Land Donations

The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy is devoted to protecting important lands throughout the Chautauqua region. Many landowners throughout our watersheds look for ways to preserve the lands they love in perpetuity. For that reason, many of CWC’s properties have been acquired through generous donations of lands. A land gift to the CWC ensures that your property will be protected from future development, and that it will be stewarded in a way that maintains its ecological health and important environmental features.

If you are interested in donating land to CWC, please keep the following in mind:

  • Our properties are operated as publicly accessible nature preserves, so a donor should be comfortable with the general public accessing any properties that have been donated to CWC.
  • We cannot accept donations that have standing structures or existing environmental concerns, such as dumping or chemical contamination.
  • We cannot accept donations of land free of charge. Each of our properties must have a formal boundary survey, title search, appraisal and contribution to an endowment fund for perpetual management. Some properties will need a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment as well, depending on past land use. These costs add up and must be budgeted for before the CWC can accept the land donation.
  • All land donations are carefully considered by the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy’s staff, Conservation Committee and Board of Directors. When an offer of a land donation is made, the conservancy’s staff first conducts preliminary biological investigations to assess ecological value and overall fit with the conservancy’s mission and conservation priorities. The staff reports its findings to the Conservation Committee, who then makes a recommendation to the Board of Directors, which officially accepts or rejects the project.
  • Land donations are not a quick process. Please expect this to take several months at a minimum. Try to keep your expectations realistic, and do not base any immediate needs on ensuring that a potential donation closes in a constrained time frame.

The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy gratefully considers all land donations, and we are humbled by Chautauqua property owners who seek our help in preserving their land for future generations. If you are interested in discussing a property donation with the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy, please contact the CWC at 716-664-2166.