The Compatible Land Foundation is a non-profit land trust that works in communities throughout the U.S. where it is the designated Readiness and Environmental Integration (REPI) program partner to a local military installation.  The REPI program is Department of Defenses (DOD) premier program designed to support military training at installations by guarding against encroachment and reducing incompatible uses, thus allowing important installation-specific training and operations to continue.

Currently, CLF is the REPI partner for 17 installations in 10 states and is in ongoing discussions with several additional military bases.  As the REPI partner, CLF is the ‘on the ground’ organization that works with willing landowners to place a conservation easement on their land.

A conservation easement under the REPI program is a voluntary legal agreement between a willing landowner and CLF that permanently preserves compatible land use, in order to allow military training activities to continue on these local bases, while also protecting the lands rural characteristics and working lands.  Landowners retain many of their rights, including the right to own and use the land, sell it and pass it on to their heirs.  However, an easement under the REPI program will include some restrictions to guard against incompatible uses.

For example, maintaining dark skies around Hill Air Force Base in Utah, is critical in order to allow U.S. military pilots to sharpen their combat skills under night flying conditions.  Given this priority, CLF easements for lands adjacent to Hill AFB may include restrictions on lighting to ensure dark skies training conditions are maintained.

While the military certainly benefits, a conservation easement also offers significant benefit to the landowner.  A conservation easement ensures that the family property is maintained and conserved in perpetuity, protecting the land, waters and wildlife and maintaining open space.  CLF also pays the landowner for allowing the easement on their land.  In addition, a conservation easement can also offer significant tax benefits that we encourage landowners to explore with a tax expert.

CLF is grateful to the many landowners we have worked with over the years.  By working together, we have created a win-win situation where property owners have received significant value and peace of mind, and the military readiness of our Nation’s troops is maintained.

If you are interested in learning more about CLF and its programs, please contact Dan Chapin, Director of Military Partnerships (dchapin@compatiblelands.org).