The Natural Resources Conservation Service is accepting applications for the Conservation Stewardship Program now through January 13th. The CSP provides a per-acre payment to small woodland owners that can demonstrate that they are implementing conservation and stewardship practices such as stream restoration, wildlife habitat enhancement, or other measures. Interested landowners should contact their local NRCS office to learn about eligibility and to determine whether CSP is a good fit for them.

The NRCS news release states that payments are typically around $9 to $12 per acre – which makes me wonder whether it is worth the time and paperwork for a small landowner. However, I do know that several woodland owners in our area participated in the CSP program last year. Are you one of them? I invite you to share your experience by commenting on this post.

The NRCS in both Columbia and Washington Counties are now accepting Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) applications from forest landowners who want forest management plans. The application deadline is October 31, 2011. Approved applicants will receive cost-share funding to have a management plan written by a qualified professional.

Nathan Adelman, NRCS Soil Conservationist in Hillsboro says, “In Washington County, priority will be given to applicants who have 10 or more acres of forest and who agree to complete, with NRCS cost share, afforestation on 3 or more acres of land that is not now and has not recently been in forest. Basically, our office would like to help non-industrial forest landowners plant trees on land that is not currently wooded.”

Columbia County landowners should be receiving more information about the program in the mail, and a series of informational meetings will be held throughout the county during the second week of October.

For more information, contact:
Washington County NRCS: Nathan Adelman, 503-648-3174 ext. 101
Columbia County NRCS: Don Mehlhoff, 503-397-4555 ext. 105