Forestry Assistance for Landowners by Matt Engberg and Vaiden Bloch, Northwest Management, Inc.

By September 23, 2018Article

Timely management often makes a difference in forest health, fire risk, pest management, and wildlife habitat. For a small non-industrial private forest owner, finding the time and financial resources to manage a forest is often overwhelming causing delays in implementing a practice or needed treatment. The results of procrastination, when it comes to forest management, is often increased wildfire risk, reduced timber growth, increased presence of invasive plants, erosion and site degradation. Fortunately, there are programs available that can ease the burden of implementing forest management.

One program that the foresters at Northwest Management Inc., recommend landowners investigate is the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) available through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Through EQIP, NRCS provides both technical and financial assistance for landowners so they can improve the health and productivity of their land, and accomplish their Forest Management goals and objectives.

The process begins by contacting the NRCS and signing up for the EQIP program. If your property and needs qualify, the NRCS first requires that a Forest Management Plan (FMP) be developed by a qualified forester. NRCS will fund the development of the FMP up to a specified cost-share limit based on the size of your forest land. The landowner finds and selects a forester to develop and write the plan. The plan identifies your property and makes recommendations on forest management practices that meet your forest management goals and objectives.
Once the cost shared management plan is completed, practices that are identified in the plan can then be applied for and cost-shared through the EQIP program. Funding for practices is based on a first come first serve basis depending on allocated funds made available on an annual basis. Once your practice is accepted and funded, the landowner can contract for the work or undertake the work themselves.

Northwest Management Inc., has been working with landowners on their EQIP projects for several decades. We write the forest management plans and work with landowners to implement the practices identified in the plan. Projects we currently are involved in include tree planting, stand improvement thinning, fuels treatments, home defensible space, tree pruning, invasive plant eradication, access control, road revegetation and many more. To get started in the program or find out more about the EQIP program contact NMI or visit your local NRCS office.