REDUCING THE COST OF FORESTRY WORK THROUGH COST-SHARE
Max Bennett, OSU Extension 5/2013 update (thanks to Lee Winslow, ODF, for updates and additions)
Stand improvement and other forestry work is expensive. Participation in cost-share programs can reduce the cost and provide technical assistance at the same time. Interested? Read on…
Funds are available for up to 75% of the cost of a consultant-written forest stewardship plan. The minimum acreage required is 10 acres, and the landowner must apply for the grant through their local ODF office. The landowner initially pays the cost of the plan to be developed, and later reimbursed for up to 75% of the expense through ODF. After the reimbursement, the typical out-of-pocket cost to most small woodland owners is $500-700. Stewardship plans are extremely useful and are required for some other cost share programs, such as the NRCS’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). For more information, contact Stewardship Forester, Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) Lee Winslow, ODF SWO District, 541-664-3328.
Note that funding may also be available to update plans that are more than 10 years old.
Cost share assistance for forest/conservation/wildlife practices
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) administers a variety of conservation programs for forestland owners. The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) offers cost share funding for a variety of practices to maintain healthy forest and upland watershed that could including thinning, pruning, slash treatment, fire breaks, fuelbreaks, and other practices. A forest stewardship plan is required to participate in this program, but can be cost-shared through EQIP as well.
For Jackson County and Josephine County outside the Illinois valley, call NRCS at 776-4267; for the Illinois Valley call 541-673-6071 or visit their website at www.or.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/.
For those interested in streamside plantings and forest buffers, the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) may be the ticket. For eligible properties, mainly those in agricultural use and range lands, the program covers 75% of the cost of converting these marginal agricultural lands into healthy functional riparian forest and buffers. CREP will pay for site preparation, planting, and maintenance of the project area, as well as a rental payment. For more information, contact the Farm Service Agency at 776-4270.
Fuels reduction/defensible space
Landowners seeking financial assistance for fuels reduction and creating defensible space around their homesites may be eligible for a rebate of $400 per acre through the Oregon Department of Forestry (Jackson County call 664-3328; Josephine County call 474-3152) or their local rural fire district. Generally, funds are available for the 1-acre homesite; in some cases, funds may be provided for non-commercial thinning and slash reduction beyond the 1-acre homesite. Those interested should contact the Department of Forestry prior to beginning work to arrange for a site visit. Availability of funds depends on the status of grants and may vary from area to area.
Forest Resource Trust (FRT)
A program aimed at converting or improving forests on underproductive forestlands, through a loan or financing. This program requires that the lands are of moderate to high productivity, meaning some forestlands in Jackson and Josephine Counties won’t apply. However, there have been several successful FRT projects in this area. Project must include 10 contiguous acres, outside an Urban Growth Boundary, capable of growing commercial forests but currently in brush, crops, pasture, or otherwise not containing a full stand of trees or seedlings. For more information, Stewardship Forester, Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) Lee Winslow, ODF SWO District, 541-664-3328.
Federal Reforestation Tax Credit
10% Federal Tax Credit for reforestation or forestland conversion plantings. Consult your favorite tax advisor for credit requirements, details, and specific’s.
Forest Legacy Program
The "Forest Legacy" program helps landowners with the conservation of forests threatened by risk of ownership fragmentation or new development. Forest Legacy is a national cooperative forestry program of the U.S. Forest Service that seeks to conserve private forest lands that may be lost to non-forest uses. The voluntary program provides financial incentives -- using conservation easements, land acquisition or land donation -- for private landowners to protect environmentally important working forest areas threatened by development, fragmentation and other non-forest uses.
To be eligible, the private forest lands seeking Forest Legacy Program funding must be within one of six Forest Legacy Areas designated in Oregon (see map: http://www.oregon.gov/odf/privateforests/docs/legacy/oregonforestlegacyareas.pdf
For more information, Stewardship Forester, Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) Lee Winslow, ODF SWO District, 541-664-3328.