Illinois Conservation Stewardship Plans
Illinois Stewardship Law

In the Spring 2007 legislative session, Senate Bill 17 was introduced in the Illinois General Assembly. 
The bill includes language to create the Conservation Stewardship Program. This program was designed to
encourage landowners to maintain unimproved land in order to protect limited environmental resources.
The bill offered the incentive of reduced valuation for property taxes to landowners who were willing
to commit to maintaining and managing unimproved land. The bill received final legislative approval on
July 11, 2007 and was signed into law by Governor Blagojevich on October 1, 2007.
Landowners who wish to receive the special valuation for unimproved land provided by this law are
required to prepare a Conservation Management Plan according to rules developed by the Department
of Natural Resources. That Plan will describe how the land will be managed to protect and maintain
environmental resources. When a Conservation Management Plan is approved, DNR will notify the
Department of Revenue. Revenue will then notify the appropriate county assessor of the properties that
have qualified for the special valuation and the necessary adjustment in the valuation will be made. The
first year in which a landowner’s tax bill will be affected is 2009, based on valuations determined in 2008.

Eligibility
- Five or more contiguous acres of unimproved land - unimproved land means woodlands, prairie,
  wetlands or other vacant and undeveloped land that is not used for any residential or commercial
  purpose that materially disturbs the land
- Land in a forestry management plan under Section 10-150 of the Property Tax Code
- Land registered or encumbered by conservation rights under Section 10-166 of the Property Tax Code

Tax Incentives - Land accepted into the Conservation Stewardship Program will be valued at 5% of
market value for property tax purposes.

The following will be included in your Illinois Stewardship Conservation Plan:

1.  Location of Managed Land -  The location of the managed land including the county, section,
township, and range.  The property index or parcel number shall also be provided when available.

2.  Map of Managed Land -  11x17 aerial photograph complete with property boundaries, prescribed
management practices, and legend. 

3.  Description of Managed Land -  Predominate habitat types such as woodland, wetland, prairie, etc.
along with corresponding acreages.

4.  History of Managed Land -  A description of the recent (up to 10 years, if known) uses of the
managed land and any natural resource management implemented during that time frame.

5.  Plants and Animals Present -  A species account of the known plants and animals on the land.

6.  Adjacent Land Use - A general description of the present uses of land adjoining the managed land to
the north, south, east, and west of the managed land will be specified.

7.  Management Objective -  This section will list the general management objectives for the property
over the next 10 years

8. Management Practices -  The plan shall include a description of your management objectives, for
example, maintenance of existing habitat types, conversion/restoration to historic habitat type
(woodland, wetland, prairie), invasive species control, etc.  All prescribed practices will be specified and
delineated on the map included in the plan.  Suggestions and guidelines for implemeting the management
plan will be provided.

8.  Invasive Species Control -  Plan for controlling or eradicating invasive species present on the property.

9.  Allowable Uses -  The uses and activities that the landowner intends to allow on the managed land
shall be described (hunting, hiking, mushroom collecting, fishing, birding, nut and berry collection,
firewood collection, etc.). Enrollment of managed land in the Conservation Stewardship Program
creates NO obligation on the part of the landowner to allow public access to, or use of, the managed
land.

10. List of Professional Resources -   A list of available professional resources who can help with the
implementation of the suggested management practices.

11.  List of Financial Assistance Resources -  A list of sources including federal, state and private
programs that may be able to help with the implementation of the plan.

12.  2 Copies of Plan - One to retain for your records and one to submit to IL DNR.