News Release

USDA's Forest Service announces $50 million to conserve at risk forests

Since 1990, The Forest Legacy Program has worked with States and Partners to Conserve Almost 1.8 Million Acres of Open Space

Washington
May 18, 2009 -

In Vermont today, U.S. Forest Service Chief Gail Kimbell, announced the award of $50 million in grants to permanently protect twenty-four working forests across twenty-one states, through the Forest Legacy Program. This program permanently protects important private forestland threatened by conversion.

“The Forest Legacy Program conserves open space which allows us to respond to climate change, improves water quality and flows and connects children to nature,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The strength of the Forest Legacy Program is the cooperation between States, partners and private landowners—all working together to protect environmentally and economically important forests that are threatened by conversion.”

Examples of 2009 projects include: forest essential for wildlife and recreation in Maine; pine ecosystem critical for threatened and endangered species in Arkansas and working forests that support rural jobs in Oregon.

The Forest Legacy Program promotes voluntary land conservation by operating on the principle of “willing buyer, willing seller.” Private forest landowners are facing increasing real estate prices, property taxes and development pressure, which result in conversion of forests to other land uses. The Forest Legacy Program focuses on conserving working forests – those that provide clean water, forest products, fish and wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities.

Most Forest Legacy Program projects are conserved through conservation easements, allowing landowners to keep their forestlands while protecting them from future development.

 

2009 Forest Legacy Program project grants:
 
State Project Funding Level

ME Machias River $3,450,000

CA Chalk Mountain Area $3,000,000

MN Koochiching Forest Legacy $3,500,000

AS Ottoville Rainforest Preserve $500,000

MA Southern Monadnock Plateau II $2,200,000

GA Southland $3,500,000

PA Tree Farm #1 $3,500,000

VA New River Corridor $490,000

WV South Branch $3,670,000

MT North Swan River Valley $2,000,000

MI Northern Great Lakes Forest Project $2,000,000

NH Crotched Mountain $1,765,000

CO Snow Mountain Ranch $2,500,000

NH Green Acre Woodlands $1,200,000

UT Chalk Creek South Fork #2 $3,100,000

CA Jenner Headlands $1,000,000

MA Metacomet-Monadnock Forest $1,400,000

MO LaBarque Creek $1,500,000

OR Skyline Forest $1,500,000

OH Vinton Furnace Experimental Forest $2,000,000

AR Pine -Flatwoods Recovery Initiative $2,060,000

ID Gold Creek Ranch $510,000

DE Green Horizons $2,000,000

VT Eden Forest $1,800,000

TOTAL $50,145,000

 

For 2009, the Forest Service selected 24 projects out of 83 excellent state proposals that totaled $193 million. Details of the President’s 2010 budget released this week show 47 projects proposed with an increase in funding to more than $91 million.

The Forest Legacy Program uses a national competitive process to select the most ecologically and socially important, threatened and strategic projects. The program consistently leverages more than a 50-percent non-federal match, well above the 25-percent requirement. In addition, each project needs to be at least 75% forested, comply with Federal appraisal standards and complete a multi-resource forest management plan.

For more information on the Forest Legacy Program go to: http://www.fs.fed.us/cooperativeforestry/programs/loa/flp.shtml