Environmentally Sensitive Land Acquisition


Since 1985, the Conservancy has acquired environmentally sensitive lands and parcels for public access, stream environment zone and wildlife protection purposes. About 4,300 of the Conservancy’s 4,600 parcels qualify as environmentally sensitive.

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Program Elements

Willing Seller Policy

The willing-seller environmentally sensitive lands program has proven successful,  It offers an alternative to landowners who find it difficult to develop their parcels under regional planning policies or who are searching for opportunities to contribute to the environmental protection of the Lake Tahoe.

Collaborative Effort

In addition to direct acquisition activities by the Conservancy, the Environmentally Sensitive Lands program facilitates acquisitions through grants and land exchanges to the U.S. Forest Service and other public agencies for sensitive lands located in their jurisdiction.

While most of the Conservancy’s acquisitions are small subdivided parcels, several large areas have been acquired as well. To date, the Conservancy’s largest single parcel is 544 acres in the Dollar Creek area of Carnelian Bay.

The opportunity to acquire vast acreages at one time helps provide continuous public protection of upper watershed areas.  These areas, complement thousands of small parcels acquired in locations closer to Lake Tahoe. Large tracts of land are most easily integrated into either adjoining state parks or surrounding forest managed by the U.S. Forest Service.

Acquisition Criteria

In order for the Conservancy to consider the purchase of a parcel under the Environmentally Sensitive Lands program, it must meet specific criteria. These criteria can be found under the ESL Acquisition Criteria. 

Current Acquisition Priorities

Due to current funding restrictions, the Conservancy must create a priority for potential acquisitions under the willing-seller program. Currently, the Conservancy’s primary priority is the purchase of those parcels located in areas where roads were never created. The Conservancy believes that development of these parcels would create the greatest environmental damage.

If your parcel is located in a road-less area, the Conservancy is interested in evaluating your parcel. Please view the Land Acquisition Contact Letter for further details. If you are interested in our program, please complete and return the Permission Form. If your parcel is eligible for our program, the Conservancy will order an appraisal, preliminary title report, and on-site inspection at no cost to you.