Oregon News

Special funding boosts grants to protect threatened private forests through Forest Legacy Program

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SALEM, Ore.—A grant program administered by the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) is now taking applications to protect privately-owned forests from development pressure.

“The Forest Legacy Program provides grants to protect private forests either through a conservation easement or outright purchase,” said Christina Helige, ODF’s Forest Legacy Program (FLP) Coordinator.

The nation-wide program run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service will get $700 million over ten years from the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). This is in addition to the regular funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) which last year’s nationwide allocation was $88 million. Each state designates an agency to administer the program and take applications and for Oregon it’s the Department of Forestry.

“There are two important application deadlines,” said Helige. “The first deadline is March 22 for IRA Round 2 projects and the second round for regular LWCF is June 28.”

Like most grant programs, there are many rules and requirements to follow. Two of the most important—and sometimes challenging—is that applications typically require a funding match of 25 percent of the grant amount, and an entity—typically a government one—has to administer and manage the land covered by the application.

“Applications are submitted as a partnership with the private landowner and a nonprofit and/or, local, state, Tribal or other government entity,” said Helige.

One recent example of a successful application was the 2023 Minam River Wildlife Area acquisition in northeast Oregon.

“That project’s key partners were the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Manulife Investment Management Timber and Agriculture Inc. and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Their application received $9.75 million to purchase and conserve a combined 15,573 acres with 10,964 acres funded from the FLP,” said Helige. “ODF administered the application process and helped complete the grant.”

For grant applications and instructions go to the application link: ForestLegacyProgramApplicationInstructions.pdf (oregon.gov)

For questions on grant proposals and applications contact [email protected]

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