Wildlife Tax Exemption in Bastrop County: Managing Natives

Land owners can convert their property tax valuation to a wildlife exemption in Bastrop County by managing for native wildlife species. This includes not just wild animals, but also pollinating insects such as bees, butterflies and moths. Pollination is one of the most vital processes in sustaining natural ecosystems and agricultural production.

The majority of flowering plants that comprise Texas’ diverse ecosystems rely upon insects to transport pollen among flowers, ensuring the production of viable seed. Viable seed is critical for the perpetuation of plant species across the landscape. The annual value of insect-pollinated crops to the U.S. economy is estimated at over $15 billion. Land owners can also qualify for a wildlife tax valuation in Bastrop County and elsewhere in Texas by doing things that help these insects.

Wildlife Management: The Term “Wildlife” is Wide Ranging

Landowners who apply these practices to their Bastrop County lands will be supporting populations of native pollinators that aid in maintaining healthy plant communities on their properties, as well as those lands that surround them, thereby benefiting a range of other wildlife. In addition, landowners will be conserving and perpetuating native pollinators that can pollinate surrounding agricultural producers, potentially reducing the need for leased honeybee hives to pollinate some crops.

Although the non-native European honeybee tends to garner the most public attention, there are actually several hundred bee species that are native to Texas, many of which are found in Bastop County. These include bumble bees, carpenter bees, mason bees, leafcutter bees, long-horned bees and many others. These native bee species were here long before the honeybee and are critical to the state’s diverse native plant communities and agricultural production.

Pollinators and Wildlife Habitat

Of all the insects that visit flowers in Texas, including beetles, butterflies, moths and wasps, bees tend to be the most effective pollinators. Two traits make bees preeminent pollinators: First, they purposefully collect pollen to feed their offspring, transferring pollen from flower to flower as they forage. During a single day, a female bee may visit several hundred flowers, depositing pollen along the way.

Second, bees tend to be specific about the flowers they visit. During a foraging trip, a female bee may only visit the flowers of a particular plant species. The benefit of such foraging preferences is that the plants’ pollen is not deposited on the flowers of a different plant species and wasted.

Native bee pollination is critical to the maintenance of Texas’ diverse ecosystems. It’s also a great way to establish a wildlife exemption in Bastrop County. In addition, many of the berries, nuts and seeds consumed by birds, mammals and other insects are the result of bee pollination of native woody and herbaceous plants. Several crops, including blueberries, grapes, olives, peanuts, pumpkins, squash, strawberries and tomatoes are more effectively pollinated by native bees than the non-native honeybee.

Wildlife Tax Valuation in Bastrop County

If you are considering converting your Bastrop County property to a wildlife tax exemption should consider including practices in their management plan are beneficial to pollinator species. Many “standard” habitat management practices already help native insects, but it’s especially nice to realize that managing for wildlife habitat helps maintain a favorable tax rate on your property AND benefits all of the critters that call your property home.