Audubon PA Supports Streamside Habitat Legislation - REAP
The needs of birds aren’t much different from our own. Food and water are the absolute basics, but shelter from the weather and a safe place to raise a family are also essential.
Forested stream buffers provide these fundamental elements for birds and other wildlife; however, pollution is placing this rich habitat in danger. A new tool is being proposed in the General Assembly to offer incentives to farmers and other landowners who create and protect these critical riparian habitats.
Audubon Pennsylvania is pleased to be part of a coalition of farm, environmental and business groups that recognize establishing stream buffers and installing best management practices improves water quality and wildlife habitat. As a result, Audubon PA is supporting a new proposal called the Resource Enhancement and Protection Act (REAP).
The goal of REAP is to provide transferable business or personal state tax credits to landowners. These tax credits must be used to help cover the cost of implementing management practices that will reduce nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollution entering local rivers, streams, and stream buffers.
Tax credits worth up to 75 percent of project costs, with a maximum of $150,000 per taxpayer, would be provided for waterway protection projects such as planting forested buffers or installing stream bank fencing.
REAP would allow the tax credits to be sold and transferred to others or rolled ahead for up to 15 years. The program also includes a sponsorship program that enables businesses to finance projects and receive a tax credit for their investment.
The proposal will be re-introduced this session as House Bill 100 by Rep. Stern (R-Blair) and co-sponsored by Rep. Daley (D-Washington). A companion Senate Bill is also expected to be introduced.
Programs like Growing Greener, Growing Greener II, and the initiatives of local watershed groups and the agricultural community are making a difference in reducing pollution in our rivers and streams. But the task is enormous.
The REAP Program offers a valuable new tool for addressing serious water quality problems and encouraging the creation of critical streamside habitat.
To learn more, visit the REAP webpage.
Other organizations supporting REAP include: Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce, Pennsylvania State Grange, Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Pennsylvania Municipal Authorities Association, Pennsylvania Audubon Society, Pennsylvania Association of Sustainable Agriculture, Pennsylvania Environmental Council, Lancaster Farmland Trust, Lake Erie-Allegheny Earth Force, Native Energy, Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited, Red Barn, Inc., Juniata Clean Water Partnership, LandStudies, Inc., Project Grass, Nature’s Best Organic Feeds, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, American Farmland Trust, Binkley & Hurst, Octoraro Native Plant Nursery, Cedar Meadow Farm, Pennsylvania League of Conservation Voters, Red Knob Farm, Inc., Brandywine Valley Association, Rettew, Tioga County Concerned Citizens Committee, Inc., TeamAg, Inc., Doc Fritchey Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Tioga Watershed Reclamation Project, Inc., Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper, Muddy Creek Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Juniata Valley Audubon Society.
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