A conservation covenant is a written agreement between a landowner and a covenant holder, typically a local government, land trust or other conservation organization. The landowner agrees to protect the land as specified in the covenant, and to allow the covenant holder to monitor compliance. Covenants are attached to the land title, and remain in effect when the land is sold. They can be used to prohibit or restrict subdivision, development or other land uses, and to require that lands or amenities be conserved, restored or used for specified purposes. 'Amenities' may include a wide variety of features, including wildlife, plants, or environmental values.
Local governments often require conservation covenants as a condition of land subdivision, rezoning, or development permits to protect riparian areas, retain native vegetation or restrict access. Often land trusts or other conservation organizations co-hold the covenant with local governments, and take on the compliance monitoring responsibilities.