MODULE #2       Stewardship Monitoring          Training Module                           April 2010This project is made p...
Stewardship Monitoring Training ModuleLearning Outcomes:   1. Understand the critical importance of monitoring conservatio...
GLOSSARYAffirmative obligations - A clause in the restrictions section of the conservationeasement that requires the lando...
WHY MONITOR?The purpose of monitoring conservation properties is primarily to determine anychanges or threats that may imp...
WHEN & HOW OFTEN SHOULD MONITORING BE CONDUCTED?MONITORING CONSERVATION EASEMENTSConservation easements should be monitore...
the conservation easement which in turn influences the frequency of      monitoring.Any combination of monitoring techniqu...
MONITORING FEE SIMPLE PROPERTIESThe frequency of monitoring is less critical for fee simple properties than forconservatio...
WHO SHOULD MONITOR?A monitor’s primary role is to monitor the status of the land and record any changes.In particular, a m...
Monitoring personnel are often volunteers, seasonal or permanent staff of the landtrust or members of partner organization...
MONITORING FEE SIMPLE PROPERTIESThe purpose of monitoring fee simple properties is to evaluate managementactivities, ident...
TRAINING MONITORSMany land trusts depend on volunteers or students to monitor conservationproperties. A land trust should ...
•  How to document violations of CEs or encroachments on fee simple      properties   • Protocols around communications as...
WHAT ARE THE CRITICAL COMPONENTS OF A MONITORING                     PROGRAM?Monitoring programs will differ substantially...
protocols. For example, the land trust may use the monitoring visit as an      opportunity for technical transfer or may u...
6. Assess threats to the conservation values of the property;   7. Document any safety hazards (e.g., dogs, bulls, wildlif...
2. Monitoring must address the liabilities associated with private ownership      and any public use of the property such ...
6. Assess progress and/or impacts of management activities;   7. Assess threats to the conservation values of the property...
WHAT ARE THE CRITICAL COMPONENTS OF A MONITORING                      REPORT?Monitoring reports will differ substantially ...
"none" or "no change observed").Monitoring Report – Desirable ContentsA desirable monitoring report might also include the...
WHERE SHOULD MONITORING INFORMATION BE STORED?Land trusts should have a designated location and an established filing syst...
ADDITIONAL RESOURCESA Stewardship, Monitoring & Costing Guide for Natural Heritage ConservationAgreements: A manual develo...
APPENDIX A: MONITORING REPORT TEMPLATES FOR         CONSERVATION EASEMENT AGREEMENTSAttachment 1: Ducks Unlimited Canada’s...
CE MONITORING FORMDate of Inspection:                                       Inspector’s name (DUC staff): ________________...
7.          If property has been altered due to human changes, describe location, etc.8.          If property has been alt...
CE MONITORING FORM (involving a breach)Date of Inspection:                                   Inspector’s name (DUC staff):...
7.     If property has been altered due to human changes, describe location, etc.      8.     If property has been altered...
V.         Details of breach    1. List specific restriction that has been breached: _______________________________  2. L...
Foothills Land Trust                        Conservation Easement Monitoring ReportProperty Name:Date:Monitored by:Legal L...
RESTRICTIONS4.1 Destruction of VegetationNo cutting, removal, ordestruction of vegetation.4.2 Drainage and Diversion ofWat...
APPENDIX B: MONITORING REPORT TEMPLATES FOR FEE SIMPLE                       PROPERTIESAttachment 1: Alberta Fish & Game A...
Conservation Site Inspection FormReview files, management plan and the previous year’s inspection form before surveying si...
Infrastructure                                                                                                            ...
Garbage Disposal /Sanitary Facilities(e.g. outhouse, garbagecans, cleaning stands)Other                                   ...
New Disturbances, Hazards, Illegal Activities              (e.g. agriculture, oil & gas, logging, recreation, transportati...
Habitat Enhancements                       (e.g. prescribed burn, mechanical manipulation, revegetation/seeding, drainage ...
Notable Species Accounts(e.g. managed species , rare observations, species provincially listed as “endangered”, “threatene...
List of classified weeds in Alberta7Restricted weeds in Alberta are:                               Nuisance weeds in Alber...
Subdivided Section of Farmland8                                                                        Metric: m, m2, km, ...
Percent Vegetation Cover Guide99    Natural Resources Canada. 1996. Field Guide to Ecosites of Northern Alberta. UBC Press.
Alberta land trust 2009 03 2 of 6-stewardship monitoring training
Alberta land trust 2009 03 2 of 6-stewardship monitoring training
Alberta land trust 2009 03 2 of 6-stewardship monitoring training
Alberta land trust 2009 03 2 of 6-stewardship monitoring training
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Alberta land trust 2009 03 2 of 6-stewardship monitoring training

  1. 1. MODULE #2 Stewardship Monitoring Training Module April 2010This project is made possible through a grant from the Alberta Real Estate FoundationPrepared by: Sue Michalsky, Paskwa Consultants Ltd., Tel: 306-295-3696 Email:suemichalsky@sasktel.net
  2. 2. Stewardship Monitoring Training ModuleLearning Outcomes: 1. Understand the critical importance of monitoring conservation properties 2. Understand the differences between monitoring requirements for conservation easements and fee simple properties 3. Know the steps involved before, during and after a monitoring visit 4. Be able to determine the components and data/information required in a monitoring form or report 5. Understand when and how often monitoring should be conducted 6. Determine who should monitor conservation properties 7. Determine where and how to store the monitoring file 1
  3. 3. GLOSSARYAffirmative obligations - A clause in the restrictions section of the conservationeasement that requires the landowner or the land trust to conduct management in acertain manner or to meet a certain goal.Baseline Documentation Report - The legal record of the site and condition of theresource; included in the easement or deed package.Conservation Easement - A legal agreement between a landowner and a qualifiedconservation organization or government agency that limits a propertys uses inorder to protect the propertys conservation values. It is a voluntary, writtenagreement that is registered on title to the land in Alberta in accordance with theAlberta Land Titles Act. It binds current and future owners of the land.Due diligence - the conduct that a land trust can reasonably be expected to exerciseto protect the public interest (i.e., the conservation value) of a property.Fee Simple Interest - Ownership of all rights, title, and interest in a property.Management plan - A fully researched, structured, and formally approved strategyincluding a set of actions for the long-term maintenance or enhancement of 2conservation values on a property.Monitoring - The act of observing and keeping a record of the activities andconservation values associated with a conservation property.Property Management Principles - Sets of guidelines written into the conservationeasement agreement that direct property management on a conservation easementproperty (also called affirmative obligations).Restrictions - Terms or conditions placed in the conservation easement agreementthat restrict certain uses of the property by current and future owners.Stewardship endowment - A dedicated, permanent source of funds for a land trust tocover the costs of conservation easement monitoring and land management inperpetuity.Violations - Breaking, breaching or contravening the restrictions and affirmativeobligations outlined in a conservation easement agreement to the detriment of theconservation values of a property.
