FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Colorado landowners who want to protect private forestlands that could someday be threatened by development – or conversion to other non-forest uses – now have the opportunity to submit proposals to the Forest Legacy Program.
The Colorado State Forest Service is currently accepting proposals to the program, which is federally funded and administered in Colorado by the CSFS.
The Forest Legacy Program authorizes the CSFS or USDA Forest Service to purchase permanent conservation easements or contribute to fee acquisitions on private forestlands. The program provides an opportunity for private landowners to retain ownership and management of their land, while receiving compensation for unrealized development rights.
In order to be eligible for the program, the proposed property must be located within a Forest Legacy Area, as identified in the 2020 application for the Forest Legacy Program, must be privately owned and must consist of at least 75 percent of lands that are classified as forests. At least 25 percent of the project costs must be planned to be secured from non-federal cash or in-kind sources.
Forestlands that contain important scenic, cultural, recreation and water resources, including wildlife habitat and other ecological values, and that support traditional forest uses will receive priority. Landowners who elect to participate in the program are required to follow a forest management plan approved by the CSFS. Activities consistent with the management plan are permitted, including timber harvesting, forest management, grazing and recreation activities.
The Colorado State Forest Stewardship Coordinating Committee will evaluate proposals and recommend to the state forester proposals that have sufficient merit to forward to the USDA Forest Service. Forwarded proposals will then compete at a regional and national level for funding.
The CSFS will accept proposals through Aug. 27, 2020, for federal fiscal year 2022 funding. Proposals must be submitted by standard mail.