I would like to provide some additional information to the article published Dec. 8 about the Land, Water and Wildlife Program. It is important to note that it is the landowners who drive the projects and receive the funding.
Landowners who have conservation projects that protect land and water quality in the Big Wood and Little Wood River valleys, protect wildlife habitat and/or protect working farms and ranches in the county and want to receive funding from the Land, Water and Wildlife Program have a number of options available to them.
In order to qualify for funding, landowners must work with Blaine County, another government agency or a nonprofit organization that is qualified to receive tax-deductible gifts and to receive and hold conservation easements as defined in Section 170(h) of the Internal Revenue Code. These organizations can generally be described as government agencies or public charities that:
- Are tax exempt, meaning they have 501(c)3 status.
- Are not private foundations.
- Receive at least one-third of their support from the public.
- Receive not more than one-third of their support from investments.
- Are established for conservation purposes and have the resources to enforce restrictions.
There is a larger universe of charities that are eligible recipients of tax-deductible gifts but because they are not in the business of protecting natural resources, they are generally not qualified to receive conservation easements. However, the Land, Water and Wildlife Program may consider making grants to these entities for other types of projects that meet the levy purposes. These other categories of charities recognized in the Internal Revenue Code include:
- Educational institutions.
- Public hospitals and medical facilities.
- Entities that benefit colleges or universities.
- Friends of groups that support government or other charitable entities.
Taken together, these categories of eligible recipients encompass a broad number of potential partners for landowners to work with to receive funding through the Land, Water and Wildlife Program. For more information, contact Blaine County Land Use and Building Services at 788-5570 or check the website at www.blainecountylab.wordpress.com
Mary Austin Crofts
Levy advisory board volunteer