Capital Gain
  1. Profit made on the sale of an asset, (in land conservation work, generally land); the difference between the original cost of the asset and the selling price. [source: Glossary of Conservation Terms, Ridge and Valley Conservancy, Inc.,]
Carrying Capacity
  1. The average number of biota and/or wildlife that can be sustained on a prescribed area or management unit, compatible with management objectives for the unit. It is a function of site characteristics, management goals, and management intensity. [source: DCNR State Forestry Resource Management Plan, Glossary of Terms:]
  1. that portion of a street which is improved by surfacing with permanent or semi permanent material and is intended for vehicular traffic [Source: Pennsylvania statutes, TITLE 73, Trade And Commerce, Chapter 3. Explosives, Regulation Excavation and Demolition]
Catchment Area
  1. The area from which rainwater drains into a river, lake or other body of water [Source: Organisation for Economic and Co-Operation Develoipment, Sustainable Development's Glossary:]
Certified Historic Structure
  1. A building that is listed individually in the National Register of Historic Places -OR- a building that is located in a registered historic district and certified by the National Park Service as contributing to the historic significance of that district. The "structure" must be a building-not a bridge, ship, railroad car, or dam. (A registered historic district is any district listed in the National Register of Historic Places. A State or local historic district may also qualify as a registered historic district if the district and the enabling statute are certified by the Secretary of the Interior.)
Charitable Contribution
  1. A gift of cash or property to a tax-exempt 501(c) 3 organization (such as a land trust)
Charitable Remainder Unitrust
  1. An option for a landowner to donate property and receive regular income. The landowner places a conservation easement on his land, then sells and invests the proceeds from the sale. Beneficiaries receive payments for a fixed term or life. The remaining funds are then turned over to a land trust. [Source: Landowner Options, Land Conservancy of North Kingstown,]
  1. A charrette is type of public workshop where participants break into small groups to discuss and work through issues, then present their ideas to the larger group to clarify and consolidate concepts. Charrettes can vary in length from several hours to several days and involve any and all stakeholders. The goal of a charrette is to work through planning issues, hear a variety of perspectives, defuse po-tential conflicts, and promote joint ownership of the result-ing solutions.
Chesapeake Bay Watershed
  1. The area of land that drains into the Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake Bay watershed stretches across more than 64,000 square miles, encompassing parts of six states — Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia — and the entire District of Columbia. [source:]
Clean and Green (Act 319)
  1. The Clean and Green program is a state program designed to preserve agricultural and forest land. The purpose of ACT 319 is to provide a real estate tax benefit to owners of agricultural or forest land by taxing that land on the basis of its “use value” rather that its market value. This act provides preferential assessment to any individuals who agree to maintain their land solely devoted to agricultural use, agricultural reserve, or forest reserve use. [Source:]
Clean Water Act
  1. The Clean Water Act is the cornerstone of surface water quality protection in the United States. (The Act does not deal directly with ground water nor with water quantity issues.) The statute employs a variety of regulatory and nonregulatory tools to sharply reduce direct pollutant discharges into waterways, finance municipal wastewater treatment facilities, and manage polluted runoff. These tools are employed to achieve the broader goal of restoring and maintaining the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation's waters so that they can support "the protection and propagation of fish, shellfish, and wildlife and recreation in and on the water." The Clean Water Act was enacted in 1972 administered by the EPA. [Source: Introduction to the Clean Water Act, Watershed Academy Web,]
Clear Cut
  1. The removal of all trees in a specified area at one time
  1. The average weather conditions of a place over many years
  1. Clustering involves the arrangement of residential building lots in groups through a reduction in lot area and building setback requirements while still adhering to overall permitted density regulations, or possibly using a modest density incentive. This allows the re-maining area of the development to remain as open space, preserving environmentally sensitive areas such as woodlands, wetlands, prime farmland, floodplains, and steep slopes. Clustering can also re-duce infrastructure and maintenance expenses.
  1. In conservation easement work, a holder that jointly holds title to an easement with another holder. [Source: West Virginia LandTrust, Frequently Used Terms:]
Commercial Species
  1. In forest management, tree species currently or potentially suitable for commercial or industrial use. [source: DCNR State Forestry Resource Management Plan, Glossary of Terms:]
common law
  1. Law derived from the body of written opinions by judges in the cases that come before them; law stemming from judicial precedent rather than from statutes enacted by legislatures.
