Financing Habitat Protection
Opportunities for Financing Habitat Protection
Unlike land trusts that have land protection and acquisition as a primary function, municipalities typically struggle with limited funds having to be allocated across a variety of functions and capital improvement projects. Unfortunately, dedicating monies for open space acquisition often ends up low on the priorities list, and if available at all, these monies are fairly limited and offer little purchase power especially given rising land prices. Although land trusts are vital partners for any local conservation efforts, relying on private efforts alone to satisfy local conservation needs won't satisfy all the public needs that town ownership can offer. For example, public access, neighborhood green space, and recreational use are all open space functions that may best be served through common municipal ownership.
This section of the Beginning with Habitat (BwH) Toolbox is intended to provide a broad overview of tools that have been implemented by Maine communities that enable municipal purchase of land in fee or interest via easements and long-term leases. Simply using one approach might not be enough to satisfy the open space needs of a given community, but the right combination of funding tools with some of the regulatory ordinance provisions previously discussed, can go a long way in preserving a town's special places.
- Impact Fees- A tool to equip a municipality with a mechanism to pay for future green space, open land, and/or recreational facilities by requiring a fee for new development to cover the need for additional open space and recreation facilities.
- Local Land Bonds- A local land acquisition funding mechanism.
- Current Use Tax Programs- A tool that gives landowners monetary incentives to keep their property undeveloped, providing a temporary level of protection from development sprawl.
- Grant Sources- A list of potential grant sources to fund land acquisition, stewardship, and trail development projects.