“Stewardship” is the overall management and oversight of all Ausbon Sargent Land Preservation Trust (ASLPT) conservation easement and fee owned properties. We are legally and ethically obligated to monitor and enforce the provisions of each easement forever. This obligation requires time (people- both paid staff and trained volunteers) and money.
Stewardship includes the physical inspection, referred to as monitoring, of each easement property on a yearly basis . We depend on a wonderful, well trained group of volunteers, as well as the Ausbon Sargent staff, for physically monitoring our easement properties. Additionally, Ausbon Sargent is committed to providing a level of easement stewardship that will maintain good landowner relationships and avoid most easement violation situations. Our staff and legal advisors regularly manage details associated with the properties such as:
- defending easements
- record keeping
- building landowner relationships
- landowner, staff and volunteer education
- rectifying compliance issues
- considering reserved rights (approval or disapproval)
- and providing reference materials to landowners
In order to carry out these critical stewardship obligations, Ausbon Sargent's Quasi-Endowment has two board designated funds:
- The Stewardship Fund - supports the non-legal costs for stewardship of our easements and fee owned properties, including (but not limited to) staff time, monitor training, supplies, record storage, and maintenance of our properties. Such a fund is a requirement of all accredited land trusts.
- The Enforcement Fund - supports the legal defense of any of our easements. It can be used either for mediation or court costs or for legal and professional services to resolve compliance issues. Such a fund is a requirement of all accredited land trusts.
Ausbon Sargent's Quasi-Endowment also includes a General Reserve Fund to finance special opportunities as they arise or to address temporary funding shortfalls.
To meet its obligations, the Board of Trustees has determined that the endowment should provide 20% of ASLPT's operating budget in the future--an amount sufficient to meet the costs of stewarding its current and future properties. The balance of the operating budget derives from membership dues, the Annual Fund, grants and gifts, and investment income.
The Investment Policy provides that up to 4% of the endowment funds may be used each year for this purpose--a prudent and conservative withdrawal rate based on a conservative average growth rate of 6% per year for invested capital.
ASLPT has also adopted a policy that each new conserved property must contribute to the endowment to support future obligations on that property.