Over the past 40 years, millions of acres of land have been conserved through the use of conservation easements. The law of conservation easements was developed for widespread use in the 1980s, and there are still some unsettled questions associated with this incredibly useful conservation tool. CLC has been among the nation's leaders in educating conservation organizations about the law of conservation easements, and in developing standards and advocating for improvement and clarity in the law.
Freshwater ecosystems are home to over 40% of the world's fish species and many other creatures great and small. These ecosystems are threatened by dam building, draining of wetlands for developments purposes, industrial pollution, and agricultural runoff. 70% of stream segments in Indiana are classified as impaired, as well as more than 95% of lakes, ponds, and reservoirs. The goal of our work is to maintain the biological, chemical, and functional attributes of water bodies by providing legal support and influencing public policy.
The United States is home to nearly 1,400 non-profits working to conserve land. Many of these are small, community-based organizations with limited financial resources. By providing pro bono legal assistance to land trusts, we allow them to focus their limited resources on issues more directly related to their missions - such as protecting and maintaining land entrusted to them.
Threatened and Endangered Wildlife and Ecosystems
Of the 200 listed endangered animal and 300 plant species listed endangered in the United States, about 30% can be found in the Midwest. Local endangered species like the Fanshell Mussel are imperiled by habitat destruction and more direct causes of mortality. Our work aims to minimize harm to endangered species and ecosystems.
Public Trust Doctrine
The Public Trust Doctrine protects places from the Lake Michigan shoreline to the banks of the Mississippi river. CLC is working to ensure the laws are clearly written and interpreted for the benefit of the public.