  4. 4. WHY MONITOR?The purpose of monitoring conservation properties is primarily to determine anychanges or threats that may impact conservation values. The condition of theproperty is compared against that documented in the baseline documentationreport (BDR) and against monitoring results from previous years. This purpose issimilar for conservation easement (CE) properties and for fee simple conservationproperties. However, the goals for monitoring differ between conservationeasements and fee simple properties and therefore, the content of the monitoringreports should also differ.Monitoring conservation easement properties is a responsibility land trusts committo as their part of ensuring conservation values are protected. Even with the best ofintentions, the capability of landowners to deliver on promises may be limited andtheir available time varies considerably. Monitoring a conservation easementproperty is the only way a land trust can ensure that the objectives of theconservation easement agreement are being met. Monitoring compliance is an 3essential practice to demonstrate due diligence if the conservation easement needsdefending in a court of law. Monitoring also provides an opportunity to develop asuccessful partnership between the conservation easement holder (the land trust)and the conservation easement grantor (the landowner).Land trusts should ensure that they have general liability insurance for the landsthey own. Monitoring of fee simple properties can detect if there are or will be anyliability issues on the property (e.g., encroachment, unauthorized use, safetyhazards etc.) and will demonstrate due diligence in the event something happens.Monitoring fee simple properties also serves to verify and refine managementactions. Monitoring allows the land trust to take periodic snapshots of the landwhich can be measured against the conservation objectives for the property. Itallows evaluation of the accuracy of predicted human-induced effects and allows forthe according adjustment of management activities. Some land trusts call thiseffectiveness monitoring because it serves to measure the effectiveness ofmanagement and mitigation actions.
  5. 5. WHEN & HOW OFTEN SHOULD MONITORING BE CONDUCTED?MONITORING CONSERVATION EASEMENTSConservation easements should be monitored regularly. Typically, monitoring ofconservation easements is conducted annually. There is, however, no legalrequirement in Alberta’s conservation easement legislation that dictates how oftenmonitoring occurs. Therefore, many variations of monitoring efforts are possible.Some land trusts with relatively simple easement restrictions may choose tomonitor every second year and contact the landowner by phone in the years inbetween. Other land trusts, with more complex easement restrictions and propertymanagement principles may choose to monitor on the ground one year and by aerialsurvey the next. Or they may choose to conduct a detailed check of the property oneyear and a more cursory check for one or more years before completing anotherdetailed check. The frequency of monitoring can be determined from the followingcriteria: 1. Threats from adjacent lands such as invasive plant species or off-highway vehicle use influences the frequency of monitoring; 4 2. New owners should be monitored with greater frequency than landowners with a long record of non-violation. In addition, the initial monitoring visit to a new owner may be more intensive in order to educate the landowner; 3. More frequent monitoring may be required when activities occur on or adjacent to the property which have potential to impact conservation values. For example in Alberta, conservation easements are subservient to the Surface Rights Act. Therefore, petroleum development activities are relatively common on conservation easement properties and have the potential to impact conservation values; 4. Different motivators may influence the level of compliance by the landowner which in turn influences the frequency and intensity of monitoring. Some of the motivators may include purchased versus donated conservation easements (landowners of donated CE properties may feel they were not adequately compensated for the values they have given up; on the other hand the motivation for selling a CE may be financial and the landowner may have a low interest in conservation), the value of the conservation easement (high value CEs provide greater temptation for violations) and the appreciation of the land value resulting from surrounding land uses; 5. The character of the landowner may influence how likely they are to violate
  6. 6. the conservation easement which in turn influences the frequency of monitoring.Any combination of monitoring techniques is acceptable as long as regularmonitoring and contact with the landowner is conducted. Regular monitoring ofconservation easements is important for a number of reasons including: • Early detection of violations of the terms of the conservation easement agreement minimizes damage to conservation values, and increases the possibility of a resolution as opposed to legal action; • Violations of the terms of the conservation easement agreement must be identified in a reasonable time after they occur in order to demonstrate due diligence on the part of the land trust; • Regular monitoring establishes a record of due diligence which is critical in the case of court action; • Regular monitoring helps instill public trust and confidence in the land trust and in conservation easements overall; • Regular monitoring provides an opportunity to develop and maintain a positive relationship between the land trust and the landowner. It reminds the landowner of the easement, provides an opportunity for education of both parties, and provides an opportunity for the landowner to discuss issues 5 with the land trust; • Regular contact with the landowner will make it easier to determine changes in ownership of properties; • Regular monitoring on the ground, as well as communication with the landowner, enables the land trust to determine if the easement is effective and address deficiencies in future agreements; • Regular monitoring helps address due diligence obligations by the land trust to the Canadian Revenue Agency (in the case of donated conservation easements), donors and the original landowner partner.Some land trusts also conduct ‘drive by’ or informal monitoring of conservationeasement properties in order to help demonstrate due diligence. However, there is afine line between unannounced, unobtrusive monitoring visits and the impressionthat the land trust is covertly watching and ready to reprimand the landowner fordisobeying the rules. The land trust must evaluate how informal monitoring willinfluence the relationship between the land trust and the landowner.In most cases, it is appropriate to conduct monitoring visits during the growingseason. Ideally, monitoring would be conducted during the same month of the yearas the baseline documentation was gathered.
