Conservation Easement Monitoring
The mission of the Tejon Ranch Conservancy is to “protect, enhance and restore” the conserved lands on Tejon Ranch. While it is often said that almost 90% of Tejon Ranch is conserved, how exactly is this conservation achieved? The Conservancy, after all, does not own any part of Tejon Ranch. Instead, the Ranch is conserved through conservation easements.
A conservation easement is a legally-binding agreement between two or more parties dictating how a property may be used. Owning property is like owning a bundle of sticks, with each stick representing a different property right, such as the right to graze cattle, cultivate the land for farming, extract oil and gas, quarry limestone and so on. As is generally the case with conservation easements, the conditions established in the agreement are in perpetuity, meaning that they last forever.
One of the primary tasks mandated by the Ranch-Wide Agreement (RWA) is that the Conservancy conduct annual monitoring of the easements on the Ranch. While each easement is a little different, each has its own set of restrictions or prohibited uses.
Easement monitoring is a field-based activity ensuring no prohibited activities are occurring on a given easement. As part of the process, the general ecological health of the property is also assessed, particularly landscape-scale processes that may change through time.
The map below shows Active Conservation Easements in bright green, Non-Active Conservation Easements in pale green, Private Non-Tejon Properties in dark green and Non-Conserved Lands in tan.