Vegetative filter strips are an extremely beneficial conservation practice. They protect and improve water quality, provide shelter for small animals, and reduce soil erosion. The plants in the filter strips slow water flow, causing contaminants like sediment, chemicals and nutrients to be trapped and collected in the vegetation before they reach bodies of water. Accumulated nutrients and chemicals are utilized by the vegetation rather than entering the water supply. Filtered water then enters the water bodies.
On January 1, 1997, the Vegetative Filter Strip Assessment Law (35ILCS 200/10-152) became effective. The Vegetative Filter Strip Assessment Law provides tax incentives for the development of filter strips for the primary reason of reducing soil erosion.
Qualifying vegetative filter strips must meet NRCS standards and specifications to be assessed at a reduced rate. In addition to size requirements, which is are based on slope, the filter strips must contain vegetation that:
(i) has a dense top growth;
(ii) forms a uniform ground cover;
(iii) has a heavy fibrous root system; and
(iv) tolerates pesticides used in the farm field.
Soil and Water Conservation Districts have the authority in certifying vegetative filter strips that meet requirements. Landowners with fully established filter strips on their land need to complete certification to qualify for the property tax reduction. If interested in applying for the property tax reduction on filter strips, stop by the Coles County Soil and Water Conservation District to fill out the necessary paperwork.
In order to complete the forms, the property tax identification number for each filter strip area is needed. Once eligibility has been determined, it is the landowner’s responsibility to file documentation with the office of the Coles County Assessor in Charleston.