  7. 7. MONITORING FEE SIMPLE PROPERTIESThe frequency of monitoring is less critical for fee simple properties than forconservation easement properties. The frequency will depend on the threatsidentified in the baseline documentation report, the type of management actionsbeing undertaken, the land uses allowed on the property, and the capacity of theland trust. The following table lists criteria that might be considered whendetermining the frequency of monitoring fee simple properties.More Frequent Less FrequentHabitat restoration actions being undertaken Natural habitat intactRecreational or resource (grazing, logging, energy No human uses of propertydevelopment) usesAdjacent land uses pose a major threat Adjacent land uses pose little threatOn-site or nearby monitor available Remote staff responsible for monitoringStewardship endowment fully funded Stewardship funding limited 6In most cases, it is appropriate to conduct monitoring visits during the growingseason. Ideally, monitoring would be conducted during the same month of the yearas the baseline documentation was gathered.In some cases, land trusts may own and monitor properties for which baselinedocumentation was not gathered. These are usually properties which have beenowned for many years by the land trust and the goal of monitoring may be todocument the success of habitat enhancement or to watch for impacts from publicuse. In such situations, as for all other land trust lands, the land trusts should havedocumentation of the condition of the property at some point in time to use indefence of conservation of the property in the event of encroachment orunauthorized use. Documentation of the condition of the property may be gatheredas a baseline survey in a given year or be gathered over time by qualified monitors.
  8. 8. WHO SHOULD MONITOR?A monitor’s primary role is to monitor the status of the land and record any changes.In particular, a monitor: • Carries out on-the-ground inspections or surveys; • Acts as the eyes and ears of the land trust; and • Observes, records and reports.It is also the monitor’s role to act as an ambassador for the land trust to the publicand act as a liaison between the land trust and its partners.It is critical that a land trust have the experience, resources and capability formonitoring and enforcement, either through staff or volunteers. Land trusts need toconsider whether they need to recruit monitors with particular qualifications ortechnical expertise. This will depend on the conservation values requiringmonitoring and the nature of monitoring activities on specific pieces of property.Ideally, assigning a small team of monitors to specific properties on a long termbasis will provide more continuity, and therefore more credible records, than if 7monitors change repeatedly.MONITORING CONSERVATION EASEMENTSThe protocols and templates for the monitoring program should be set as a standardoperating procedure by a land trust. As such, this guiding information should bedetermined by the stewardship team. The stewardship team may include anycombination of stewardship staff, board members, senior staff, and legal advisors.The choice of actual monitoring personnel will depend on the skill level or expertiserequired, the resources available to the land trust, and the land trust’s goals for itsmonitoring program. For example, if range condition or riparian health needs to beassessed, personnel experienced in that field should monitor. However, if the goalof the land trust is to build relationships with landowners, then a land trustrepresentative who has continuity with the organization should conduct the sitevisit. Some land trusts recommend that the personnel who negotiated theconservation easement continue to develop their relationship with the landownerby conducting the monitoring, therefore, being the sole point of contact with theland trust for the landowner.
  9. 9. Monitoring personnel are often volunteers, seasonal or permanent staff of the landtrust or members of partner organizations. Which of these are chosen to monitorproperties often depends on funding availability. However, when limited fundingdetermines the monitor, the land trust may be compromising the future defence ofthe conservation easement and the efficiencies and benefits of continuity.Monitoring provides information that may be used as evidence if the enforcement ofthe conservation easement is necessary. In that situation, expertise will need to bedemonstrated and a lack of expertise will put the land trust at a disadvantage. Ifvolunteers with limited expertise or students are used as monitors, the land trustcan offset the deficiency with a quality training program and ensure that theadequate supervision and review of monitoring reports and any follow-up isconducted by a qualified professional (see Baseline Documentation Training Modulefor a discussion on hiring qualified professionals). Defending a conservationeasement in a court of law is a difficult situation in which to place a student orvolunteer and they should not be expected to fill this role.Training and supervising new staff or volunteers each year is an inefficient use oftime. Lack of continuity of monitoring personnel also risks the relationship with the 8landowner as short term personnel may have little vested interest in maintaininglandowner relations. If funding is limited, land trusts should concentrate on findingvolunteers to monitor who are likely to be available over the long term. Land trustswith limited resources may also partner with naturalist groups or other non-government conservation organizations who will undertake the monitoring at alower cost than the land trust could. These organizations are also likely to havequalified professionals that can oversee the monitors.The goal for land trusts with a large number of conservation easements and ahealthy stewardship endowment fund should be the hiring of full-time personneldedicated to monitoring and stewardship.
