Conserve Open Space

Who We Are

Conserve Open Space is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of open space throughout California. Our first project is permanently protecting the Sausalito Highlands with a conservation easement.

What We Do

We are focused on one activity:  Placing municipal zoned Open Space into a conservation easement (CE) which protects the property’s uses in perpetuity.

A conservation easemement (CE) is different from just zoned Open Space. Open Space can be rezoned and developed, or its uses can be removed or changed in just about any way because it is UNPROTECTED.  A CE protects open space in perpetuity. It is the impermeable covering over the open space which protects the land and its uses.

Our proposal is to implement a Conservation Easement as an overlay to protect a particular area of an incorporated municipality’s or county’s zoned Open Space. 

Municipalities in California are legally capable of owning and holding property in CEs.  

Cypress Ridge in the 1800s. Sausalito Historical Society

Why We Do It

With the push for more development in California, open space has become even more essential for the health and welfare of both people and wildlife.  This has been recognized by federal, state and local elected representatives.  Open space provides places for wildlife to access food and water and safe habitats to live and raise their young.  More and more development is pushing wildlife out of their rightful habitats. Wildlife are absolutely necessary for maintaining a proper balance in all of life.  As open space is usurped to provide for development, the delicate balance that supports life has too often been destroyed.

What Is a Conservation Easement

In this case, a conservation easement (CE) is a legal agreement between a municipal landowner (grantor) and a land trust (grantee) that would permanently limit uses of open space land in order to protect its conservation values and monitor the CE as the enforcement entity.

Writing a Conservation Easement

If you belong to a community group, non-profit, or municipal government and are interested in writing a conservation easement, first read our History of Conservation Easements page for some necessary background, then see our How to Write a Conservation Easement page to learn what preliminary reports you will need to prepare, the content requirements of a CE, and the ongoing monitoring reports required.

The Sausalito Highlands – Our First Project

Cypress Ridge Open Space Preserve seen from the southern side of Spring Valley.

The Sausalito Highlands consists of 50 acres of undeveloped land in Northern Sausalito that are vital to wildlife in the region. It is home to many mammals and birds, an annual destination for migrating birds and butterflies, and it contains one of the few creeks in the area. This project, which we are working on jointly with Open Space Sausalito, focuses on 8 city-owned open space parcels of 15 acres that need to be protected by a conservation easement. Click on the Next link below to learn more.

All donations made at our partner’s website,, will fund this project until its $9,000 budget is met or until December 31, 2021, whichever is first.