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Financial Opportunities for Landowners

There are a wide variety of programs available from the FWC and partners that provide financial incentives to landowners for implementing management practices on their property that improve habitat for wildlife. 

LAP biologists can assist landowners with any of the programs listed below, and more!

Incentive Programs for Landowners

Wild Flowers Bull Creek

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program is administered by USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service with support from FWC biologists. It 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. Please visit the website and contact your local NRCS agent or an LAP biologist for more information. 

painted bunting

The Conservation Reserve Program is administered by USDA's Farm Service Agency with support from FWC biologists. The program provides annual rental payments and cost-share assistance to establish long-term, resource conserving covers on eligible farmland. 

photo of a flat woods salamander by Pierson Hill

Image by Pierson Hill

The Conservation Stewardship Program is administered by USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service with support from FWC biologists. It 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 Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program provides technical and financial assistance to private landowners interested in improving habitat for migratory birds, endangered, threatened and at-risk species while maintaining the their primary land management goals. This is a voluntary program in which landowners continue to manage their land for their objectives as well as for wildlife, which most of the time go-hand-in-hand.

Alligator Lake

The Dispersed Water Management Program is a financial opportunity that encourages landowners to store water on low lying portions of their property and/or detain regional runoff that would otherwise adversely affect regional estuaries and/or lakes. Eligible landowners may receive payments through contractual cooperative agreements with local Water Management Districts for providing this service. The retention of surface water at shallow depths can increase groundwater recharge, improve water quality, rehydrate previously drained wetland soils, and provide valuable habitat for waterfowl and other wetland wildlife. The FWC provides technical assistance to landowners through the development of habitat management plans designed to maximize benefits for wetland wildlife on their land. The Dispersed Water Management Program was first implemented by the South Florida Water Management District but is being adopted by other Water Management Districts within the state.

The FWC’s Panther Depredation Compensation Pilot Program provides compensation to commercial cattle ranchers who experience fatal or ultimately fatal panther depredations. You can find further information about compensation on the Depredations: Protecting Pets and Livestock page.

Payments for Ecosystem Services for providing Florida panther habitat will soon be available on a competitive basis in the south Florida counties frequented by Florida panthers.  The FWC’s Panther Payments for Ecosystem Services Pilot Program pays commercial cattle ranchers for providing quality panther habitat. The program is competitive based on the quality of the panther habitat provided and available funding. Look for press releases or visit this webpage for updates on sign-ups beginning later this summer.

yellow wildflowers among the pines

Tax Incentives

You can conserve while still using your land for commercial purposes. Under Florida law, there is a partial property tax exemption of up to 50% on certain land under conservation easement that is used for commercial purposes such as agriculture. There also are other financial options for private landowners interested in conservation, including a conservation tax assessment for certain lands on which the owner can demonstrate a 10-year commitment to conservation.

Applications and supporting documents are due to your property appraiser before March 1

DR - 418c (Conservation Exemption) is a law that provides full property tax exemption for land dedicated in perpetuity and used exclusively for conservation purposes. 

DR - 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. 

Land Conservation

Conservation easements are a voluntary option for conserving your property forever. LAP biologists work closely with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and local land trusts and can provide information to help landowners explore easement options.

More about Conservation Easements

Agricultural Conservation Easement Program

Healthy Forest Reserve Program

Rural and Family Lands Protection Program

mangrove forest

The Florida Forever Program is a conservation land buying program administered by the Division of State Lands. LAP biologists can assist with evaluation of specific areas targeted for acquisition.

two sandhill cranes

Want to learn more?

Would you like to learn more about these financial incentives programs? We are here to help. Complete our Landowner Assistance Program Form today to let our biologists know how they can help you. 

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FWC Programs

Gopher tortoise emerging from burrow

Gopher Tortoise Recipient Site Program

Under the Gopher Tortoise Recipient Site Program, the FWC administers the statewide gopher tortoise management plan and accepts applications from eligible landowners who are interested in becoming a gopher tortoise recipient site.

Waif Gopher Tortoise Fact Sheet

red cockaded woodpecker

Safe Harbor Program

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.