Why and How to Conserve Your Land

Landowners in the Sebago Lake watershed can help protect water, wildlife, and way of life in the region by conserving their land.

These forested areas and wetlands:

  • Naturally filter water to keep our rivers, streams, and lakes clean
  • Provide habitat for wildlife, including vital aquatic and terrestrial organism passageways
  • Provide trails and open spaces for the public to enjoy
  • Increase climate resiliency through carbon sequestration, biodiversity, and erosion control
  • Maintain the quality of life and character of our communities
  • Support forest product and natural resources jobs

How It Works

There are two ways to conserve your land for future generations: land transfers and conservation easements.

All land proposed for conservation is reviewed to determine if the land has suitable conservation and community values. In many cases, the landowner may be asked to make a cash donation to cover the land trust costs of perpetual stewardship of the property or easement.

Land Transfers

Land transfers result in the land trust holding full title to a property. A donation of land is usually the simplest method to conserve its resources and gives the land trust the flexibility to manage the land according to best management practices.

In nearly all cases, the land will be managed for public access. If you wish to conserve the land, but don’t want to continue ownership, then transferring your land along with the management responsibilities may be the best option.

Conservation Easements

A conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust that permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values. Essentially, an easement permanently removes the land’s development potential.

Landowners retain many of their rights, including the right to own and manage the land, sell it, and pass it on to their heirs, and the right to limit or allow public access. Each easement is tailored to protect the land’s natural and cultural values, meet the landowners’ financial and personal needs, and meet the conservation goals of Sebago Clean Waters.

We’re Here to Help You

To discuss conservation options for your land, contact Sebago Clean Waters Conservation Coordinator Ruthie Clements.

Land Protection Grants
from Sebago Clean Waters for
Conservation Organizations and Towns

Sebago Clean Waters has funds available from a variety of sources, including the Natural Resource Conservation Service Regional Conservation Partnership Program, for conservation organizations and municipalities undertaking land protection projects in the Sebago Lake watershed. You can find the process and criteria for applying for a land protection grant here. For further info and to obtain a proposal form, please contact Sebago Clean Waters Partnership Director Karen Young.

Other Ways You Can Help Conserve the Forests

  • Attend one of the many events sponsored by, and become a member of, the land trusts actively working to conserve Sebago-area forests. Sign up at loonecholandtrust.org, wfltmaine.org, and mahoosuc.org
  • Follow @sebagocleanwaters on Instagram and Facebook to learn about the watershed and stay informed about news, events, and our progress.
  • Donate to Sebago Clean Waters to help landowners permanently protect their property.
  • Tell your friends about the importance of forests for clean water.

Working with Towns

Communities in the Sebago Lake watershed rely on the surrounding forests for clean drinking water, fish and wildlife habitat, recreation, tourism, and wood products. Working in tandem with landowners and communities, we are better able to safeguard our water, wildlife, and way of life.

Sebago Lake watershed towns can help support this work by:

  • Planning for and conserving open space.
  • Supporting conservation-minded tax programs.
  • Enhancing shoreland zone protections.
  • Managing stormwater runoff.
  • Educating landowners about the importance of forests and lake-friendly landscaping.

Sebago Clean Waters can help advance municipal conservation projects by:

  • Providing expertise and education on protecting forests and shorelands.
  • Preparing GIS-based conservation planning maps focusing on water quality protection.
  • Helping to obtain funding.

To discuss ways we can work together to ensure Sebago Lake’s purity and a healthy future for your community, contact Sebago Clean Waters Partnership Director Karen Young.