A short newsletter of bite-size ideas to chew on for Terrafirma owner-member land trusts, released January, February, May, June, September, October and November.


Posts tagged enforcement

Find Challenges Challenging to Define?

Make plans now to track challenges that you may need to report on your Terrafirma membership confirmation next year. Remember, you do not need to report challenges if there is no damage to the property, nominal volunteer or staff time was needed to address the challenge, and you incurred no out of pocket expenses. To help you keep track of the different types of challenges, please see the definitions below.





includes prohibited structures and uses, excessive recreational activity (such as all-terrain vehicles), surface alteration, timber harvest, and dumping, violation of a management plan and anything else that explicitly violates the stated terms of a conservation easement


includes actions by third parties (neighbors, developers, government and so forth) such as vegetation removal, structural encroachment, fences, topography change and so forth.

Litigation Notice

when you receive written notice that a lawsuit has been filed against the land trust

Verbal or Other Threat of Violation or Trespass

includes threats to violate the conservation easement or trespass on fee land or conservation easement

Disregard of Easement Obligation

this is a catch all section for when a legal challenge does not fit into any other category for example transfer of water rights on paper to a holding company that technically disregards the no severance provision of the conservation easement but functionally retains the water rights in the same ownership

Mediation or Arbitration Notice

when you receive written notice of mediation or arbitration action

Adverse Claim of Legal Right

including adverse possession, contest by heir, boundary challenge, etc.


We’re here to help! If you have any questions about filing claims or anything else, please let us know. Email us at or call 202-800-2219 for Lorri or 802-262-6051 for Leslie.


Tips for Entering Insurance Premiums on Form 990

Form 990 season is here, and it’s likely that someone at your land trust may be wondering where to enter the Terrafirma payment and other insurance premium. We’re here to help! Here are a few tips:

  • Please consult your land trust accountant or tax professional.   We can’t give you tax or other advice.
  • A general reading of the instructions shows that insurance premiums are entered on the main form Part IX, line 23.
  • And lastly, for Schedule D, a general observation of those instructions suggests that the IRS is looking only for specific enforcement actions after you discover a violation by a property owner.  Following that definition would mean not listing any insurance premium payments on Schedule D except possibly in a year of an actual claim meeting the IRS enforcement definition. 
  • Here is the IRS definition of enforcement for purposes of Schedule D:  “Enforcement of an easement means action taken by the organization after it discovers a violation to compel a property owner to adhere to the terms of the conservation easement.”

Remember: consult your land trust’s financial, tax or legal advisor on this new issue.

Let us know how we can help you.


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