Conservation Easement Assistance Program

Loudoun County’s Conservation Easement Assistance Program assists landowners with the upfront costs of placing land under conservation easement. Conservation easements are voluntary, deed-restricting property amendments that limit the amount of development that can be placed on a parcel of private land. The land use restriction often results in tax savings for the landowner. Landowners can use easements to protect their farmland, preserve cultural and historic sites, sustain working farms and landscapes and maintain the natural beauty of an area.

To enter into a conservation easement, a landowner works with a land trust to develop a legal agreement that limits the uses of the land, while still allowing landowners to continue to own and use their land for approved purposes. They can also sell it to a third party or pass it on to heirs. The limits of the conservation easement ‘run with the land,’ meaning that even if the land is inherited or sold, the restrictions stay in place. The program provides up to $25,000, or half of the upfront costs of placing land under conservation easement, to land trusts representing qualifying landowners in Loudoun County. The funds will be applied to the landowner’s easement process.

Landowners must be working with a qualifying land trust to be eligible. Landowners interested in learning more about placing their land under a conservation easement should contact a land trust. If the land trust agrees, the land trust will apply on behalf of the landowner.

Contact one of these land trusts for more information: 

Qualifying Services

Program funding can cover:

  • Attorney’s fees
  • Land appraisal and survey fees
  • Processing and document fees
  • Stewardship costs

Application Periods

  • The online application process is available on a rolling basis throughout the year. A land trust can apply for the program on behalf of a landowner at any time.
  • A total of $150,000 in funding will be available annually and will be distributed to applicants who meet the funding criteria.
  • Funds will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • The application form and accompanying documentation will be accepted from land trusts any time throughout the year.

Questions?

Email for more information or call 703-771-5778.

Download the Conservation Easement Assistance Program flyer (PDF).

  1. Eligibility Requirements
  2. How to Apply
  3. Award Process

Landowner Requirements

Each landowner listed on the deed must:

  • have a gross household income that does not exceed $155,938.
  • have property that meets the land requirements below.
  • be working with an organization that meets the land trust requirements (see below) and will submit the application on behalf of the landowner.

If a landowner is part of a family LLC, all members’ income must be verified. A family limited liability company (LLC) is formed by family members to conduct business in states that allow LLCs. Members must be related by blood, adoption or marriage. The family LLC is a popular way to protect the assets of a family business against claims by creditors, divide income among generations and assist in estate planning. It is a type of closed corporation.

If a landowner is part of a family trust, all beneficiaries’ income must be verified. A family trust is a trust created to benefit persons who are related to one another by blood, affinity or law. It can be established by a family member for the benefit of the members of the family group. Family trusts acts as an instrument to pass on the assets to future generations. The person who manages the trust is the “trustee.” This person acts on behalf of the trust beneficiaries, who inherit the asset. 

Note: The Conservation Easement Assistance Program is limited to “natural” persons, trusts whose beneficiaries are all “natural” persons, and limited liability companies (LLCs) whose members are all “natural” persons. Family trusts that have any beneficiaries, or LLCs that have any members that are trusts, LLCs or other entities do not qualify for the program. If title to the property is held in trust, eligibility shall be based on the combined Virginia individual income of the trust beneficiaries. If title to the property is held by an LLC, eligibility shall be based on the Virginia individual income of all LLC members. The property owner may be required to provide additional information requested by the County to confirm the identity of the actual trust beneficiaries and LLC members, as applicable and the Virginia individual income of such persons. The property owner shall be responsible for demonstrating compliance with the eligibility requirements.

Land Requirements

The property must:

The property must not:

Land Trust Requirements

Landowners must be working with a qualifying land trust to be eligible.

The land trust:

  • must be the conservation easement “Holder” as defined by Virginia Code § 10.1-1009 et seq. 
  • must apply to the Conservation Easement Assistance Program on behalf of the landowners (individual landowners cannot submit applications).
  • may be located anywhere (the land must be located in Loudoun County).