Land Protection Criteria

The following criteria will be considered by the Richmond Land Trust Board of Trustees when evaluating a proposed land conservation project. Generally a property that meets multiple criteria will be considered to be a higher priority for protection by conservation easement, fee simple acquisition, or other means.

1. The property borders or affects the integrity of the Winooski or Huntington Rivers and their adjacent floodplains.

2. The property is located on a ridgeline or hilltop which either provides scenic views to the public or which is clearly visible from a public highway, waterbody, or other lands frequently used by the public.

3. The property includes critical wildlife habitat or habitat for rare, threatened, or endangered species.

4. The property contains all or a portion of an outstanding or locally significant ecosystem or natural feature. Natural features include, but are not limited to, waterfalls, gorges, cliffs, and other geologic features.

5. The property contains significant wetlands that serve multiple values or other lands necessary for the protection of water quality.

6. The property includes an active agricultural operation that is characterized by adequate infrastructure and prime, statewide, or agriculturally productive soils which are of sufficient quality and configuration to sustain the operation.

7. The property contains prime, statewide, or agriculturally productive soils that have the potential to contribute to an economic agricultural operation.

8. The property contains productive woodlands that are currently under professional forest management and/or in the stateís Current Use program.

9. The property contains locally important open space, is part of an established trail system, or has good potential for the development of recreational trails.

10. The property is adjacent to public or private land that is already under some form of permanent protection and helps to enhance the values of the protected parcel.

11. The property has been identified as a priority for protection by the town, open space plan, or other public document.

12. The property is within an aquifer protection area that provides public drinking water supplies. Water supply wells and systems are not a priority for protection.

13. The property contains historic sites or structures which are on or eligible for the state or national register of historic places or have local historical significance.

14. The donor or seller has made a commitment to establishing a stewardship endowment fund that would pay for the foreseeable costs of monitoring the property.

15. The property is accessible from a public road and adequate vehicle parking is available to meet the foreseeable demands for public use.

16. Acquisition or protection of the property is consistent with the goals of the neighborhood.

Notwithstanding the propertyís ranking with respect to the criteria above, the Richmond Land Trust will not acquire a property, by donation or by purchase, if the acquisition of the property would financially overburden RLT, jeopardize its non-profit status, tarnish the organizationís image or reputation, or impose unsustainable stewardship obligations. In addition, the following issues shall be fully investigated and resolved to the satisfaction of the RLT Board of Trustees:

1. Title to the property is free of encumbrances that would defeat the conservation goals of the transaction or subject RLT to undue legal risk.

2. There are no other legal issues surrounding the transaction that would subject RLT to undue financial costs or risks.

3. For purchases, RLT is not paying an amount significantly higher than the Fair Market Value of the property.

4. The property does not contain any hazardous waste sites, significant trash dumps, fire hazards, polluted water courses or bodies that would present legal risk or burden to RLT or defeat the conservation purposes of protecting the property.

      For More Information

For a confidential discussion of the possibilities for protecting your land, please contact any member of our Board of Trustees, or our chair, Wright Preston.