The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service is making $120,000 available to Virginia landowners in the York and Rappahannock watersheds who agree to implement forestry practices that will help restore the Chesapeake Bay.
“For nearly two decades, NRCS has partnered with the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) to develop innovative approaches to conserving natural resources in the Commonwealth,” says NRCS State Conservationist Jack Bricker. “This is the second award under the Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI) for this five-year forestry project valued at $600,000.”
Those who own land within a 26-county area that includes Rappahannock, Fauquier, Culpeper and Madison counties can receive incentive payments for up to 75 percent of the costs associated with developing forest management plans, establishing forested buffers, planting trees, improving forests, and/or excluding livestock from wooded areas.
Though program signup is continuous, deadlines for upcoming ranking periods are March 30, April 30, and May 31.
In 2011, NRCS developed 50 contracts for forestry practices and forest management plans on 7,554 acres, and landowners have so far received $43,870 in payments as a result.
VDOF Forest Management Director Dean Cumbia said, “Forests and trees are vital to protecting the waters of the Chesapeake Bay by capturing nutrients, sediment and providing stable cover for large areas in the watershed. While CCPI funds help landowners in their efforts to plan and install important forestry-based conservation practices on their land, the results benefit everyone living in the watersheds.”
To learn more about CCPI for Virginia forestry practices, contact Rex Rexrode at the NRCS’s Culpeper office (540-825-4200, ext. 108), or visit www.va.nrcs.usda.gov.