Land Conservation

The Acquisition of Conservation Easement (ACE) program has been an extremely important tool for the protection of rural resources in Albemarle County. Of the almost 100,000 acres of protected land in Albemarle County almost 10% of it has been protected through the ACE program.

placeholder image Photo by Patricia Temples.

The ACE program protects land by purchasing the conservation easement from a landowner with a cash payment and as a result, it offers a meaningful incentive to lower income property owners who may not benefit as much from the donation of an easement.

The 2017 application deadline is October 31. For more information and an enrollment application, interested citizens should visit the county website at or contact Ches Goodall, the ACE Program Administrator, at 434-296-5832 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

More about the program

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Any landowner in Albemarle County whose land is worthy of protection is eligible to participate in ACE. An evaluation system is used to rank the conservation value of properties that apply and to establish an order for making offers to acquire an easement. The Program will pay up to 100% of easement value (depending on a landowners average adjusted gross income) until the funds are used up.

Since the program’s inception in 2000, the County has closed on 48 easements totaling 9,284 protected acres while eliminating 537 development rights on those properties. This has translated to the preservation of a significant number of family farms that together have protected over 108,000 linear feet of stream and river frontage with riparian buffers, many of which lie in our drinking supply watersheds.

ACE has helped to protect many significant family farms over the years by acquiring easements with a lump-sum payment. In many cases, this has helped to reduce debt, buy new equipment, and make improvements to the farms.

The ACE program, aimed at preserving open space, natural resources, forestland, and farmland in Albemarle County through the purchase of development rights, was established by the Board of Supervisors in 2000 in response to accelerating development pressures created by the County’s continuing growth and urbanization. Although conservation easements restrict how a landowner can subdivide and develop their property, they retain full ownership of the land and can continue farming and timbering it. An easement is taxed at land-use rates. Easements provide a lasting benefit to the public through the protection of open space, scenic beauty, wildlife habitats, air and water quality, and resources of historical, cultural and ecological significance.

Learn more at


Conservation Questions?

Our Land Conservation Staff work throughout the Piedmont.

Find the PEC staff person nearest you.

For general questions, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Free Easement Packet

Important information about conservation easements -- including a sample PEC Easement and guidelines on how to proceed with donating a easement.

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