The purpose of annual visits is to ensure that the terms of easements are being met and to provide an opportunity for regular communication between landowners and the Conservancy. Monitoring is completed by ESLC and volunteer easement monitors. In the case of co-held easements, site visits may be performed by ESLC and/or the Maryland Environmental Trust (MET). The monitoring process includes:

• Scheduling the visit
• Reviewing the easement terms with the property owner
• Walking boundaries or areas of the property that are not easily seen
• Photo documentation of the property condition, structures, or changes, including required buffers, management plans, and/or mitigation measures
• Discussion with landowner of any questions, concerns, or future plans
• Referrals and resources for additional professional expertise on land management
• Documentation of the visit and landowner follow-up, including a copy of monitoring report, short survey, and additional information or resources
• Additional site visits may be required to address any specific question, concern, or formal request

Resources and Opportunities for Enhanced Conservation
Easements may require the completion of a Forest Management or Soil and Water Conservation plan. ESLC can recommend the appropriate professionals that can complete these plans and offer additional suggestions for enhanced conservation practices If a piece of property contains areas of active agriculture, ESLC can provide resources for best management practices and highlight efforts to protect the Chesapeake Bay.
Successful long-term stewardship of preserved property depends on regular communication between ESLC and easement landowners. In addition to annual monitoring visits, ESLC communicates with landowners through our landowner newsletter, The Monitor, which highlights pertinent information such as new legislation, financial options, land management resources and partner organizations. Other important communication topics include:

• Property transfers and easement disclosure (notice to ESLC if/when you sell or transfer your property)
• Required notice or formal approval from ESLC’s Board of Directors for plans like subdivision, reserved residence location and construction, new accessory structures, etc. – even if not required, a quick phone call to ESLC provides peace of mind and can avoid misunderstanding
• Follow-up on problems with trespassing, dumping or potential easement violations
• Highlights of successful conservation easements.
• “Protected Forever” signs notify neighbors and passers-by of preserved land and acknowledge a landowners’ efforts towards land conservation.

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