Conservation Partners is dedicated to promoting the preservation of land. Conservation Partners specializes in advising, negotiating, and drafting agreements to protect agricultural lands, natural habitats, and open spaces. The team has successfully completed a vast array of transactions involving conservation easements, land acquisitions and sales, and carbon projects; we have also successfully resolved stewardship issues that arise post-transaction. The work of Conservation Partners has resulted in hundreds of thousands of acres of land being conserved for the benefit of the public and in some cases for public use.
Conservation Partners’ practice ranges from legal services to consulting to mediation services. We excel in providing our clients with strategies that are creative, economically feasible, and result in the long-term protection of land. Our strategies include assisting land trusts in securing funds from outside sources to pay for professional fees and stewardship endowments.
Conservation Partners’ principals are Ellen A. Fred and Misti M. Schmidt, with William T. Hutton consulting as Of Counsel.
Ellen A. Fred
Ellen’s experience in the fields of tax, real estate, nonprofit governance, and alternative dispute resolution allows her to counsel her clients in all aspects of their work. Prior to beginning her legal career, Ellen worked for several nonprofit environmental organizations, including serving as founder and Executive Director of the Humboldt Watershed Council.
Misti M. Schmidt
Misti focuses her practice on conservation easements and regularly provides guidance to property owners and land trusts regarding the structuring, negotiating, and closing of conservation transactions. She has particular experience representing landowners with respect to the myriad legal issues arising for rural land holdings and representing land trusts with respect to tax exemptions.
William T. Hutton
Bill Hutton is one of the nation’s leading authorities on the tax and financial aspects of land conservation transactions, and is widely recognized as an expert in nonprofit and tax law. He acts as counsel to both national conservation organizations and to local and regional land trusts. He also advises individuals and corporations on the full range of income and estate tax consequences of conservation transactions, as well as on the tax and legal issues that confront nonprofit charitable organizations and their directors.