Land Trust Resources

We strive to keep key resources readily accessible to Wisconsin land trusts.  Below are documents to download and links to other information useful to land trust boards and staff.

Photo Courtesy of Eric Sherman

If you have suggestions about resources your land trust would like to have available here, please let us know. Thanks!

Navigating this page – Including Wisconsin-specific categories:

•  Financials

♦  Public Policy Resources

♦  Database Resources

♦  Board Resources


•  Professionals in the Field


•  Conservation Transactions

♦  Important Documents

♦  Record-keeping Resources

♦  Employee Compensation

♦  Soliciting Funds in Other States

♦  Financial and Amendment Policies


•  Conservation Easements

          ♦  Baseline Resources

          ♦  Monitoring Resources


•  Funding Opportunities


•  Comprehensive Resources for Land Trusts


Wisconsin-Specific Resources & Documents

Land Trust Governance & Operations



A useful financials checklist - do you have your processes in order?

Database Resources:

·    A consumer's guide to low-cost donor management from Idealware.

·    Reviews of donor management software from Idealware.

·    Database software survey conducted by the Land Trust Alliance


Public Policy Resources:

·      Suggested criteria for engaging in public policy


Board Resources:

·    Sample board manual table of contents (from the Land Trust Alliance)

·    Sample policy manual (extensive)

·    Sample board manual table of contents (from Door County Land Trust)

·    Board self assessment - how does your board measure up? (from the Grassroots Fundraising Journal)

·    Explanation of coverage under Wisconsin law: does your board need Directors and Officers insurance? (from Madison-based attorney, Johanna Allex)

·    A dashboard model example for board financial reports (from Ozaukee Washington Land Trust)




Professionals in the Field


·    WI DNR list of appraisers




Conservation Transactions


Important Documents:

·    WI DNR Tenancy Agreement (for use as a sample)

·    WI DNR Real Estate Contract & Appraisal Report Guidelines

·    Project Selection Guidelines (from Natural Heritage Land Trust)

·    Sample Agreement-to-Proceed letter for a donated conservation easement


Record-keeping Resources:

·    Example records retention policy (from Little Forks Conservancy, MI)

·    Example land records policy (from Little Forks Conservancy, MI)

·    Helpful guidelines for creating a land records policy

·    Land Trust Alliance record-keeping resources


Employee Compensation:

·    National Salary and Benefits Survey (2010)


Soliciting Funds in Other States

·    Chart of state nonprofit registration and solicitation requirements resources


Financial and Amendment Policies:

Record policies from other land trusts

·    Leelanau Conservancy conservation easement policy


Conservation Easements


·    Conservation easement cost analysis overview (from Minnesota Land Trust)

·    Easement cost analysis worksheet (from Minnesota Land Trust)


Baseline Resources:

·    Acknowledgment of Property Conditions template (from Natural Heritage Land Trust)

·    Landowner conservation easement acceptance resolution template (from Natural Heritage Land Trust)

·    Baseline documentation checklist (example from Leelanau Conservancy)


Monitoring Resources:

·    Monitoring form template (from Natural Heritage Land Trust)

·    Volunteer Monitoring Guide [3MB] (from Minnesota Land Trust)


Funding Opportunities, not an exhaustive list


Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program

This Wisconsin state program provides matching funds to municipalities or non-profit organizations for the purchase of land or conservation easements. Protection priorities include wildlife habitat, lands with specific ecological value, stream corridors, land for state trails, and the restoration of wetlands and grasslands.

River Planning and Protection Grants

These grants provide state cost sharing assistance for planning, protecting and restoring local river systems. Counties, towns, cities, villages, tribes, and other local government units, as well as non-profit groups and qualified river management organizations are eligible to apply.

Farm and Ranchlands Protection Program

The Federal Farm and Ranchland Protection Program (FRPP) is administered by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and provides matching funds to a state, tribe, local government, or non-profit organization to purchase conservation easements or development rights on working farms and ranches. For more information, see also Wisconsin’s NRCS web site.

Lake and Aquatic Invasives Grants

Wisconsin has several types of lake grants available to qualified lake organizations and municipalities. These grants are for the protection and improvement of water quality in lakes and their ecosystems.


A note about what's not on this web page - The Land Trust Alliance's Learning Center is an extensive online library of resources for land trusts.  We do not aim to re-create their library.  Instead, we've culled information and resources especially helpful or important to land trusts in Wisconsin.


Comprehensive Resources for Land Trusts


Land Trust Standards and Practices

There are several fundamental elements to running an effective, sustainable land trust organization. The Land Trust Alliance, a national organization which serves the land trust community, has compiled these fundamentals into a guidebook called Land Trust Standards and Practices.  


Learn more about Land Trust Standards and Practices


Wisconsin Land Trust Statement of Principles

Land trusts that are members of Gathering Waters attest to the Wisconsin Land Trust Statement of Principles, affirming their dedication to the highest professional standards for "the protection of local, regional, and statewide natural resources that contribute to the ecological, social, and economic well being of our communities.”

Download a PDF of the Statement of Principles


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