Conservation easements are one of the many tools used by Albemarle County to satisfy the goal of preserving the rural area. The Land Trust of Virginia defines a conservation easement as "a voluntary agreement that allows a landowner to permanently limit the type and amount of development on their property while retaining private ownership.".
One of the goals of Albemarle County's strategic plan is to place an additional 30,000 acres under conservation easement by June 30, 2010. The county's Acquisition of Conservation Easements program (ACE) is the one tool through which the county pays to put parcels of land under permanent protection from development, but budget cuts have reduced its spending power. As of January 2011, the 83,600 acres of the county, or 17.5%, is under easement.
The following non-government organizations assist landowners in Albemarle County with putting property under easement.
- Virginia Outdoors Foundation
- The Nature Conservancy
- Piedmont Environmental Council
- Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Aside from the ACE program, agencies also assist landowners in Albemarle County with putting property under easement.
- Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District
- Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation
- Virginia Department of Historic Resources
- United States Department of Agriculture Conservation Reserve
- County of Albemarle Public Recreational Facilities Authority
- Acquisition of Conservation Easement (ACE) Program website
- Land Trust of Virginia
- PEC's Introduction to Conservation Easements
|An article on Wikipedia has information about Conservation easements in areas beyond Albemarle County's borders.|