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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - August 07, 2006

From: Dallas, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Possible tax exemptions for wildlife management
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am interested in finding out whether there are state grants to help land owners grow wildflowers on otherwise unused portions of their properties. Would you happen to know whom I should contact or where I could look?

ANSWER:

Unfortunalely, I don't know of any programs that offer grants, or even tax breaks, just for growing wildflowers. However, growing wildflowers for food for wildlife should qualify as one of the activities required to obtain wildlife management tax exemption for your property. In the Tax Code (Section 23.51 (7)), you can pick "(E) providing supplemental supplies of food" as one of the three ways, of the seven listed, to qualify for Property Tax Exemption for Wildlife Management. The hitch in this, though, is that "the property must have been qualified and appraised as agricultural land during the year before the year the owner changes to Wildlife Management Use." If you do qualify for applying for wildlife management exemption, you can contact the wildlife biologists in Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Post Oak Savannah Wildlife District, which includes Dallas County, for possible assistance in preparing your wildlife management plan.

To help you select the best wildflowers and plants you can visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Deparment's Texas Plant Information Database page where you can search for plants for your county by various attributes (such as "wildlife/livestock food" or "small mammal cover") and their usefulness for "small mammals", "nongame birds", etc.

There are two articles, "Creating a Wildlife Garden" and "Wildlife Gardening Bibliography" in our Native Plant Library that you may find useful. Additionally, Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife by Noreen Damude and Kelly Conrad Bender (1999, Texas Parks and Wildlife Press) has a wealth of information. It is for sale at the Wildflower Center's Wild Ideas store and is possibly available at your local library or bookstore.
 

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