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Native Prairie, Wetland, and Wildlife Habitat Tax Exemption

Application process:
Forms for certification of native prairie, wetland, or wildlife habitat can be printed from the DNR website or by contacting an Iowa DNR Wildlife Management Biologist. All applications for tax exemptions must be inspected by a DNR biologist to insure they meet the definition of native prairie, wetland, or wildlife habitat. The signed certification form must then be taken to your local county assessor by February 1.

Property Tax Exemption Certificate Form
Property Tax Exemption Certificate Form

Iowa DNR Wildlife Management Biologist contacts

Economic gain:
The applicant must also sign an affidavit, in which they that if the exemption is granted, the property will not be used for economic gain during the assessment year in which the exemption is granted. These affidavits are department of revenue forms available from you county assessor and must be completed annually.

Native Prairie:
Lands that have never been cultivated, are unimproved, and are natural or restored grasslands wherein at least fifty percent (50%) of the plant canopy is a mixture of grass and forb species which were found originally on Iowa's prairie lands. There are no acreage limits for this exemption classification. 

Wildlife Habitat:
Agricultural land of two acres or less which are devoted exclusively for use as habitat for wildlife and are protected from all other uses of any kind.

An area of two or more acres in a natural condition that is mostly underwater or waterlogged during the spring growing season and is characterized by vegetation of hydric soils.

  • Protected Wetland: A type 3, type 4, or type 5 wetland as described in Circular 39, Wetlands of the United States. A protected wetland does not include land where an agricultural drainage well has been plugged or land within a drainage district or levee district.

  • Restored Wetland: A wetland that has been previously drained and cropped, but has been restored under a nonpermanent agreement with the DNR, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, county or private conservation group.