The Forest Service stewards a portfolio of landscapes across 193 million acres of National Forests and Grasslands in the public trust. Although, more than half the forest land in the United States is owned and managed by approximately 11 million private forest owners.
In addition to managing publicly owned lands, the Forest Service helps ensure that forest landowners have the best technical, educational, and financial assistance available to achieve their unique objectives and to keep private forests working. In order to this work, the Forest Service has multiple programs to promote healthy forests including the Community Forest Program, the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program, and the Forest Legacy Program.
The Community Forest Program (CFP)
A competitive grant program, the CFP provides financial assistance to tribal entities, local governments, and qualified conservation non-profit organizations to acquire and establish community forests that provide community benefits such as public access and recreational opportunities, protect vital water supplies and wildlife habitat, serve as demonstration sites for private forest landowners, and provide economic benefits from timber and non-timber products.
In order to be eligible for grants, the private land must be threatened by conversion to a non-forest use and must be at least five acres in size, and at least 75 percent forested.
Through this program, communities can buy land, but must own the land fee simple, not in a conservation easement. That fee simple ownership can be held by local governments, tribal governments, and qualified nonprofit entities. Logistically, the program pays up to 50 percent of the project costs and requires a 50 percent non-federal match. Public access is required for Community Forest Program projects.
The program covers the entire country, but has funded several projects in the American West. The programs awarded and years in which they were awarded are listed below:
FY 15 - Nisqually Community Forest (WA)
FY 17 - Pine Street Woods (ID)
Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP)
Supporting the Forest Service Open Space Conservation Strategy, the CFLRP exists to encourage the collaborative, science-based ecosystem restoration of priority forest landscapes.
The program promotes healthy forested ecosystems, job stability, reliable wood supply, and reduced emergency wildfire costs and risks. National forests work directly with communities and local organizations on restoration projects that benefit people, water, wildfire and local economies.
The fund may only be used on National Forest System lands, and can be used to pay for up to 50 percent of restoration treatments and monitoring. No more than $4 million can be used in any one year on any one project.
Almost every western state boasts an active CFLRP project. By state, the projects include (project name; estimated acres included):
Front Range; 1,928,362 acre
Uncompahgre Plateau Collaborative Restoration; 1,025,495 acres
Southwestern Crown of the Continent; 1,425,192 acres
Zuni Mountain; 224,046 acres
Southwest Jemez Mountains; 210,633 acres
Selway-Middle Fork Clearwater; 1,664,519 acres
Weiser-Little Salmon Headwaters; 972,225 acres
Kootenai Valley Resources Initiative; 661,146 acres
Deschutes Skyline; 257,851 acres
Lakeview Stewardship Landscape; 665,992 acres
Southern Blues Restoration Coalition; 1,035,022 acres
Dinkey Landscape Restoration; 153,986 acres
Amador-Calaveras Consensus Group: 391,126 acres
Burney-Hat Creek Basins Project: 394,626 acres
Forest Legacy Program (FLP)
In partnership with State agencies, the FLP conservation program allows for the protection of privately owned forest lands through conservation easements or land purchases.
In 2018, the funds allocated to projects totaled $67 million. In the American West, eight projects together totaled $29 million in funding FY 18 including:
Mailliard Working Forest (CA) - $6.205 million
Whitefish Watershed (MT)- $4 million
South Puget Sound (WA) - $5.1 million
Grand Canyon of the Black Hills (WY) - $6 million
Hood River Forest (OR) - $3.8 million
Grizzly Creek (CA) - $995 thousand
Soldier Summit (UT) - $3 million
San Pedro Watershed (AZ) - $710 thousand
The public benefits from FLP by having increased opportunities to hunt, fish and camp, securing clean and abundant drinking water, creating habitat for fish and wildlife, and providing timber, fuel wood, and other forest products.
The Forest Legacy Interactive Map displays geolocated project profiles that include the name of the project, the date the land was conserved, the program investment, the total project investment, the acres protected, and a description of the project and partners included.
Do you have a forest? If so, the links below provide additional resources: