EIOLT STEWARDSHIP PROGRAM
FOREVER IS A LONG TIME!
Conserving land by acquiring real estate or by completing a new Conservation Easement with a landowner is only the beginning of Edisto Island Open Land Trust's work. Beyond the initial protection of conserved land, EIOLT is committed to ensuring the permanent protection of all lands entrusted in our care. To this end, we have a strong stewardship program designed to protect the conservation values of our lands for the benefit of future generations. Our stewardship program is a year-round program implemented by staff and volunteers to monitor, confirm, document and ensure that the protections described in the conservation easements we hold are upheld forever.
The Stewardship Program ensures the conservation values of protected properties are preserved and that conserved properties stay protected through:
- Strong relationships and communication with landowners
- Attentive monitoring of protected properties
- Meticulous documentation of changes to properties using photographs and Geographic Information Systems
- Tracking changes in ownership
- Easement education to new landowners
- Review and approval of requests for permitted activities
- Ongoing maintenance of property records
- Serving as a resource for landowners regarding property management issues
- Correcting violations through voluntary compliance or, if necessary, legal proceedings
We have established a Stewardship Fund to meet the costs of our stewardship obligations, obligations which last forever,. Our goal is to build this fund to a sufficient size that over time we will be able to generate investment income to cover annual stewardship and monitoring expenses. We also recognize that future generations may not hold the same conservation values as our current landowner partners. We therefore have another obligation to build our legal defense capabilities to defend conservation values through litigation if voluntary means fail.
Landowners have been the primary source of the donations used to build the fund, but it is also supplemented by gifts from members including memorial gifts, gifts designated for stewardship and planned or estate gifts. Please consider making a part of your donation to this critical fund.
Although EIOLT is a steward of the easement, the landowner continues to be the steward of the land, responsible for the day-to-day management of the property. We're always happy to advise landowners on aspects of property management or refer them to experts in a specific area. Ultimately, the landowner is responsible for the decisions regarding the property and its use within the scope of the easement.