Openlands Stewardship Plans

Openlands Stewardship Plans

Landowners of The Preserve play a vital role in stewarding this land. Each property consists of a building envelope that is set within a protected area known as a conservation easement, or “Openland.” Through conservation easements, the Conservancy and landowners partner to manage the roughly 8,000 acres of The Preserve.  Some of The Preserve’s most valuable natural resources are found in our Openlands. Conservancy staff monitor and study the Openlands. Researchers survey ponds which support our endangered amphibians, monitor seasonal nesting habitat for tricolored blackbirds, and conduct annual surveys of vegetation around The Preserve. To read more about The Preserve’s innovative land design, click here

Our goal for all Openlands is to preserve the rich mosaic of habitat types and support the ecological processes and biodiversity of The Preserve. By initiating an Openlands Stewardship Plan, landowners can create a legacy of stewardship by implementing conservation strategies and actions to enhance wildlife habitat and improve the scenic quality of their property. 

Contact our Restoration Manager to begin your Openlands Stewardship Plan today! 

What are Openlands? 

Each property contains a conservation easement, known as an “Openland,” that surrounds the building envelope to form a buffer between residential development in the “Homelands” and the rugged, undeveloped “Wildlands.” A conservation easement is a legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust that permanently limits the use of a property to protect its conservation values. Conservation easements transfer with ownership to forever secure the natural capital and ecological health of The Preserve. Learn more about conservation easements on The Preserve.

What is an Openlands Stewardship Plan (OSP)? 

An Openlands Stewardship Plan (OSP) is a voluntary collaborative management tool to help Preserve landowners implement site-specific habitat restoration and create ecological resilience in the Openlands. OSPs help residents nurture the land and connect more deeply with the unique plants and wildlife of The Preserve. The plans are updated every three years after initiation. 

How to Begin an Openlands Stewardship Plan

To initiate a complimentary plan, contact the Conservancy’s Restoration Manager. Members of our team will visit your property to assess your management concerns and environmental conditions surrounding your home. They will then design a customized 3–5-year habitat restoration plan to help achieve our shared conservation goals. The Conservancy will return each year to check on progress, and, if necessary, may adapt your plan to optimize results based on evolving priorities and ecological knowledge. This process is part of how we practice adaptive land management on The Preserve to consistently maintain the health of our habitats.

Who is responsible for Implementing the OSP? 

Landowners are responsible for management of their Openlands and the associated costs. The exceptions are if the Conservancy requests permission to graze your grasslands or identifies “Zero Tolerance” invasive plants on your property.