Stewardship Calculator and Handbook


Ever wondered how to ensure your restoration or protection project is successful 10, 20, 50 years from now? The following resources are available to help practitioners calculate long-term management costs:
Calculators: An excel file with four tabs that walks users through different cost inputs. Practitioners enter in localized dollar amounts in blue boxes. For a short tutorial on the calculator, watch for an upcoming video. To sign up to receive notifications of updates to the calculator, please send an e-mail.
Accompanying handbook: The handbook mirrors the format of the calculator and is meant to be a side-by-side resource for users filling in the calculator. Users can read the full handbook or just use sections where they have questions on specific costs. There are helpful tips on estimating costs throughout the handbook that may be useful for first time users or new project managers.
Quick reference guide: This is a short “cheat sheet” with instructions for using the calculator. Practitioners who have used the calculator and handbook before may find this a useful tool to remind them of key considerations when using the tool.

Calculator Factsheet: Looking for an easy way to explain to a colleague why the calculator is important and what resources are available? This two-page handout is just what you need!
We can invest a great deal of time and money in protecting and restoring a site, but the key to achieving lasting conservation outcomes is to ensure that sufficient funding is available for long-term stewardship of the site into the future. Unfortunately, costs associated with long-term stewardship are inherently difficult to predict and often underestimated. If adequate funds are not set aside, there’s the risk that the natural resources will become degraded over time. For compensatory mitigation sites, this could ultimately result in a net loss of aquatic resources or needing to raise additional funds to maintain the site, both of which would mean the original project does not meet its full mitigation requirements.
To help tackle this problem, The Nature Conservancy convened national experts to develop a free and simple calculator that estimates stewardship costs and the amount that should be set aside to provide a secure source of future funding.
The calculator can be used by land managers to estimate the long-term stewardship costs associated with voluntary conservation projects, both for conservation easements and fee-owned land.
For compensatory mitigation projects, the calculator can be used by mitigation providers to estimate long-term management costs, by long-term stewards and easement holders to determine the funding they will need to complete long-term management tasks before they assume such responsibility and by regulators to ensure sufficient funds are set aside for long-term management.
This easy to use tool helps consolidate and highlight common expenses to improve the ease and accuracy of calculating costs.

Additional Resources

Environmental Law Institute. 2012. Wetland and Stream Mitigation: A Handbook for Land Trusts. Washington, DC,
Long-Term Management Plan template for conservation and mitigation banks in California (a good example for reference):
Additional templates developed by various USACE Districts may be available on the RIBITS (Regulatory In-lieu fee and Bank Information Tracking System):
Land Trust Alliance Resources
The Land Trust Alliance’s Learning Center contains many resources for members and partners:
Land Trust Alliance Conservation Defense:
Land Trust Alliance Legal Defense Reserves Calculator. The tool is available to Alliance members here: Non-members can request access by emailing
Terrafirma Risk Retention Group LLC helps land trusts insure against legal challenges to easements or fee-owned land:
Land Trust Standards and Practices
Bates, S.K. and T. Van Ryn, eds. 2006. Land Trust Standards and Practices Guidebook: An Operating Manual for Land Trusts, Volume 1 and 2, revised. Land Trust Alliance.
Bouplon, R. and B. Lind. 2008. Conservation Easement Stewardship. Standards and Practices Curriculum. Ed. Sylvia Bates. Land Trust Alliance.
Brown, H. and A. Pitz. 2008. Caring for Land Trust Properties. Standards and Practices Curriculum. Ed. Sylvia Bates. Land Trust Alliance.
Doscher, P., B. Lind, E. Sturgis and C. West. 2007. Determining Stewardship Costs and Raising and Managing Dedicated Funds. Standards and Practices Curriculum. Ed. Sylvia Bates. Land Trust Alliance.
Ratley-Beach, L. 2009. Managing Conservation Easements in Perpetuity. Standards and Practices Curriculum. Ed. Sylvia Bates. Land Trust Alliance.
Rowley, E. and K. Sohl. 2010. Financial Management of Land Trusts. Standards and Practices Curriculum. Ed. Sylvia Bates. Land Trust Alliance.