Compact Development
  1. Design philosophy in which the space needs of a population can be satisfied with less land area. [source: Pennsylvania Land Choices, An Educational Guide, Pennsylvania Department of Natural Resources in partnership with Pennsylvania Land Trust Association]
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)
  1. The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), commonly known as Superfund, was enacted by Congress on December 11, 1980. This law created a tax on the chemical and petroleum industries and provided broad Federal authority to respond directly to releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances that may endanger public health or the environment. Over five years, $1.6 billion was collected and the tax went to a trust fund for cleaning up abandoned or uncontrolled hazardous waste sites. CERCLA: * established prohibitions and requirements concerning closed and abandoned hazardous waste sites; * provided for liability of persons responsible for releases of hazardous waste at these sites; and * established a trust fund to provide for cleanup when no responsible party could be identified. The law authorizes two kinds of response actions: * Short-term removals, where actions may be taken to address releases or threatened releases requiring prompt response. * Long-term remedial response actions, that permanently and significantly reduce the dangers associated with releases or threats of releases of hazardous substances that are serious, but not immediately life threatening. These actions can be conducted only at sites listed on EPA's National Priorities List (NPL). CERCLA also enabled the revision of the National Contingency Plan (NCP). The NCP provided the guidelines and procedures needed to respond to releases and threatened releases of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants. [Source: EPA, CERCLA Overview:]
Conditional Transfers with Reverter Clause
  1. A deed restriction with power. It includes a clause that if the restrictions are violated the property is returned automatically to the original owner, his heirs, or a conservation organization [Source: Landowner Options, Land Conservancy of North Kingstown,]
  1. According to Merram Webster, (, consensus is a "general agreement" or "group solidarity in sentiment and belief". [Consensus focuses on the process used to reach a final decision. The understanding of how consensus is reached ranges from all participants in the process consenting to, but not necessarily agreeing upon, the final decision to all participants agreeing upon the final decision. Because individual understandings of the process of reaching consensus often vary, groups using it should clearly define the intended outcome prior to starting the process. ]
  1. An organization dedicated to conserving or protecting natural resources through various means, which may or may not include the actual acquisition of land or easements.
  1. The protection of land and related natural resources; may also refer to the management of resources to protect future value. [source: Glossary of Conservation Terms, Ridge and Valley Conservancy, Inc.,]
Conservation and Preservation Easements Act of 2001
  1. Until this law, Pennsylvania's land trusts have had to rely on "common law" when enforcing their conservation easements, which resulted in unnecessary legal expenses being incurred to defend against challenges to conservation easements. The Conservation and Preservation Easements Act changes this. At its heart, the Act says that, as a matter of public policy in Pennsylvania, conservation easements conforming to this law are valid. Furthermore, where there is ambiguity in an easement restriction, the Act directs the courts to interpret the restriction consistent with the purposes of the easement and the Act rather than favoring a conservation-unfriendly view of the restriction language. The Act does not prevent someone from challenging a conservation easement provision or an action taken by a land trust anyone can sue anyone for practically anything. Nor does it eliminate the need for a land trust to defend its position. However, it does reduce land trust financial and legal exposure as well as uncertainty in enforcement. In short, the Conservation and Preservation Easements Act: Reduces the legal costs associated with establishing the validity of a conservation easement, narrows the bases for challenging a conservation easement in court and eliminates a variety of ambiguities in easement law and creates a number of standards as covered in the following sections.
Conservation Buyer
  1. An individual who purchases land at full (or close to full price) and then place a conservation restriction on the land or a major portion of the land, ensuring its permanent conservation. Generally this is an individual of means. [source: Glossary of Conservation Terms, Ridge and Valley Conservancy, Inc.,]
Conservation District
  1. In 1945, Pennsylvania state legislators recognized the need to support grass-roots conservation efforts. As a result, the Conservation District Law was passed, and county conservation districts were created. Today there is a conservation district established in every Pennsylvania county except Philadelphia. Conservation districts implement a variety of programs, and provide assistance for a range of issues unique to their county, such as: abandoned mines, agricultural land preservation, Chesapeake Bay Program, Dirt & Gravel Roads Program, Environmental Education, Erosion and Sedimentation Pollution Control, Floodplain Management, Forest Management, Nutrient Management Program, Stormwater Management, Waterway Protection, West Nile Virus Surveillance Program and Wildlife Management. Each Conservation District is led by a Board of Directors made up of local people from all walks of life. These volunteers study county natural resource issues and make decisions which enhance and protect the local community. [source:]
Conservation Easement
  1. An interest in real property that provides its holder the right and power to block land uses within a particular property that are inconsistent with the conservation purposes of the easement. The conservation purposes of the easement define the scope of the easement holder’s power and the corollary limits of landowners’ freedom to use the property as they wish.
  2. A nonpossessory interest of a holder in real property, whether appurtenant or in gross, imposing limitations or affirmative obligations, the purposes of which include, but are not limited to, retaining or protecting for the benefit of the public and economic benefit the natural, scenic or open space values of real property; assuring its availability for agricultural, forest, recreational or open-space use; protecting, conserving or managing the use of natural resources; protecting wildlife; maintaining or enhancing land, air or water quality or preserving the historical, architectural, archaeological or cultural aspects of real property. [Definition quoted from Pennsylvania's Conservation and Preservation Easements Act]
Conservation Easement Assistance Program (CEAP)
  1. The Conservation Easement Assistance Program provides small grants to conservation organizations to help cover the costs of: completing conservation and trail easement agreements, amending and restating older easements, establishing or updating baseline documentation and installing signs on eased properties. The program seeks to increase the quantity of easements completed and special places protected and increase the quality and long-term viability of easements. To accomplish this, the program requires that organizations do the job right and provides the financial means to do so.
