June 30 deadline set for forestland conservation easement funding

Financial assistance available for conservation easements and conservation practices on forestland

Olympia, Wash. (April 30th, 2021) — The Southwest Washington Small Forest Lands Conservation Partnership (Partnership) set the application deadline for financial assistance to implement forestland conservation easement activities to June 30. The Partnership is focused on working with small forest landowners (non-industrial private forest landowners (NIPF)) and Indian Tribes to improve forest health, water quality, and wildlife habitat. Funding is provided through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Healthy Forests Reserve Program (HFRP).

The Healthy Forests Reserve Program is a voluntary and incentive-based program that provides technical and financial assistance through NRCS. This HFRP is focused on conserving habitat for the marbled murrelet, a small seabird that nests in mature and old forest habitat. Marbled murrelets are listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act. HFRP offers permanent and 30-year conservation easements, and 10-year restoration agreements. On acreage owned by Indian Tribes, 30-year contracts are also offered. Payments range from 50 to 100 percent of the easement value, as well as up to 50 percent incentive rate for approved conservation practices.

The Partnership is accepting applications immediately. Forest landowners must meet all NRCS HFRP program requirements to be eligible. These include establishing yourself as a USDA customer, completing all Farm Service Agency (FSA) eligibility requirements, and be within the Partnership’s HFRP priority area for conservation. Interested forest landowners are invited to:

(1) View the HFRP priority area for conservation via this link and then contact your local Partnership stewardship forester for assistance developing an HFRP application; and

(2) Contact your local USDA Service Center for assistance in completing USDA eligibility requirements.

The HFRP funding available under this announcement is part of the Southwest Washington Small Forest Lands Conservation Partnership, which is one of over 375 projects NRCS has invested in through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). RCPP is a partner-driven, locally led effort, that leverages partner contributions and funding from multiple NRCS programs to incentivize work with agricultural and forestry producers.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is dedicated to preserving, protecting and perpetuating the state’s fish and wildlife resources.

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