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Project Criteria

In order to make the best use of our resources, each conservation project that comes to the Bayfield Regional Conservancy must be reviewed against the criteria listed below. These criteria helps us identify significant projects and justify why we work on some projects and not others. These criteria are intended to offer guidance to the land projects committee, not a ranking or score. Local wisdom is valued in subjective review of each potential project.

Type of Land
Plant and animal habitat
Scenic or open space
Farmland and commercial woodlands
Steep slopes

Other factors
Adjacent land use
Cost (transaction cost, monitoring costs, funds generated)
Project restrictions and reserved rights
Land management needs
Limited development potential

Additional conditions that warrant attention
Pollution concerns (fuel tanks etc.)
Title of ownership not clear
Future allowable uses that will be difficult to monitor (eg. sub-diivision)
Access problems
Education value of project
Survey on record or not
Conservancy staff capacity for project
Other factors

Guiding Principles
The Bayfield Regional Conservancy's service area is primarily Bayfield County, Wisconsin. Conservation projects may also be carried out in the adjoining counties of Ashland, Douglas, Sawyer, Washburn.

Community support is important for Conservancy projects. Support may include encouragement by community members for a project, financial support, or support for projects identified in local park and open space plans or land use plans.

Projects with high value for education about private land conservation or other creative conservation methods will be a priority as "showcase" projects.

Conservancy goals may be accomplished not only through Conservancy sponsored projects, but also by providing technical assistance to local governments and agencies to help them accomplish their conservation goals.

Desirable features for preservation
The Bayfield Regional Conservancy protects lands that possess certain natural features that represent a broad range of ecosystems that enhance the quality of life.
The natural qualities we seek to protect include:

Plant and animal habitat that represents viable ecological communities found in this region. This may include natural areas identified in the Nature Conservancy's Great Lakes Eco-Region Plan and other natural history inventories, or habitat of endangered or threatened species identified by State and Federal agencies.

Scenic quality and open space that make our region beautiful and are the reason we live here.

Wetlands that provide important wildlife and plant habitat, filter water and help to recharge the water table for drinking water.

Waterfront land that is undeveloped on Lake Superior, inland lakes and rivers that provides important habitat and the aesthetic beauty of the northwoods.

Farmland and commercial woodlots that provide food and fiber and a rural landscape that contributes to a sustainable economy. This includes farms that are situated where soils, aspect and elevation create a microclimate that is superior for growing

Steep slopes that need protection from inappropriate building or grading that cause irreversible erosion and sedimentation of rivers and lakes.

Size, the size of the project must be adequate to accomplish the protection goal.

Adjacent land use - the surrounding land use affects the success of a protection project. Is the project adjacent to other protected lands? Does it "buffer" critical habitat? Or is it an isolated greenspace with little conservation value?

Cost - land projects which require the purchase of land must meet additional criteria such as reasonable price, the potential for support from neighbors and the local community, and the ability of BRC to set-aside an endowment to cover stewardship costs (monitoring, management, legal enforcement if necessary, etc.).

Project restrictions and reserved rights - the remaining rights of the landowner must not interfere with the conservation purposes of the project.

Land management - the BRC must have the capacity to adequately monitor properties upon which it holds conservation easements. If the BRC holds management rights or fee title to a property, the BRC must have the capacity to do this well.

Limited development projects - the Bayfield Regional Conservancy is interested in a balance of development and land protection. A limited development may sometimes be appropriate in a project. A limited development must have significant conservation values, it cannot be just a marketing scheme by the developer. A minimum of 60% of the land must be dedicated for open space protection. The BRC board must be kept fully informed as to any related permits, variances, or legal approvals of development.