Conservation easement enabling statute
  1. The state law that authorizes the use of easements and specifies how easements can be used. [Source: Elizabeth Byers and Karin Marchetti Ponti, The Conservation Easement Handbook, Published by the Trust for Public Land and the Land Trust Alliance, 2005.]
Conservation Easement Stewardship
  1. All aspects of a holder’s management of a conservation easement after its acquisition, including: monitoring; landowner relations; recordkeeping; processing landowner notices, requests for approval and amendments; managing stewardship funds; and enforcement and defense. [Source: West Virginia LandTrust, Frequently Used Terms:]
Conservation Purposes
  1. In conservation easement work, the purposes a conservation easement must serve to be a tax-deductible donation, as defined by Internal Revenue Code (IRC)§170(h) and the assciated Treasury Regulations. Not to be confused with the purpose statement (also called purpose clause) of a conservation easement. [Source: Elizabeth Byers and Karin Marchetti Ponti, The Conservation Easement Handbook, Published by the Trust for Public Land and the Land Trust Alliance, 2005.]
Conservation Referendum
  1. Enables citizens of a local municipality to vote to establish a dedicated tax for open space protection. It also enables citizens to approve borrowing beyond normal debt limits by counties or local municipalities for conservation projects. See the Conservation Referendum tool for more detailed information
Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)
  1. CREP is a voluntary land retirement program that helps agricultural producers protect environmentally sensitive land, decrease erosion, restore wildlife habitat, and safeguard ground and surface water. The program is a partnership among producers; tribal, state, and federal governments; and, in some cases, private groups. CREP is an offshoot of the country's largest private-lands environmental improvement program - the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). CREP is administered by USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA). By combining CRP resources with state, tribal, and private programs, CREP provides farmers and ranchers with a sound financial package for conserving and enhancing the natural resources of farms. This program was initiated following the 1996 farm bill and is funded through the Commodity Credit Corporation, CCC. [source: Conservation Programs, United States Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency,]
Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)
  1. The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) provides technical and financial assistance to eligible farmers and ranchers to address soil, water, and related natural resource concerns on their lands in an environmentally beneficial and cost-effective manner. The program provides assistance to farmers and ranchers in complying with Federal, State, and tribal environmental laws, and encourages environmental enhancement. The program is funded through the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC). CRP is administered by the Farm Service Agency, with NRCS providing technical land eligibility determinations, conservation planning and practice implementation. The Conservation Reserve Program reduces soil erosion, protects the Nation's ability to produce food and fiber, reduces sedimentation in streams and lakes, improves water quality, establishes wildlife habitat, and enhances forest and wetland resources. It encourages farmers to convert highly erodible cropland or other environmentally sensitive acreage to vegetative cover, such as tame or native grasses, wildlife plantings, trees, filterstrips, or riparian buffers. Farmers receive an annual rental payment for the term of the multi-year contract. Cost sharing is provided to establish the vegetative cover practices. [Source:]
Conservation Servitude
  1. A servitude is a device that connects rights and obligations to owning land. These rights and obligations will transfer to future owners of the land. (this is further discussed in the servitude definition). In a conservation servitude, these rights and obligations are for the purpose of conservation. Conservation purposes include retaining or protecting the natural, scenic or open-space value of land, assuring the availability of land for agricultural, forest, recreational or open-space use, protecting natural resources, including plant and wildlife habitats and ecosystems, and maintaining or enhancing air or water quality or supply. [Source:]
Conservation Subdivision Design
  1. A form of development that encourages developers to reduce lot size and keep more of the area dedicated to open space [source: Pennsylvania Land Choices, An Educational Guide, Pennsylvania Department of Natural Resources in partnership with Pennsylvania Land Trust Association]
Conservation Values
  1. A valuation system based on the type and amount of natural resources, biodiversity, open space, historic, or recreational resources present in an area. For example, land may have a high conservation value if it contains habitat for endangered species or if it has open space in a highly developed area. [Source: Glossary of Land Conservation Terms and Techniques, Triangle Land Conservancy:]
  1. n. Something of value given by both parties to a contract that induces them to enter into the agreement to exchange mutual performances.
  1. Conditions that must be met if a contract is to be performed.
Contract of Adhesion
  1. A contract that so strongly favors one party or so unfairly restricts another, that it creates a presumption that one party had no choice when entering into it. If a court determines that the contract is overly unfair, it may refuse to enforce the agreement against the disadvantaged party. [Excerpted from Nolo's Plain-English Law Dictionary at]
Cost of Community Service Studies (COCS)
  1. Cost of Community Service Studies assist municipal officials and citizens in understanding the income and costs related to different land use categories within their jurisdiction. See the COCS tool for more detailed information.
  1. A written promise contained in a contract, lease, deed or other form of agreement Also known as a restriction. [Source: Glossary of Land Conservation Terms and Techniques, Triangle Land Conservancy:]
Cy pres
  1. As close as possible