Baseline Documentation Reports
Baselines are a bit different than other components of conservation easement due diligence. They are occasionally done in-house by the land trust, unlike appraisals and title searches. It has been my experience that many land trust staff are capable of completing baselines. However, as a past employee of two land trusts, I am also aware of the competing time demands. Many land trust duties must be done by staff, but there are several that can be responsibly outsourced. One such duty is the conservation easement baseline.
So why should you hire Land Steward Services to complete your baselines? First off, we bring a skill set to the job that is rarely found even within land trusts. Baselines are done collaboratively between our staff to utilize advanced degrees and experience in wildlife sciences, botany, GIS, and technical writing. We pair that with our direct experience in easement implementation and monitoring.
Every year we complete annual easement monitoring visits by land and air for 45-60 properties. We also complete about a dozen easement audits annually; where we visit easement properties and comb through conservation easement deeds and baseline documents to resolve deficiencies. While writing baselines, we use that diverse easement experience to focus on the requirements of the deed, LTA/IRS standards, and the needs of future easement monitoring. After all, that what it's all about. We aim to write baselines that are appropriately comprehensive and user friendly.
Through our easement audits and baseline updates, we tend to find deficiencies most often in the description and documentation of existing developments that have restrictions in the deed. As such, we make an extra effort to quantitatively describe those relevant features in the narrative and include them in the maps and photos.
Each report is tailored to meet your specifications and template. If you do not have a template, we can easily help you make one. Common components include a general inventory of the natural features, developments, current and historical land use, water rights, maps, georeferenced photo points and photos.