When the Virginia Outdoors Foundation agrees to hold an open-space easement, it makes a permanent commitment to enforce the easement’s restrictions in order to protect the eased property’s conservation values. Likewise, when a landowner donates an easement or purchases eased land, the landowner agrees to comply with the restrictions contained in the deed of easement.
VOF views easement enforcement as a partnership between VOF and landowners. This partnership is a crucial element of VOF’s stewardship program.
Communication, education, and open and cooperative relationships are VOF’s key approaches to preventing violations of easement restrictions. Through regular site visits, reviews of management plans, and discussions about easement terms, VOF and landowners work together to uphold protection of easement land.
In the event of a potential or actual easement violation, VOF has a legal obligation to enforce the easement and protect its conservation values. In some cases, where conservation value impairment is negligible or minimal, the most appropriate response may be landowner education and minor restoration of a site. In cases where conservation values are significantly and immediately threatened, legal action may be necessary. Mediation may also be an appropriate response.
If you would like to learn more about how VOF enforces easements, please contact Martha Little, director of stewardship, at email@example.com.