National Conservation Easement Database

Overview

The National Conservation Easement Database (NCED) is a collaborative venture to compile easement records (both spatial and tabular) from land trusts and public agencies throughout the United States in a single, up-to-date, sustainable, GIS compatible, online source. The goal of the NCED is to provide a comprehensive picture of the privately owned conservation easement lands, recognizing their contribution to America's natural heritage, a vibrant economy, and healthy communities. Conservation easements are legal agreements voluntarily entered into between landowners and conservation entities (agencies or land trusts) for the express purpose of protecting certain societal values such as open space or vital wildlife habitats. In some cases landowners transfer "development rights" for direct payment or for federal and state tax benefits.

Data Layer Description

Source

The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities provided initial funding and leadership for the NCED and brought the following partners together to compile the NCED:

National Conservation Easement Database Partner Organizations

The Trust for Public Land

Ducks Unlimited

Defenders of Wildlife

NatureServe

Conservation Biology Institute

What this data layer represents

NCED shows a comprehensive picture of privately owned conservation easement lands in the U.S. The NCED will allow better strategic planning for conservation and development by merging data on land protection with biodiversity and resources, improving ecological and economic plans and investments. State and regional planners and managers will appreciate this dataset as it provides critical contextual information for their work. Institutions responsible for national and international reporting will find this database full of reliable, accurate information for their purposes. The scientific and conservation community will similarly benefit from having this standardized base map to carry out their research and planning objectives.

Location

United States

Description

The goals for the first phase of the NCED project were to develop a database schema (standard attribute list, domains and spatial reference) for the easement database; develop methods and standards for data collection and aggregation; collect as many of the existing conservation currently in GIS format as possible; aggregate and develop metadata to characterize the conservation easements; and provide a web portal where users can digitize new easements, query and view the NCED data, produce reports, and download data. At the end of phase I (July 31, 2011), the NCED contained 80,756 easements, totaling 17,818,164 acres. The NCED portal will be released to the public in early August 2011. In the second phase of NCED, starting in August 2011, the NCED project team will begin digitizing the non-digital easements that were identified in Phase I, perform additional data improvements, continue with data collection efforts, and market the NCED database to land planners and conservation organizations. Data will be updated on an ongoing basis as funding supports.

How to get the data layer

http://nced.conservationregistry.org/easements/download_data

How you might make use of this data layer

This effort helps agencies, land trusts, and other organizations plan more strategically, identify opportunities for collaboration, advance public accountability, and raise the profile of what’s happening on-the-ground in the name of conservation.

 

Acknowledgements

The NCED project partners would like to thank the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities for their leadership and forethought for putting the NCED team together and for the initial funding that allowed the NCED to be formed.

Additional support for the NCED project was provided by the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation and the Knobloch Family Foundation. We would also like to thank Greg Schildwachter for his leadership skills in guiding the project partners through this two-year journey.

While the NCED partners were responsible for aggregating conservation easements from across the country, the NCED database would not have been successful without the cooperation of many federal, state, and local agencies, regional and state data repositories, and individual land trusts. We would like to thank the many state and federal agencies and local land trusts that took part in this endeavor. In addition, we would like to provide specific acknowledgement of the following organizations for their provision of state-wide, regional or national data:

  • COMap - Colorado State University
  • Clemson University
  • David Holman - Greater Chicago area protected lands
  • Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission
  • Florida Natural Areas Inventory
  • GreenInfo - California Protected Areas Database
  • Kansas Natural Heritage Inventory
  • Kentucky Natural Heritage Program
  • Maine State Planning Office
  • Maryland Environmental Trust
  • Montana Natural Heritage Programs, University of Montana in partnership with the Montana State Library
  • Nebraska Natural Heritage Program, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Utah Conservation Data Center, State of Utah Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife Resources
  • Virginia Natural Heritage Program, Department of Conservation and Recreation
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • U.S. Forest Service

How to get more information

http://nced.conservationregistry.org/

Access and use constraints

Access constraints: None.

Use constraints:
Please note that, by downloading or viewing this data, no right has been created to access lands with conservation easements. Most conservation easements are not open to the public. Entering an area that is not open to the public subjects an individual to possible sanctions for trespass, as determined by the state in which the easement is located.

The National Conservation Easement Database (NCED) layer was created using a variety of sources and may contain both location and attribute errors. The NCED database was developed for conservation planning purposes and should not be used for legal purposes. NCED makes no representation or warranty of any kind regarding this material, data and information, including, but not limited to, the accuracy of the material, data and information or its suitability for any purpose. All use of the material, data and information is at the user's sole risk. By using any of this material, data and information, the user agrees that NCED is not responsible for their use of the material, data and information or the results thereof.

The NCED is a work in progress. The NCED partners strive to make this database as complete and accurate as possible. Please contact the NCED team at http://www.conservationeasement.us/contact to make corrections or additions to the database.

Credits

The NCED project partners would like to thank the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities for their leadership and forethought for putting the NCED team together and for the initial funding that allowed the NCED to be formed. Additional support for the NCED project was provided by the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation; the Knobloch Family Foundation; the Graham Foundation and the USDA Forest Service, State and Private Forestry. We would also like to thank Greg Schildwachter for his leadership skills in guiding the project partners through the initial two-year journey. While the NCED partners were responsible for aggregating conservation easements from across the country, the NCED database would not have been successful without the cooperation of many federal, state, and local agencies, regional and state data repositories, and individual land trusts. We would like to thank the many state and federal agencies and local land trusts that took part in this endeavor. In addition, we would like to provide specific acknowledgement of the following organizations for their provision of state-wide, regional or national data: COMap - Colorado State University; Clemson University, David Holman - Greater Chicago area protected lands; Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission; Florida Natural Areas Inventory; GreenInfo - California Protected Areas Database; Kansas Natural Heritage Inventory; Kentucky Natural Heritage Program; Maine State Planning Office; Maryland Environmental Trust; Montana Natural Heritage Programs, University of Montana in partnership with the Montana State Library; Nebraska Natural Heritage Program, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission; The Nature Conservancy; Utah Conservation Data Center, State of Utah Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife Resources; Virginia Natural Heritage Program, Department of Conservation and Recreation; Natural Resources Conservation Service; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; U.S. Forest Service.

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