Resources for Private Landowners
Here are private landowner tools available through and/or supported by the FWC's Landowner Assistance Program (LAP).
Education and Outreach
Offered year round to the public. Provides educational information and learning opportunities about habitat management. LAP staff helps organize and implement at least 10 workshops statewide every year. If interested in attending a workshop or field day.
The Electronic Data Information Source is a collection of information on topics relevant to you: profitable and sustainable agriculture, our environment and natural resources, youth programs, FL-friendly landscapes, and much more. Try a search!
Property Tax Incentives
DR - 418c (Conservation Exemption) is a law that provides full property tax exemption for land dedicated in perpetuity and used exclusively for conservation purposes. Applications and supporting documents are due to your property appraiser before March 1st.
D R - 482c (Conservation Assessment) is a law that provides a partial property tax exemption (up to 50%) for conservation land that is used for commercial purposes such as agriculture. Applications and supporting documents are due to your property appraiser before March 1st.
LAP biologists are available to provide general technical assistance related to wildlife-habitat management. Please contact an LAP biologist if you are in need of general technical assistance for your property.
The Florida Wildlife Conservation Guide is an online resource which facilitates effective land use planning, project design, and habitat management while conserving the rural and environmentally sensitive areas important to Florida's fish and wildlife species.
The Forest Stewardship Program (FSP) is administered by the Florida Forest Service. The Forest Stewardship Program seeks to help private landowners develop a plan designed to increase the economic value of their forestland while maintaining its environmental integrity for future generations. Stewardship is based on the multiple-use land strategy. Please visit the website to learn more about the program and how to apply. LAP staff helps implement the Forest Stewardship Program and can provide more detailed information as needed.
The Conservation Technical Assistance Program (CTA) is administered by USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service. The Conservation Technical Assistance Program provides technical assistance supported by science-based technology and tools to help landowners conserve, maintain, and improve their natural resources. The Program provides the technical capability, including direct conservation planning, design, and implementation assistance that consider soil, water, air, plants, and animals. LAP staff helps implement the Conservation Technical Assistance Program and can provide more detailed information on how this program can help you.
The Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program (PFW) is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Provides technical and up to 50 percent cost-share assistance to private landowners and other partners who conduct habitat restoration and improvement activities on their land. The focus of the program in Florida is on restoration of native habitats, restoration of degraded streams and wetlands, and eradication of invasive, exotic species. Please visit the website or contact an LAP biologist for more information.
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is administered by USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service. Provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers in order to address natural resource concerns and deliver environmental benefits such as improved water and air quality, conserved ground and surface water, reduced soil erosion and sedimentation or improved or created wildlife habitat. LAP staff helps implement EQIP and can provide more information as needed. Please visit the website to determine eligibility and contact your local NRCS agent or an LAP biologist if interested in enrolling. See also CIG.
The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is administered by USDA's Farm Service Agency. Provides annual rental payments and cost-share assistance to establish long-term, resource conserving covers on eligible farmland. Please visit the website to determine eligibility and contact your local NRCS agent or an LAP biologist if interested in enrolling.
The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) is administered by USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service. Provides financial and technical assistance to help conserve agricultural lands and wetlands and their related benefits. Under the Agricultural Land Easements component, NRCS helps Indian tribes, state and local governments and non-governmental organizations protect working agricultural lands and limit non-agricultural uses of the land. Under the Wetlands Reserve Easements component, NRCS helps to restore, protect and enhance enrolled wetlands. Please visit the website to determine eligibility and contact your local NRCS agent or an LAP biologist if interested in enrolling.
Creating a conservation cooperative helps coordinate conservation efforts on a landscape level while providing multiple benefits to participating landowners (public and private) such as: increased communication, tool sharing, work days, dedicated assistance from resource professionals, etc. Contact an LAP biologist to learn about existing cooperatives and/or how to create a cooperative in your area.
The Ecosystem Restoration Partnership Team (NW FL) is administered by The Nature Conservancy (TNC). These teams are being made available to assist landowners directly on-the-ground with habitat management efforts such as prescribed burning and invasive/exotic plant removal. LAP biologists can help direct landowners to these sources of assistance. Please check the websites to find out more information.
Under the Gopher Tortoise Recipient Site Program, FWC administers the statewide gopher tortoise management plan and accepts applications from eligible landowners who are interested in becoming a gopher tortoise recipient site. Please visit the website for additional information and application details.
The Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill) authorized the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) to provide benefits to livestock producers for livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality caused by adverse weather or attacks by animals protected by federal law, including panther. LIP payments are equal to 75 percent of the market value of the applicable livestock on the day before the date of death of the livestock as determined by the Secretary. LIP is administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Under the Safe Harbor Program, participating landowners are relieved of regulatory concerns regarding endangered species land management when agreeing to manage for the species' net benefit. Please visit the website for more information and contact an LAP biologist if interested.
The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) defines and rewards those farmers and ranchers (producers) who meet the highest standards of conservation and management on their operations. Please check the website or contact your local NRCS agent or an LAP biologist for more details on the program and targeted watersheds this year.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Landowner Assistance Program has created a program that will recognize landowners who are actively managing and improving their property to benefit wildlife. The FWC developed the Wildlife Habitat Recognition Program to show appreciation for the important contributions to wildlife conservation made by private landowners.
Private landowners play a critical role in wildlife conservation by protecting and restoring rare habitats like the longleaf pine-wiregrass ecosystem, and managing farms, ranches, and forests that provide habitat to many species. While public land protects some species of wildlife, these lands form a fragmented landscape of habitat. Private lands provide critical corridors between publicly managed conservation lands.
To be recognized by the program, landowners must submit a request for an FWC biologist to evaluate their property to determine if it qualifies. Qualifying properties will have ample food, cover and water opportunities for wildlife. If the property meets these criteria, the landowner will receive a sign to display on the property as well as a certificate of recognition.
Properties working toward meeting the requirements will be offered a written management plan to guide the landowners in meeting the habitat management standards for the program. Requests for property evaluation can be made online at MyFWC.com/LAPApplication.
The Private Lands Fish and Wildlife Stewardship Award is administered by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Nominations must be submitted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. This national award is presented annually to one landowner.
The Landowner Assistance Program Certification is administered by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The Wildlife Friendly Designation Program is administered by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and offered for "developments."
The Wild Turkey Woodlands Program is administered by the National Wild Turkey Federation.
The Gopher Tortoise Conservation Awareness Program is administered by the American Forest Foundation, Forests for Watersheds and Wildlife Program.
The Certified Family Forest is administered by the American Tree Farm System.