  10. 10. MONITORING FEE SIMPLE PROPERTIESThe purpose of monitoring fee simple properties is to evaluate managementactivities, identify threats and assess the condition of the property. The choice of amonitor is less critical than for conservation easements since monitoring reportsare unlikely to be needed as evidence in a court of law and there is no need to buildor maintain a relationship with a landowner partner. On the other hand, there maybe a need to build or maintain relationships with the public or a partnerorganization on specific fee simple properties.If management of a fee simple property involves activities that require a high levelof expertise, such as habitat restoration, a qualified professional (see BaselineDocumentation Training Module for a discussion on hiring qualified professionals)should undertake monitoring. However, if monitoring serves primarily to confirmconservation values and identify threats, specialized expertise is less critical. Inthese situations, volunteer monitors are ideal. These are often local people whoenjoy nature and the outdoors. Land trusts with well developed volunteerprograms can undertake monitoring of a large network of fee simple properties verycost effectively. Training programs are necessary for monitoring programs involvingvolunteer or student monitors. 9Partner organizations are also a good option for monitoring fee simple properties.Some land trusts focus on property securement and partner with organizations thatfocus on habitat management to conduct monitoring and management of theirproperties. This option is an effective use of the resources of both organizations.
  11. 11. TRAINING MONITORSMany land trusts depend on volunteers or students to monitor conservationproperties. A land trust should seek volunteers and staff who have appropriatetraining or experience to carry out its work or a willingness to learn new skills.Where volunteers and staff are lacking certain skills, the land trust needs to ensurethey gain them by providing access to training opportunities. A training program iscritical to the success of the monitoring program.As a guide, land trusts should provide volunteers and staff with a formal trainingprogram at the beginning of their tenure with the organization, and periodicallythereafter. Training can be in-house, or through a combination of workshops,reading and/or visiting other land trusts. An organization’s choice of trainingprogram may depend on: • The number of people being trained; • The ability to have a staff person or volunteer shadow a more experienced person; • The level of experience of the land trust practitioner; • Budget and funding available for training. 10For students and volunteers, at least some form of in-house training should beprovided. An in-house training program should incorporate the followingcomponents:1. Safety training: • Wilderness first aid • List of required safety gear for the field • How to develop a safety plan (e.g., emergency contact list, lists of hazards associated with specific properties, a schedule of checking, in etc.)2. Monitoring preparation: • Necessary field equipment • How to developing a monitoring schedule • Where to find and how to review property files3. Monitoring protocols: • Review the CE and fee simple monitoring forms • Train monitors in the necessary scientific survey techniques (e.g., wildlife inventories, rare plant surveys, range and riparian health surveys, water quality sampling etc.) • List photo point protocols4. Dealing with violations and encroachments:
  12. 12. • How to document violations of CEs or encroachments on fee simple properties • Protocols around communications associated with violations or encroachments5. Landowner relations and public relations: • Protocols for communicating with landowners of CE properties and dealing with landowner issues • Protocols for communicating with the public, neighbours and partners on fee simple properties and how to deal with issues6. Orientation • Description of the properties to be monitored, access required, hazards etc. 11
  13. 13. WHAT ARE THE CRITICAL COMPONENTS OF A MONITORING PROGRAM?Monitoring programs will differ substantially between conservation easement andfee simple properties. The following sections provide guidance to assist with thedesign of monitoring programs for conservation easements and for fee simpleproperties.The extent, nature and specific methods of monitoring will depend on a number offactors relating to specific properties including the conservation objectives,management restrictions in the case of conservation easements, and managementactivities in the case of fee simple properties. These will help define the scope,specificity and level of detail required in a monitoring program.MONITORING CONSERVATION EASEMENTSMonitoring protocols for conservation easement properties must be tailored to theconservation easement agreement and the conservation values of the property and 12should parallel the documentation in the BDR. The monitoring protocols developedcould be different for each property and would be influenced by the followingconsiderations: 1. Monitoring must address each restriction or affirmative obligation agreed to in the conservation easement, and therefore, the more complex or restrictive the conservation easement the higher the probability of a violation; 2. Monitoring must address the intent of the conservation easement. For example, if the conservation easement protects a rare species, regularly monitoring the species presence and health may be needed; 3. Working landscapes, e.g., landscapes with ranching, farming or forestry as a land use will require different protocols than natural habitat with light recreational activities; 4. The land trust’s goals for the property and region will influence monitoring protocols. For example, the land trust may wish to influence property management by providing management assistance or advice to the landowner. The land trust may also wish to cultivate relationships with the landowner and neighbours to facilitate future land conservation opportunities; 5. The land trust’s philosophy for its monitoring program will influence
  14. 14. protocols. For example, the land trust may use the monitoring visit as an opportunity for technical transfer or may use the monitoring visit to gather conservation information not directly associated with the conservation easement, but required for research or other purposes; 6. Available resources are always a large consideration for land trusts. The design of a monitoring program will be tailored around the availability of personnel, the level of expertise of available personnel, available funding for salaries and expenses, and available funding for equipment.The steps in the monitoring process involving a site visit include pre-monitoringactivities, the monitoring visit and post-monitoring activities. Pre- monitoringactivities include: 1. Inform the landowner of the upcoming visit in writing and by phone. Considerable advance notice should be given. If the exact day of the visit is not finalized much in advance, written notice can be given with the indication that monitors will call before they enter upon the land. The exact dates of the monitoring visit should be arranged with the landowner as a courtesy. This approach reduces risks to the monitor and gives the landowner the opportunity to schedule time to meet with the monitor; 2. Review the terms of the CE, the BDR, previous monitoring reports and other 13 documentation in the BDR and monitoring files; 3. Gather the materials needed to monitor the property including monitoring forms, cameras, GPS units, maps and air photos, sampling equipment, appropriate outdoor gear, etc.Monitoring site visits typically involve the following procedures: 1. Visit the landowner to explain the monitoring process, allow them to voice any concerns about the property or the conservation easement and determine if there are any risks to the monitor currently on the property. Concerns should be documented, investigated in the field and brought forward to the stewardship team to be addressed; 2. Revisit all developments and sites documented in the BDR. Visit the parts of the property that are significant from a conservation perspective. Also visit the areas where violations of the agreement are most likely to occur; 3. Resurvey all assessments or other measures of the condition of the land that were measured during baseline documentation using the same methodology to collect data as was used during baseline data collection; 4. Rephotograph all sites and developments photographed during the baseline documentation; 5. Affirm land uses and note new land uses and alterations to the property;
