When land is suggested for permanent preservation, the question that naturally comes up is: how suitable is it for a conservation easement? To evaluate the suitability of all properties suggested to us, the Conservancy uses a checklist of standards. In general, the greater the number of standards met by the property, the greater its conservation value and the greater its eligibility for permanent preservation.
These are the standards:
- Open space creating or contributing to scenic qualities enjoyed by the public.
- Adjacency or proximity to a recognized scenic byway, landscape, river, or stream.
- An integral element in the protection of a significant viewshed.
- A natural area possessing characteristics such as strong scientific and/or educational value, for example, containing a rich variety of animal and plant life, providing a significant habitat for wildlife, supporting old-growth forest, or providing a home for forest interior-dwelling birds; home to endangered and/or threatened species.
- Capacity to protect water quality, for example, containing a stream valley and/or steep slopes.
- Location within the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area.
Agricultural and Rural Values
- Farmland in productive use.
- Significant presence of prime productive soils.
- Integral part of a rural setting typical of the traditional rural character of the region.
- Adjacency or proximity to an agricultural preservation district or itself within an agricultural preservation district, either wholly or partly.
- A link to or an integral element in a greenway.
- Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- Listed as significant in state and/or local historic inventories.
- Strong potential for historic designation.
- Actual or potential archeological significance.
Relationship to Other Sites
- Adjacency or proximity to land already under protection for its natural assets through conservation easements or other measures.
- Adjacency or proximity to property already under protection for its historic value.
- Adjacency or proximity to agricultural land already under protection.
- Adjacency or proximity to public lands.
Threat of Development
- A strong likelihood of permanent alteration or significant damage or actual destruction through development.
- Location within one of the following threatened watersheds: Mattawoman Creek; Nanjemoy Creek; Port Tobacco; Zekiah-Wicomico.
- Location along the Potomac River shoreline.