Working together to Keep Nature in our Future.

South Okanagan-Similkameen
Conservation Program

Legal options to permanently protect your land

Conservation covenants and gifts of land

Land trusts can offer advice on establishing protective covenants to conserve natural areas on your property, they also accept donations of land. A covenant can cover all or just a portion of a property. The covenant places restrictions on land use and applies in perpetuity to the property title. Either a local government or land trust monitors the covenant, ensuring that the restrictions are being followed.

The following land trusts manage properties in the South Okanagan and Similkameen:

The Nature Trust of BC

The Nature Conservancy of Canada

Ducks Unlimited Canada

Southern Interior Land Trust 

16 hectares of bighorn sheep habitat at Bighorn Mountain Estates in Okanagan Falls was donated to The Land Conservancy

Tax Benefits

Local governments may accept covenants or land donations if the area is deemed significant for recreation or environmental preservation. They also have the ability to issue tax exemptions for riparian areas protected on the property. If land protection is not required by a development permit, donations of land or conservation covenants can be treated as charitable gifts eligible for tax receipts. Placing a conservation covenant on a property may also result in reduced property taxes due to a lower assessed value. In most provinces, a reduction in federal tax payable will also reduce provincial tax. Sometimes an outright donation of land to a local government or conservation organization can be simpler than a conservation covenant.

Under Environment Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program, if the land is certified as ecologically sensitive it may be eligible for significant tax benefits. Check out further information on Ecological Gifts at Environment Canada’s web site. Legal advice should be sought on conservation covenants and the tax laws that apply.

See also West Coast Environmental Law- Greening Your Title.

The vision of SOSCP is to maintain a healthy environment that sustains the diversity of indigenous plants and animals while enriching people’s lives. The six broad strategic objectives that guide SOSCP activities are:

SOSCP recognizes that decisions, policies and practices are important to ecological conservation and works to provide the tools and guidance needed to make sustainable planning choices.

Sustainable Land Use Planning

Supporting the acquisition of key habitats includes purchases, covenants or donations of private land, often in conjunction with enhanced protection of Crown lands. Securement activities include restoration, care, and management of these important areas.

Securing Key Habitats

SOSCP promotes stewardship activities and encourages landowners to protect biodiversity, enhance habitat for plants and wildlife, and manage lands sustainably.

Enhancing Stewardship on Public and Private Land

Involving communities in conservation is essential. SOSCP support professional development workshops, school programs, festivals and outdoor seminars that foster a love and understanding of our natural environment.

Expanding Community Involvement

SOSCP is committed to using a science-based approach to guide actions and decision-making, and to promote and facilitate further scientific research for species and ecosystems at risk.

Applying a Science-Based Approach

The En'owkin Centre continues its work to recover, revitalize and perpetuate Syilx Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) so it can be applied throughout traditional Syilx territory.

Applying Traditional Ecological Knowledge

South Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Program