New funding available for forestry practices on Virginia lands

forestry12Well-managed, productive forests offer numerous conservation benefits, but the long growth cycle of trees can present a financial challenge for landowners seeking to retain working forestlands. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is now making $470,000 available to help increase adoption of forestry practices statewide through a new Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) project.

Offered in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF), the RCPP Forestry Program offers landowners an opportunity to help establish and maintain the forestlands that are fundamental to clean air and water, wildlife habitat and recreation/tourism. Interested individuals have two opportunities to sign up for this special funding. The first application deadline is July 8 and the second is July 22. All applications must be submitted by July 22 to be considered for FY15 funding.

VDOF foresters will help eligible landowners develop a plan to manage their land for specific purposes, such as recreation or wildlife habitat. This Forest Management Plan outlines the landowners’ goals and objectives, recommended conservation practices and an implementation schedule. Financial assistance is available for creating this plan as well as installing the following conservation practices: prescribed burning, critical area planting, riparian forest buffers, firebreaks, tree/shrub site preparation, tree/shrub establishment and forest stand improvement.

Created in the 2014 Farm Bill, RCPP empowers local leaders to work with a variety of partners to design conservation solutions that work best for their regions. “With local partners and the federal government investing funding and manpower, these public-private partnerships can have an impact well beyond what the federal government could accomplish on its own,” said NRCS Virginia State Conservationist Jack Bricker.

To apply for, or to receive additional information on, Virginia RCPP projects, visit www.va.nrcs.usda.gov. To learn about technical and financial assistance available through conservation programs, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted or your local USDA service center.



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