The conservation partnership in North Carolina tested an “out of the box” model to determine if private landowners are willing to place term limited restrictions on their property, making the air space above their property more compatible with military aviation training. Restrictions included keeping land in forestry and agriculture, limiting tall structures and upward shining light, and restrictions on clustered development and non-agribusiness related structures. The model sought to determine if landowners would be willing to participate through term limited contracts (10, 20, 30 years) and, if so, what compensation would be acceptable. The model used a market based reverse bid process over multiple bid rounds to determine a floor and ceiling pricing that would be acceptable to both the private landowner and the military. Although not fully tested, the model clearly indicated a willingness by private landowners to participate as reflected by the number of applicants. The model also indicated a trending of a price point that would be acceptable to both the landowner and the military. The model was delivered by a diverse and effective partnership, including the North Carolina Foundation for Soil and Water Conservation and 18 local soil and water conservation districts. Results not only will be of benefit in protecting away space through future efforts but also in multiple cases where landowners may not be receptive to easements and/or perpetual solutions.
Landowners can find out more about their eligibility and how to enroll in innovative conservation programs by contacting their local soil and water conservation district. The North Carolina soil and water conservation districts provide technical resources to landowners, helping to address natural resource concerns on private properties through technical assistance, various urban and rural cost-share programs and other USDA Farm Bill programs.
Point of Contact: Michelle Lovejoy, Executive Director