Wildlife Tax Exemption: A Management Plan for Erosion Control

The Wildlife Tax Exemption – Erosion Control in a Wildlife Management Plan

Landowner: We have owned our 55 acre Brazos County property for about 20 years. Part of the property was grazed with cows and about 20 acres were in cultivation, which was leased to a neighboring farmer. We decided that we wanted to go with the wildlife exemption, and have some ideas, but what practices can be used for erosion control? The farmed area has some erosion that has gotten worse over the years. The plowing and disking has exposed the soil to erosion over the years and now we want to convert the area to native grassland (we think). What wildlife management practices qualify for the wildife exemption?

Wildlife Management is Habitat Management

WildlifeExemption.com: Plant establishment on critical areas falls as a habitat management practice falls under erosion control for the wildlife tax valuation. This practice is primarily for erosion control, the establishment of native woody or herbaceous vegetation can also provide food and/or cover for wildlife and restore native habitat.This management practice can include the establishing and managing wind breaks or shelter-belts by planting multi-row shelter-belts (at least 4 rows in 120 feet om width by 1/4 mile in length), the renovattion of old shelter-belts (re-fence, root-prune, and replace dead trees), and the establishment of shrub mottes to improve plant diversity and wildlife habitat.

Landowners can also establish perennial vegetation on terraces and field borders (30 yard minimum width) to reduce erosion, improve plant diversity and enhance wildlife habitat. Erosion control on lands in production can include conservation tillage/no-till farming practices by leaving waste grain and stubble on the soil surface until the next planting season to provide supplemental food or cover for wildlife, control erosion, and improve the soil tilth.

Erosion Control and a Wildlife Tax Exemption

For lands held out of production, erosion control practices that qualify for the wildlife exemption include managing Conservation Reserve Program cover by maintaining perennial cover established under the Conservation Reservation Program (expired contracts) on erodible sites using proper management techniques such as haying, prescribed grazing or prescribed burning. A minimum number of seedlings per acre must be planted and maintained annually on 10 acres or a minimum of 10%, whichever is smaller, of the total area designated in the management plan.

Levee and dike construction to control erosion is also a qualifying practice for the wildlife tax valuation. This practice would be to establish or maintain wetlands or slow runoff to control or prevent erosion, and to provide habitat for wetland dependent wildlife. Levee management may include reshaping or repairing damage caused by erosion, re-vegetating levee areas to reduce erosion and sedimentation, and stabilizing levees. This practice may include fencing to control and manage grazing use or the installation of water control structures. A minimum of one project must be completed and maintained every 10 years to be used as a qualifying wildlife management practice for the wildlife tax exemption.

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