  15. 15. 6. Assess threats to the conservation values of the property; 7. Document any safety hazards (e.g., dogs, bulls, wildlife, illegal activities, dangerous people etc.) for the monitoring file.During site visits, monitors should refrain from discussing possible violations withthe landowner or interpreting the terms of the conservation easement if thelandowner asks for clarification on allowable activities. Questions about allowableactivities should be referred back to the appropriate land trust staff. If a monitormakes an incorrect statement to the landowner during the monitoring visit, it maystrain the relationship between the land trust and the landowner and reducelandowner confidence in the land trust.Monitors should not make any determination about possible violations of the CEbased on initial observations. Possible violations should be documented to theextent practical in the field. The monitor’s responsibility should be limited toobserving and recording findings. Evidence of a violation should be documentedquantitatively and descriptively for an audience that is unfamiliar with the property.Interpreting the CE and communicating with the landowner should be handled bythe entire stewardship team.Post-monitoring activities typically include: 14 1. Transcribe the field notes, label the photos and prepare the monitoring report; 2. The land trust should review and sign the monitoring report to ensure quality; 3. Take a copy of the signed monitoring report to the landowner and obtain a signature; 4. Store the monitoring report, photographs and field notes in both a digital and paper copy file.MONITORING FEE SIMPLE PROPERTIESMonitoring protocols for fee simple properties should be tailored to the goals for theproperty and the management actions prescribed in the baseline documentationreport or management plan. The development of monitoring protocols could bedifferent for each property and would be influenced by the following considerations: 1. Monitoring must address each management action described in the baseline documentation report or management plan. Management actions requiring habitat enhancement and restoration will require more frequent and involved monitoring than management actions aimed at maintaining natural habitat;
  16. 16. 2. Monitoring must address the liabilities associated with private ownership and any public use of the property such as potential safety hazards, encroachment, harmful or illegal activities etc.; 3. Monitoring should address the range of conservation values for the property. For example, if the property supports a rare species, regularly monitoring the species presence and health may be needed; 4. Working landscapes, e.g., landscapes with ranching, farming or forestry as a land use will require different protocols than natural habitat with light recreational activities; 5. Fee simple properties are often show cases for a land trust. As such, showcase property monitoring may include inspecting signage and evaluating aesthetic issues; 6. Available resources are always a large consideration for land trusts. The design of a monitoring program will be tailored around the availability of personnel, the level of expertise of available personnel, available funding for salaries and expenses, and available funding for equipment.The steps in the monitoring process involving a site visit include pre-monitoringactivities, the monitoring visit and post-monitoring activities. Pre- monitoringactivities include: 15 1. Review the baseline documentation report and management plan, previous monitoring reports and other documentation in the BDR and monitoring files; 2. Touch base with any staff, consultants, volunteers or partner organizations undertaking management activities on the property to establish progress on management actions or risks to conservation values; 3. Gather the materials needed to monitor the property including monitoring forms, cameras, GPS units, maps and air photos, sampling equipment, appropriate outdoor gear, etc.Monitoring site visits typically involve the following procedures: 1. Revisit all developments and sites documented in the BDR; 2. Check boundaries, note trespass and associated problems, record visitor use, check condition of structures and/or hazards, etc.; 3. Resurvey all assessments or other measures of the condition of the land that were measured during baseline documentation using the same methodology to collect data as was used during baseline data collection; 4. Rephotograph all sites and developments photographed during the baseline documentation; 5. Affirm land uses and note new land uses and alterations to the property;
  17. 17. 6. Assess progress and/or impacts of management activities; 7. Assess threats to the conservation values of the property; 8. Document any safety hazards (e.g., dogs, bulls, wildlife, illegal activities, dangerous people etc.) for the monitoring file.Post-monitoring activities typically include: 1. Transcribe the field notes, label the photos and prepare the monitoring report; 2. The land trust should review and sign the monitoring report to ensure quality; 3. Send a copy of the signed monitoring report to any partner organizations; 4. Store the monitoring report, photographs and field notes in both a digital and paper copy file. 16
  18. 18. WHAT ARE THE CRITICAL COMPONENTS OF A MONITORING REPORT?Monitoring reports will differ substantially between conservation easement and feesimple properties. The following sections provide guidance to assist with the designof monitoring reports for conservation easements and for fee simple properties.Ideally, the same observations and surveys should be undertaken as were recordedin the baseline documentation report (see Baseline Documentation Report TrainingModule for detail on the critical components of a BDR).MONITORING REPORTS FOR CONSERVATION EASEMENTSA monitoring form or monitoring report is a form that the land trust completes todocument the results of the monitoring inspection and any changes to the property.The report identifies any violations or issues to be addressed.A land trust should monitor only for compliance with the terms of the CE. Althougha land trust might notice other land management issues or concerns, it is important 17to maintain the distinction between CE issues and issues that are not within thejurisdiction of the land trust. Land management issues outside the conservationeasement may be addressed in a general way by including management informationrelating to that topic in a regional workshop or a newsletter, or in a more direct wayby asking the landowner if they would like some information sent to them relatingto that topic. If there is doubt about whether or not a management issue is relevantto the CE, the issue should be documented in the field but not discussed with thelandowner. Once in the office, the relevance can be determined in consultation withmembers of the stewardship team.The Land Trust Accreditation Commission in the US describes the content forminimum standard monitoring reports and for desired content monitoring reportsas follows:Monitoring Report – Minimum ContentsAt a minimum, a monitoring report should include the items below. • Identification of the specific easement being monitored. • The date of the inspection. • The printed name and signature of the monitor. • Observations recorded during the inspection (observations can simply be
  19. 19. "none" or "no change observed").Monitoring Report – Desirable ContentsA desirable monitoring report might also include the items below. • A description of the area that was observed during the inspection. • Information that helps substantiate how the monitor arrived at the finding of "none" or "no change observed." • Observation of the conditions and context of the inspection [weather conditions, how visit was made (i.e. car, walk, etc.), route of entry into the property, etc.]. • A notation of photos taken, their location and the identity of the photographer.Appendix A contains two examples of templates for monitoring conservationeasement properties from Ducks Unlimited Canada and the Foothills Land Trust.MONITORING REPORTS FOR FEE SIMPLE PROPERTIESA template form or, at minimum, a checklist, helps guide the monitor’s work andmakes it easier for the monitor to report promptly to the stewardship team. 18Monitoring reports help the land trust identify what future actions should be takenand to develop the following year’s work plan and budget for the property.Monitoring reports for fee simple properties will vary widely between propertiesdepending on the liabilities, management activities and conservation values of theproperty. As such, the monitoring report should parallel the BDR or managementplan for the property, addressing all items described or surveyed in the BDR.Appendix B contains two examples of templates for monitoring fee simpleproperties from the Alberta Fish & Game Association and the Alberta ConservationAssociation.
