Author: NCWRC blogger/Tuesday, May 30, 2023/Categories: Blog, Conservation, Wildlife Management
The Wildlife Conservation Land Program (WCLP), authorized by state legislation in 2008, designated “Wildlife Conservation Land” as a special class of property that must be assessed at a reduced valuation. In short, this program offers a property tax deferment for tracts of land which are actively managed primarily for wildlife habitat enhancement.
While similar to the Present Use Value Program (PUV), which provides a property tax deferment for privately-owned land managed for agriculture, horticulture or forestry production, the WCLP is a completely different program with several unique provisions to ensure wildlife habitat is addressed.
The initial 2008 legislation targeted properties where wildlife species designated as endangered, threatened, or special concern by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) lived. In addition, parcels managed to conserve at least one of six priority wildlife habitat types identified in the State’s Wildlife Action Plan were also eligible for the WCLP. While the original legislation was a great step in the right direction it left many tracts ineligible, especially in the rapidly developing Piedmont and Coastal Plain regions of the state.
In June of 2018 House Bill 320, which revised the WCLP General Statute, was signed into law, creating a third type of land that qualified for the program: “Wildlife Reserve Land.” According to the updated legislation, land that qualifies for the WCLP under this newest criterion is “actively and regularly used as a reserve for hunting, fishing, shooting, wildlife observation, or wildlife activities; upon which wildlife management activities are conducted to ensure the propagation of a sustaining breeding, migrating, or wintering population of indigenous wild animals.” To qualify as Wildlife Reserve Land, active management practices must be implemented on the property.
Currently the three qualifying criteria for the WCLP are:
Criterion 1 - Threatened, Endangered, or Special Concern Species
Criterion 2 - Priority Habitats
Criterion 3 - Wildlife Reserve Land
The following items should be carefully considered as you decide if WCLP is compatible with the goals and objectives you have for your property:
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