USFWS PLANS TO USE CONSERVATION EASEMENTS TO CONTROL THE FOOTHILLS SURROUNDING THE SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (formerly Fish and Game) is launching a California Foothills Legacy Area program to control the foothills surround the San Joaquin Valley, "three foothills" deep. That means control of water, cattle, land uses, development, access, hunting, and more. This is the template being used for the easements; my notes were added as bookmarks.
The USFWS is launching the program by holding meetings from August 1 to August 9 in Porterville, Bakersfield, Modesto, Merced, Mariposa, Los Banos, and Hollister. I encourage people to attend, take notes & video, and ask lots of probing questions.
Our country was founded on the idea of private property, i.e., the perpetual and debt-free ownership of land. This was accomplished through land grants, called Land Patents. As stated in the Constitution, federal ownership or control of lands was to be tightly constrained to enumerated uses, and acquired only through specific means. Conservations is not a stated purpose, nor is acquisition for private individuals a permitted method. Read the DRA Jurisdiction page for a full explanation.
Conservation Easements have been used for many years, and have to be done by the owner of the property. There are some different criteria that have been used from time to time, either to determine what can be done with a conservation easement, or who takes control of the land after a conservation easement agreement has been enacted.
This seems to be a standardization of criteria from the Fish and Wildlife Service for this particular area. But nothing can be done without the agreement of the landowner.
It's similar to the "All Lands" approach touted by the Forest Service. They want to influence what happens on private land in and around a forest, but when asked, they say that they can't force any private property to do anything without the owner's agreement. Agencies might want to have more influence, but they really don't.
That said, it doesn't stop them from approaching land owners and asking them for conservation easements, and misleading land owners. The land owner has to be knowledgeable.