  20. 20. WHERE SHOULD MONITORING INFORMATION BE STORED?Land trusts should have a designated location and an established filing system forhard copy monitoring reports and associated information. Monitoring reportsshould be stored in both electronic and hard copy format as a hedge against apermanent loss of one format. Electronic versions of monitoring reports should bestored in a designated location within the land trust’s digital files. Electronicversions of monitoring reports may be made available online to land truststewardship staff and volunteers, but should be restricted from the public.A section detailing data storage and archiving best management practices isincluded in the training module entitled Stewardship Best Practices. 19
  21. 21. ADDITIONAL RESOURCESA Stewardship, Monitoring & Costing Guide for Natural Heritage ConservationAgreements: A manual developed to assist land trusts in owning naturalheritage properties and holding conservation easements. Draft 2009. OntarioLand Trust Alliance Best Practices Working Group.Caring for Land Trust Properties. 2008. Hugh Brown and Andrew Pitz. The LandTrust Alliance. ISBN 98-0-943915-21-0Conservation Easement Stewardship. 2008. Standards and Practices Curriculum.The Land Trust AllianceGreening Your Title: A guide to best practices for conservation covenants, 2ndEdition. 2005. Ann Hillyer and Judy Atkins. West Coast Environmental Law.On the Ground: A volunteer’s guide to monitoring stewardship agreements. 202001. Land Trust Alliance of British Columbia. ISBN #0-9685042-1-3.The Conservation Easement Handbook, 2nd Edition by Byers, Elizabeth and KarinMarchetti PonteVolunteer Stewardship Manual. 2009. Alberta Fish & Game Association.Volunteer Steward Handbook. 2005. Alberta Parks & Protected Areas and AlbertaCommunity Development.
  22. 22. APPENDIX A: MONITORING REPORT TEMPLATES FOR CONSERVATION EASEMENT AGREEMENTSAttachment 1: Ducks Unlimited Canada’s Conservation Easement ComplianceMonitoring FormAttachment 2: Ducks Unlimited Canada’s Conservation Easement Monitoring Forminvolving a BreachAttachment 3: Foothills Land Trust’s Conservation Easement Monitoring Form 21
  23. 23. CE MONITORING FORMDate of Inspection: Inspector’s name (DUC staff): ________________DUC OFFICE: ___________________ REGION: _______________________I. Preliminary Information 1. Project Name and number: _________________ 2. Paid CE: _____________ Donated CE: _____________ 3. CE Type: NBND: _____________ No Ag Use: __________ 4. Legal location: _________________ 5. Name of Landowner: ___________________________ 6. Mailing Address: ______________________________________ 7. Telephone number: ________________________ 8. Original grantor of CE? Yes No ___________________ 9. If not, year of sale: _____________________ 10. Lessee (if applicable) or Property Manager ________________________ 11. Mailing Address: ______________________________________________ 12. Telephone number: Home: ____________________________________ II Site Inspection Yes No ____________ (if no , proceed to section III) 1. Inspection method: (ie. Ground truthing, flight, aerial photography) 2. Landowner present during site visit? Yes No ____________ 3. Current land use of property (grazing, forestry, recreation): __________________ 4. Condition of property: ________________ 5. List any problems or potential threats to propertys condition 6. Is there signage on property? Yes No ___________
  24. 24. 7. If property has been altered due to human changes, describe location, etc.8. If property has been altered by natural causes, describe location, changes, etc.9. Are these changes consistent with the terms of the CE? Yes No ____III. General 1. Overall, are the terms and conditions of the CE being adhered to? Yes No ___________ 2. List and describe any violations or potential violations of the Easement: 3. Date landowner was contacted: 4. Landowners comments: 5. Lessee’s comments (if applicable): 6. List any attachments Photos Map(s) Survey(s) Deed Other 7. General comments (if any):
  25. 25. CE MONITORING FORM (involving a breach)Date of Inspection: Inspector’s name (DUC staff): ________________DUC OFFICE: ___________________ REGION:________________________I. Preliminary Information 6. Project Name and number: _________________ 7. Paid CE: _____________ Donated CE: _____________ 8. CE Type: NBND: _____________ No Ag Use: __________ 9. Legal location: _________________ 10. Name of Landowner: ___________________________ 6. Mailing Address: ______________________________________ 7. Telephone number: ________________________ 8. Original grantor of CE? Yes No ___________________ 9. If not, year of sale: _____________________ 10. Lessee (if applicable) or Property Manager ________________________ 13. Mailing Address: ______________________________________________ 14. Telephone number: Home: ____________________________________ II Site Inspection Yes No ____________ (if no , proceed to section III) 1. Inspection method: (ie. Ground truthing, flight, aerial photography) 2. Landowner present during site visit? Yes No ____________ 3. Current land use of property (grazing, forestry, recreation): __________________ 4. Condition of property: ________________ 5. List any problems or potential threats to propertys condition 6. Is there signage on property? Yes No ___________
