What happens during a monitoring visit?
The purpose of a monitoring visit is for MFT to learn about plans for a protected property and to observe different parts of the property. Stewards schedule these visits annually in order to ensure that the activities on a property are allowed by the conservation easement.
A steward first contacts landowners by phone or e-mail to schedule a visit at a time of year that is convenient for the landowner. Most monitoring visits occur between the months of April to early December, during weekdays. Depending on the size of the property, a monitoring visit normally takes approximately 1-4 hours.
During a monitoring visit, stewards need to observe different parts of the property, such as Farmstead and other Building Areas, property boundaries, road frontage, forest and woods roads, fields, and locations where there are new structures or future construction planned. If the property is large, stewards will try to visit a different portion each year rather than trying to walk an entire property boundary at each visit, for example.
During a visit, stewards collect field data, such as GPS tracks to show where they have walked, GPS points to show the locations of features on the property (such as a new structure or a boundary monument), photographs to depict changes on the property (such as a new structure or the condition of a field), and written notes. After a monitoring visit, stewards use this data to create a monitoring report that includes a map, text, and photographs. Stewards will mail a copy of this report to landowners in the months after the visit along with a letter describing whether or not the activities on the property comply with the terms of your conservation easement.