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Riparian Lands Tax Incentive

Riparian Lands Tax Incentive Program: Protect, Conserve, & Restore Oregon’s Riparian Land

The Riparian Lands Tax Incentive Program (RLTIP) offers a property tax incentive to property owners for improving or maintaining qualifying riparian lands which can include up to 100 feet from a waterway. Under this program, property owners file a Riparian Management Plan with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and County to receive a complete property tax exemption for the qualifying riparian lands on their property, provided measures are implemented to protect, conserve, and restore the riparian land.

In 1981, the Oregon Legislative Assembly passed the Riparian Lands Tax Incentive Program, declaring that:

It is in the best interest of the state to maintain, preserve, conserve and rehabilitate riparian lands to assure the protection of the soil, water, fish and wildlife resources of the state for the economic and social well-being of the state and its citizens.

Reference: ORS 308A.353

The goals of the RLTIP continue to be a focus for the State 40 years later with the Oregon Conservation Strategy [linked text: http://oregonconservationstrategy.org/] identifying the importance of flowing water and riparian habitats and citing the opportunity to encourage private landowners to protecting these habitats through programs like the RLTIP.

How is eligibility determined?

To be eligible for the RLTIP, properties must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Private land outside of urban growth boundaries and zoned as forest or agricultural lands (with some specific exceptions)
  • The width of the riparian land proposed for tax exemption is sufficient to provide long-term stream bank stability, erosion control, water quality, large wood recruitment, fish and wildlife habitat protection, conservation or restoration, and other functions deemed important to healthy aquatic habitats
  • Riparian land has sufficient vegetation to support habitat functions or vegetation restoration potential to enable the above

What is the enrollment process?

Once a landowner has determined with the county their property is appropriately zoned and eligible for the RLTIP, they can complete a RLTIP application and develop a Riparian Management Plan with the support of local ODFW Fish District staff, or another cooperating agency, such as the Natural Resource Conservation Service, a Soil and Water Conservation District or an extension service.

Once the application and Riparian Management Plan are complete, the landowner submits them to their local ODFW office and the local county tax assessor simultaneously. ODFW will verify that the application and riparian management plan meet the RLTIP requirements, and either request additional information or approve the plan. ODFW will periodically monitor the property to ensure conservation objectives are being met.

If the plan is not being implemented, or if the landowner chooses to withdraw from the program, the county assessor removes the land from the RLTIP. If the land does not qualify for another special assessment, the landowner may be subject to back taxes.

Where can I learn more about the program?

The documents below include a guide for landowners interested in the program, a manual for county assessors to administer the program, a sample plan, and the template documents required for an application.

For more information contact Joy Vaughan, 503-947-6089.

Resources:

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