(a) Fund Created. - The Conservation Grant Fund is created within the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The Fund shall be administered by the Department. The purpose of the Fund is to stimulate the use of conservation easements and conservation tax credits, to improve the capacity of private nonprofit land trust organizations to successfully accomplish conservation projects, to better equip real estate related professionals to pursue opportunities for conservation, to increase landowner participation in land and water conservation, and to provide an opportunity to leverage private and other public monies for conservation easements.
(b) Fund Sources. - The Conservation Grant Fund shall consist of any monies appropriated to it by the General Assembly and any monies received from public or private sources. Unexpended monies in the Fund that were appropriated from the General Fund by the General Assembly shall revert at the end of the fiscal year unless the General Assembly otherwise provides. Unexpended monies in the Fund from other sources shall not revert and shall remain available for expenditure in accordance with this Article.
(c) Property Eligibility. - In order for real property or an interest in real property to be the subject of a grant under this Article, the real property or interest in real property must possess or have a high potential to possess ecological value, must be reasonably restorable, and must qualify for tax credits under G.S. 105-130.34 or G.S. 105-151.12.
(c1) Grant Eligibility. - State conservation land management agencies, local government conservation land management agencies, and private nonprofit land trust organizations are eligible to receive grants from the Conservation Grant Fund. Private nonprofit land trust organizations must be qualified pursuant to G.S. 105-130.34 and G.S. 105-151.12 and must be certified under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
(d) Use of Revenue. - Revenue in the Conservation Grant Fund may be used only for the following purposes:
(1) The administrative costs of the Department in administering the Fund.
(2) Conservation grants made in accordance with this Article.
(3) To establish an endowment account, the interest from which will be used for a purpose described in G.S. 113A-233(a). (1997-226, s. 6; 1997-443, s. 11A.119(b); 2002-155, s. 2; 2003-340, s. 1.4.)
Last modified: March 23, 2014