Dear Easement Landowner:

This letter brings heartfelt greetings from the Board and Staff of Estes Valley Land Trust.  We hope that your family is safe, and that your home and property have experienced minimal damage from the heavy rains and flooding. In the past several weeks, some of our conservation easement landowners have had questions regarding allowed restoration activities on their easement properties.  We think it might be helpful for many of you to share in the guidance that we have provided in response to those questions.

If your land or building exteriors suffered any significant damage during this event, please let us know.  We may want to document the changes to the property, either now or on our next monitoring visit.  The terms of your conservation easement typically do not require that you restore damage resulting from a natural event, but we encourage you to take such actions as are appropriate to preserve or enhance the conservation values of your treasured property.

If you, your neighbors or third parties, such as governmental entities or utility companies, need to do repairs, remodels or rebuilding of any structures, roads, or utility lines on your property, your easement normally would require that you provide the Land Trust with advance notice with drawings and a description of the work to be done.  We understand that this is not practicable under these exceptional circumstances, so the Land Trust is waiving the advance notice requirement for work necessitated by damage resulting from the storm.  Please, however, let us know what is done and remember that, when this work is completed, it is your responsibility to restore the natural landscape altered by this activity through rehabilitation and re-vegetation.  Please DO give notice as soon as possible if any structures, roads or utility lines are to be relocated on the property.

We also want to remind you that our conservation easements typically prohibit you from excavating topsoil, rock, gravel or sand and prohibit you from permitting others from doing so.  Our conservation easements also typically prohibit any alteration of streams, lakes or other bodies of water.  We do not interpret these prohibitions as applying to removal of debris or materials that may have washed onto your property or restoring bodies of water to their prior condition.  However, these provisions DO prohibit you and others from excavating material from an otherwise undisturbed portion of your property for use in rebuilding roads or stream banks.

If you have any questions regarding the terms of your conservation easement, please contact us.  We also want to offer you whatever assistance we can provide to you.  We have a wonderful group of dedicated volunteers and we also may be able to assist you in accessing sources of funding for repair and restoration work.  Together, we can all get through these difficult times.

Wishing you all the best,

Mary Banken, Executive Director