Project applications are now being accepted for a program that works to protect the future of Oregon’s forests by helping landowners assist conservation of forests in areas threatened by risk of ownership fragmentation or development.
The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) administers the Forest Legacy Program in Oregon. Forest Legacy is a national cooperative forestry program of the U.S. Forest Service that seeks to conserve private forest lands in areas where forests may be lost to non-forest uses, to help protect forest resources, and enhance community forest conservation partnerships.
Letters of Interest nominating projects to be considered for Forest Legacy funding in federal Fiscal Year 2013 may be submitted to ODF until June 17, 2011.
Projects determined to meet minimum eligibility requirements will be asked to formally submit application materials by September 2, 2011. Oregon’s State Forest Stewardship Coordinating Committee will review proposals and prioritize the state’s projects for funding consideration by the Forest Legacy Program’s National Review Panel for final ranking into President Obama’s federal FY 2013 budget. If a project is successfully funded by Congress, funds would become available sometime during the October 2012 through September 2013 federal FY 2013 period.
The Forest Legacy Program is designed to support state and community efforts to keep forestland viable, and keeping working forests as forests. The voluntary program provides financial incentives -- using conservation easements, land acquisition or land donation -- for private landowners to protect environmentally important working forest areas that are threatened by development, fragmentation and other non-forest uses.
A project pre-proposal to assist Oregon evaluators consisting of a nomination letter and a description of the forest property is required. Formal applications will be developed by applicants using the national Forest Legacy Information System (FLIS) to ensure uniformity with project submissions from other states.
To be eligible, the private forest lands seeking Forest Legacy Program funding must be within one of 6 Forest Legacy areas identified across Oregon by the State Forest Stewardship Coordinating Committee. Interested applicants should follow the steps as outlined in the FY 2013 Oregon Forest Legacy Program Meeting Application Instructions.
In 2010, Oregon updated its Forest Legacy Program as part of a five-year Resource Strategy developed to meet requirements of the 2008 Farm Bill. The updated program replaces Oregon’s 2001 Assessment of Need.
Oregon welcomed its first Forest Legacy Program project in September 2007 when the City of Eugene worked with a private landowner to preserve over 25 acres of oak habitat in Eugene’s Wild Iris Ridge. The Forest Legacy program has also been awarded $4,000,000 to Oregon for acquisition of a conservation easement for the Skyline Forest near Bend. The Deschutes Land Trust is the lead conservation partner for this project.
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. The land stays in private ownership and owners retain those private property rights consistent with forestry purposes and the many forest resources values to be conserved.
For more information about the Oregon’s Forest Legacy Program, contact Jim Cathcart, Oregon Department of Forestry, at 503-945-7493.