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 5, 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