May 1, 2013
Forest conservation program application period now open
Applications are now being accepted for a program that works to protect the future of Oregon’s forests. 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.
The Forest Legacy Program is designed to support state and community efforts to keep forestland viable, and keep working forests as forests and the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) administers the program in Oregon. Applications are now being accepted for Forest legacy funding consideration for federal Fiscal Year 2015. Letters of interest and property descriptions must be submitted to ODF by May 22, 2013. Letters must be submitted by the applying private forest landowner themselves, or by a third party with written consent from the landowner confirming representation.
Letters of interest should describe the project’s strengths with respect to the three national Forest Legacy Program scoring criteria. The three criteria are: importance of natural resources; threat from conversion to non-forest use; and strategic with respect to statewide conservation assessments, strategies or plans. 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 ).
Project nominations consisting of a 3-4 page letter of interest, with a property description attached, must be submitted by close of business Tuesday, May 22, 2013, to:
Cooperative Forestry Manager
Oregon Department of Forestry
2600 State Street
Salem, Oregon 97310
Oregon’s Forest Stewardship Coordinating Committee reviews submitted Letters of Interest to decide which applicants will be invited to complete a formal application. Formal applications are developed using the national Forest Legacy Information System (FLIS) to ensure uniformity with project submissions from other states. Applicants need to attend a FLIS webinar training, which will be scheduled in June or July.
Formal applications need to be completed by September 12, 2013. Those completing formal applications will be provided the opportunity to present their project to the Committee on September 26, 2013 in Salem.
On October 17, 2013, the Committee will review the proposals and prioritize the state's projects for national Forest Legacy Program funding consideration. Applicants will be notified of the Committee’s recommendation and ODF approval by October 31, 2013.
About Forest Legacy
Oregon welcomed its first Forest Legacy Program project in September 2007 when the City of Eugene worked with a private landowner to preserve more than 25 acres of oak habitat in Lane County’s South Eugene Hills. Currently, Oregon has two projects awaiting federal fiscal year 2013 appropriation, both in eastern Oregon. Gilchrist Forest is ranked 6th nationally; followed by the Blue Mountain Heritage, ranked 11th nationally.
A conservation easement is a legal restriction placed on a piece of property to protect a specific resource, or several resources, such as a working forest. By stripping off certain property rights to the property – such as development rights – conservation easements can be used to keep forestlands for forestry purposes in perpetuity for enjoyment by future generations.
For more information:
Fiscal Year (FY) Forest Legacy Program Project Application Instructions
Oregon’s Forest Legacy Areas
Oregon Forest Stewardship Coordinating Committee
Oregon Forest Legacy Program Website