What We Do

To permanently protect land, property owners may convey a variety of property interests to Sakonnet Preservation Association.

There are the two principal conservation tools:


  • Leaves land in private ownership.
  • Can result in an income tax deduction and reduced property and estate taxes.

A Conservation Easement is a legal agreement between a landowner and Sakonnet Preservation that permanently limits a property’s uses in order to protect its conservation values. A conservation easement offers several advantages.

  • It allows the owner to sell it or pass it on to heirs.
  • It can significantly lower estate taxes–sometimes making the difference between heirs being able to keep land in the family or needing to sell it. In addition, an easement can provide the landowner with income tax and property tax benefits.
  • It is flexible, and can be written to meet the particular needs of the landowner while protecting the property’s resources.
  • It is permanent, remaining in force when the land changes hands. Sakonnet Preservation ensures the restrictions continue to be followed.


Land donated for conservation is truly one of the finest legacies a person can leave to future generations. It is an appealing option for a number of reasons.

  • It is a relatively simple transaction.
  • It releases the donor from the responsibility of managing the land.
  • It provides substantial income tax deductions and estate tax benefits (while avoiding any capital gains taxes that would result from selling the property).

Donating land is often especially attractive to landowners

  • whose land has significant conservation values and who do not have heirs, or whose heirs cannot or will not protect it:
  • who own property (such as a vacation retreat) that they no longer use;
  • who own highly appreciated property, the sale of which would result in large capital gains taxes;
  • who have substantial real estate holdings and wish to reduce estate tax burdens;
  • or who would like to be relieved of the responsibility of managing and caring for land that they otherwise treasure.

Consideration of conservation resources:

When assessing whether a property is appropriate for conservation with Sakonnet Preservation, conformance with IRS criteria for charitable conservation gifts that provide public benefit, as well as aspect’s of the Town’s Comprehensive Community Plan are taken into account. Conservation resources that are considered to have public benefit include forest, shoreline, wetlands, animal habitat, farmland, scenic views, unique flora and fauna, historic features or uses.

The benefits of conserving your land include:

  • The security of knowing your property will be protected according to your wishes forever.
  • The assurance that your property will be monitored to protect its conservation values by our annual Stewardship Monitoring Program.
  • The satisfaction of contributing to protecting a measure of the rural character and natural resources of Little Compton for generations to come.
  • The potential eligibility for substantial local and federal tax deductions as a result of your charitable gift.

Other helpful info:  Please click here to view “Building with Little Compton in Mind – A Handbook of Ideas and Resources”

Please click on (Frequently Asked Questions) for further information, call or e-mail our office at 401-635-8800 or  (spa@sakonnetpreservation.org).


How can I get more information to determine whether or not I want to conserve my property?

Sakonnet Preservation Association has books, booklets, and pamphlets that outline conservation options as well as policies and procedures for donating property. Call 635-8800 or send an email to the office at (spa@sakonnetpreservation.org).
In addition, log onto the Land Trust Alliance website where detailed information pertaining to conservation is available for land trusts around the country. 

Would Sakonnet Preservation Association be interested in buying my land?

Typically Sakonnet Preservation receives either conservation easements or a property gifted by donation. Occasionally Sakonnet Preservation purchases land, but it is unusual.

Are there tax benefits for putting a conservation easement on my property?

Yes, please consult with a tax advisor about the potential tax benefits of conserving your land. The Land Trust Alliance website outlines the most current federal tax incentives for conservation easements. More information can be found at Internal Revenue Code § 170(h) Qualified Conservation Contribution, (www.irs.gov), and IRS Form 8283 Noncash Charitable Contributions, (www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8283.pdf).

How will conserving my property affect my local property tax?

Consult with the Little Compton Board of Assessors Office at the Little Compton Town Hall (www.little-compton.com). That office in the Little Compton Town Hall can be reached by calling: 635-4509.

What is “stewardship”?

Stewardship is the careful and responsible management of a conservation easement or land entrusted to our organization’s care. Sakonnet Preservation’s Stewardship ensures that each property held, either as a conservation easement or as a property donated outright, is visited every year. Monitors check for any encroachment or damage to a property’s conservation values. Stewarding the properties we own may additionally involve such maintenance responsibilities as keeping fields open by mowing to protect habitat or historic uses, working to reduce invasive species, and removing litter.

What is stewardship “in perpetuity”?

Sakonnet Preservation takes on the responsibility, when it accepts a conservation easement or a gift of property for conservation, to steward and protect its conservation values forever.