  26. 26. 7. If property has been altered due to human changes, describe location, etc. 8. If property has been altered by natural causes, describe location, changes, etc. 9. Are these changes consistent with the terms of the CE? Yes No ____IV. General 1. Overall, are the terms and conditions of the CE being adhered to? Yes No ___________ 2. List and describe any violations or potential violations of the Easement: 3. Date landowner was contacted: 4. Landowners comments: 5. Lessee’s comments (if applicable): 6. List any attachments Photos Map(s) Survey(s) Deed Other 7. General comments (if any):
  27. 27. V. Details of breach 1. List specific restriction that has been breached: _______________________________ 2. List actions that need to be taken in order to return the CE area to its originalcondition: _______________________________________________________________________ 3. How does landowner plan to return property to its original condition? _________________________________________________________________V. Record of Discussions with Landowner/ LesseeList details on discussions with the landowner and subsequent actions taken with respect toa breach.1 1. Number of times landowner was contacted: a. By telephone: ____________ Dates:________________________ b. By registered mail: __________ Dates:________________________ c. In person: ______________ i. Dates and time of visit(s) _________________________________ 2. What did DUC communicate to the landowner in each of the above contacts: a. By telephone: ______________________________________________ b. By registered mail: __________________________________________ c. In person: _________________________________________________ 3. If action was taken by the landowner as a result of contact with DUC, explain those actions (be as specific as possible and include dates):___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________1 Need to this detail in the event we go to binding arbitration.
  28. 28. Foothills Land Trust Conservation Easement Monitoring ReportProperty Name:Date:Monitored by:Legal Land Description:Directions to the Property: provided to the monitor on the form .Landowner contacted by When?I have reviewed the (please initial):BaselineProperty MapPhotosRestrictionsManagement Plan***I understand that the knowledge I gain and the information I collect is confidential andbelongs to the Foothills Land Trust and should only be discussed with members of the FoothillsLand Trust Board.
  29. 29. RESTRICTIONS4.1 Destruction of VegetationNo cutting, removal, ordestruction of vegetation.4.2 Drainage and Diversion ofWater CoursesNo alteration, diversion ordrainage of water courses.4.3 Pollution of Water CoursesNo pollution or degradation ofwater courses or water bodies onthe property.4.4 Shoreline VegetationNo destruction of vegetation orsoils on shorelines of watercourses or water bodies.4.5 Wildlife DisturbanceNo noise, glare, obstruction orodour which may be reasonablyanticipated to disturb wildlifepatterns.4.6 Agricultural ActivitiesNo tilling, breaking, clearing,cultivating or convertingpermanent cover to cropland;reseeding only with permission4.7 Wildlife MovementNo activity which will impedewildlife movement.4.8 Chemicals and FertilizersNo pesticides includingherbicides, or fertilizers.4.9 Mining and ResourceExtractionNo excavation, dredging, ormining of any sand, gravel,minerals, rock or other materials.No oil and gas exploration unlessrequired by law.4.10 RefuseNo dumping of garbage, waste,debris, or refuse.4.11 Hunting and TrappingNo hunting, killing, trapping ofanimals or birds on the property.4.12 ConstructionNo building except as allowed bythe management plan in the CE.4.13 SubdivisionNo application for subdivision.
  30. 30. APPENDIX B: MONITORING REPORT TEMPLATES FOR FEE SIMPLE PROPERTIESAttachment 1: Alberta Fish & Game Association’s Property Inspection Report FormAttachment 2: Alberta Conservation Association’s Site Inspection Form
  31. 31. Conservation Site Inspection FormReview files, management plan and the previous year’s inspection form before surveying site. Include a map of the site (if possible) that highlightsinformation described in this inspection form. Please attach all photos to the filed copy of the form.Property Name: Legal Land Description (Qtr, Sec, Twp, Rge, Mer) :Associated Program:Entitlement (& Partners)Inspection Date:Last Visit:Inspected by: General Property Characteristics Photo ID Identified Changes or Comments Description (Include: site name, (e.g. Successional changes, water levels, tree clearing on description, date, surrounding landscapes, etc.) photo credit.) Natural Features2 (e.g. dominant ecosites, native/non native cover types, seral stages) Hydrography(e.g. waterbodies, drainage, riparian areas, edatope) Surrounding Landuse (e.g. agricultural, protected areas, waterbodies)2 In relation to features outlined in the appropriate management plan.
