Rock Island County Soil and Water Conservation District

Filter Strips

Do you currently have a filter strip on your property?

The Illinois Department of Ag has a program that could help lower your local property taxes on any grounds currently being utilized as a filter strip or converted to a filter strip! This could potentially lower your property tax rate to ⅙ of current rate.  

A filter strip is an area of grass or other permanent vegetation placed next to a stream used to reduce contaminants such as sediment, nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphates, pesticides, and other contaminants from runoff in order to improve water quality. A filter strip can be a planting of grasses and/or pollinators along the edge of each field that borders a stream. They provide a "buffer" between contaminant sources, such as crop fields, and waterbodies, such as streams and ponds and help to filter the water, hence the name: filter strip. Any filter strip is eligible and does not need to be enrolled in other SWCD programs. For eligibility questions or if interested in adding a filter strip on your property, contact Rich Stewart.


Q:  What are the responsibilities of the landowner with regard to the Vegetative Filter Strip Assessment Law?

A:  The Vegetative Filter Strip Assessment Law is a voluntary program. Interested landowners must request assistance of the District for either developing or implementing a conservation plan, or in certifying an existing vegetative filter strip. It is also the responsibility of the landowner to file the certification form, once signed by the District, with the County Supervisor of Assessments.

Q:  What forms must be completed for the certification of the vegetative filter strips?

A:  The District will use two forms for certifying filter strips. One form, which is an internal form for use by the SWCD, will be used as an application to collect information from the landowner on the location of the property, and to indicate that the vegetative filter strip meets each of the requirements of the law. This form is signed by the SWCD staff person who made the determination of eligibility, and presented to the District Board. The form becomes a part of the landowner’s file upon approval by the Board. Click here for this form.

The second form is an Illinois Department of Revenue Certification form, that must contain a legal description of the property on which the filter strip is located, the size of the filter strip, a map indicating the site location and the signatures of the SWCD staff person making the determination, the District Board Chairman and the landowner. This must be filed by the landowner with the County Assessor’s Office. Click here for this form.

Q:  Are there deadline dates for the vegetative filter strip certification by the District for a landowner?

A:  The Vegetative Filter Strip Assessment Law is effective January 1, 1997. Any vegetative filter strip which is in place by that date and that meets the requirements set forth in the Act is eligible for certification if requested by the landowner. The certification should be completed by about March 1, of the year that you are requesting the filter strip reducation, so as the Supervisor of Assessments has ample time to make assessment changes before the assessment books are turned over to the board of review. The reduced tax assessment will apply to the current assessment year, for taxes payable the following year. In each year thereafter, Vegetative Filter Strips installed by December 31st may be certified at any time prior to March of the following year, for that assessment year.

Q:  Can land located adjacent to intermittently flowing creeks or streams qualify for a property tax reduction to 1/6th of its assessed value of cropland, If a vegetative filter strip is constructed?

A:  The Act reads that, “any land that is located between a farm field and an area to be protected, including but not limited to surface water, a stream, a river or sinkhole…” is eligible. This is interpreted to mean that intermittent creeks or
streams, farm ponds and all other surface waters, regardless of size or type are eligible. The inclusion of sinkholes in the act indicates that the intent was also to make eligible vegetative filter strips that protect groundwater resources.

Q:        Where can I go for assistance for this program?

A:        Call the SWCD office at (309) 764-1486 X 3.

To Apply

USDA Filter Strips Conservation Practice Job Sheet