The FLEP program has been funded in Washington and should be funded shortly in the other States. FLEP, an acronym for the Forest Land Enhancement Program, is a federally funded program that was established by the 2002 Farm Bill. The FLEP program is nationally coordinated by the USDA Forest Service to provide landowner education, on-site assistance and cost share assistance to develop Forest Stewardship Plans and implement a variety of forest stewardship practices. The cost share part of the plan replaces the former SIP (Stewardship Incentive Program) and FIP (Forest Incentive Program). Both of which have been eliminated by congress.
To qualify for FLEP you must be a non-industrial private forest landowner with less than 5,000 acres. This includes families, tribes, organizations, non-profits and similar organization not in the business of wood processing. If you own less than 20 acres you may qualify for FLEP cost share depending on your State’s specifications.
In order to participate in FLEP, the first step is to contact your State Forester or one of our staff and we will help you through the process. If you have a Stewardship Plan, you can apply for approved activities that include site preparation and planting, forest improvements (non-commercial thinning, prescribed burning, brush treatments), and fish and wildlife enhancement projects (rocks, weirs, plantings, and spring developments).
If you do not already have an approved Stewardship Plan this is the first activity that you do under FLEP. A professional forester will prepare a Stewardship Plan that is specific for your property and based on your goals and objectives. This plan provides the outline of the activities that you wish to implement on your property over the next 10 years. Each State has different guidelines and the information that must be incorporated into your plan will vary from State to State. In most States the cost of the
plan is usually cost shared and this cost is not applied toward the yearly cap for cost share dollars.
Once you apply for cost share dollars your application goes through a review process. This process can take several months. In Washington the applications are reviewed quarterly It is very important that you do not start the projects prior to receiving written approval. If you start your project prior to receiving the approval you will not receive any cost share on the project.
Activities are cost shared at different rates in each State depending on the priority of the activity. Generally, cost share amounts range from 50% to 75%. This can result in you receiving a payment for approved activities up to $5,000.00.
If you need help with applying for cost share activities or have question concerning which activities are funded this year, contact us or your State Forester.