  32. 32. Infrastructure Photo ID Coordinates / Waypoints Ownership Condition and Required Maintenance (Include: site name, (UTM NAD 83) description, date, photo credit.)SignageFencesAccess(e.g. roads, parking lots,docks)General Structures (e.g.observation towers,buildings, etc.)Water ControlStructures(e,g, weirs, dams, plugs)Industrial Structures(e.g. well sites)
  33. 33. Garbage Disposal /Sanitary Facilities(e.g. outhouse, garbagecans, cleaning stands)Other Invasive Plants Species Coordinates Weed Degree of Area Growth Identified / Waypoints Designation3 Infestation4 (if moderate or Stage5 Comments (UTM NAD 83) (restricted, (trace, low, high, describe (seedling, bolt, (i.e. Recommended control Photo ID noxious, nuisance) moderate, high, length if linear) bud, flower, seed actions) linear) set, mature)3 As per the Alberta Weed Regulation (http://www.qp.gov.ab.ca/documents/Regs/2001_171.cfm?frm_isbn=077974649X)4 Trace (rare) = <1% cover, Low (occational) = ≥1% and <5% cover, Moderate (scattered) = ≥5% and <25% cover, High (dense) = ≥25% cover, Linear = along road, trail,clearing, etc.5 Seedling– Juvenile, low-growing plant growth form, occurs between germination and bolting., Bolt – when a plant begins to grow tall and put upflowering stems Bud – when a plant has visible buds, Flower – when a plant is flowering, Seed Set – after flowering when a plant produces seed, Mature –senescing after seed has been released
  34. 34. New Disturbances, Hazards, Illegal Activities (e.g. agriculture, oil & gas, logging, recreation, transportation, tree stands, ruts, wood cutting, etc) Coordinates / Ecological Response Reclamation ActionDescription Waypoints (e.g. native vegetation ingress, Photo ID (UTM NAD 83) soil erosion, weed invasion etc) Recommended
  35. 35. Habitat Enhancements (e.g. prescribed burn, mechanical manipulation, revegetation/seeding, drainage structures, haying, etc) Description6 Coordinates / Comments (e.g. estimated area, type of Waypoints Photo ID (e.g. status of enhancement efforts, success/failure) enhancement, treatment age) (UTM NAD 83)6 In relation to objectives outlined in the appropriate management plan
  36. 36. Notable Species Accounts(e.g. managed species , rare observations, species provincially listed as “endangered”, “threatened”, “special concern” or “data deficient”) Coordinates / Type of Observation CommentsSpecies Identified Waypoints (e.g. spp. seen, spp. heard, scat (e.g. species status, population changes from Photo ID (UTM NAD 83) found, tracks seen, etc.) last visit, etc. )
  37. 37. List of classified weeds in Alberta7Restricted weeds in Alberta are: Nuisance weeds in Alberta are:Red bartsia - Odontites serotina L. Dalmatian toadflax - Linaria dalmatica L.Diffuse knapweed - Centaurea diffusa L. Wild radish - Raphanus raphanistrum L.Spotted knapweed - Centaurea maculosa L Creeping bellflower - Campanula rapunculoides L.Nodding thistle - Carduus nutans L. Hedge bindweed - Convolvulus sepium L.Eurasian Water Milfoil - Myriophyllum spicatum L. Bluebur - Lappula echinataDodder - Cuscuta spp. Downy brome - Bromus tectorumYellow star thistle - Centaurea solstitialis L. Tartary buckwheat - Fagopyrum tataricum Wild buckwheat - Polygonum convolvulusNoxious weeds in Alberta are: Biennial campion - Silene csereiRussian knapweed - Centaurea repens L. Night-flowering catchfly - Silene noctiflora L.Field bindweed - Convolvulus arvensis L. Common chickweed - Stellaria media L.White Cockle - Lychnis alba Field chickweed - Cerastium arvense L.Bladder campion - Silene cucubalus Mouse-eared chickweed - Cerastium vulgatum L.Cleavers - Galium aparine L. and Galium spurium Rough cinquefoil - Potentilla norvegica L.Hoary cress - Cardaria spp. Cow cockle - Saponaria vaccaria L.Knawel - Scleranthus annuus L. Flixweed - Descurainia sophia L.Perennial sow thistle - Sonchus arvensis L. Green foxtail - Setaria viridis L.Cypress spurge - Euphorbia cyparissias L. Quack grass - Agropyron repens L.Leafy spurge - Euphorbia esula L. Narrow-leaved hawks-beard - Crepis tectorum L.Storks bill - Erodium cicutarium L. Hemp nettle - Galeopsis tetrahit L.Canada thistle - Cirsium arvense L. Henbit - Lamium amplexicaule L.Toadflax - Linaria vulgaris Ladys-thumb - Polygonum persicaria L.Persian darnel - Lolium persicum Round-leaved mallow - Malva rotundifolia L.Scentless Chamomile - Matricaria maritima L Ball mustard - Neslia paniculataCommon tansy - Tanacetum vulgare L. Dog mustard - Erucastrum gallicumBlueweed - Echium vulgare L. Green tansy mustard - Descurainia pinnataSpreading dogbane - Apocynum androsaemifolium L. Wild mustard - Sinapis arvensis L.Field scabious - Knautia arvensis (L.) Duby Wormseed mustard - Erysimum cheiranthoidesHounds-tongue - Cynoglossum officinale L. Wild oats - Avena fatua LOxeye daisy - Chrysanthemum leucanthemum L. Redroot pigweed - Amaranthus retroflexus L.Tall buttercup - Ranunculus acris L. Shepherds-purse - Capsella bursa-pastoris L.Purple Loosestrife - Lythrum salicaria Annual sow thistle - Sonchus oleraceus L. Corn spurry - Spergula arvensis L. Stinkweed - Thlaspi arvense L. Russian thistle - Salsola pestifer Dandelion - Taraxacum officinale7 Agriculture and Rural Development. 2008. Restricted, Noxious and Nuisance Weeds in Alberta: Frequently Asked Questions. Government of Alberta(Retrieved May 5, 2009 from http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/faq8261).
  38. 38. Subdivided Section of Farmland8 Metric: m, m2, km, ha. Imperial: foot, mi, acre. 1 acre = 0.4 ha 1 mile = 1.6 km 1 ha = 100m x 100m = 10,000m2 1 section = 256 ha8 Agriculture and Rural Development. 2008. 640 Acres More or Less. Government of Alberta (Retrieved May 5, 2009 fromhttp://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/eng9919).
  39. 39. Percent Vegetation Cover Guide99 Natural Resources Canada. 1996. Field Guide to Ecosites of Northern Alberta. UBC Press.

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