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.
I have been in the program for a couple of years. Yes, there is paperwork to set it up the first year, but it is a 5 year program and much less paperwork in the following 4 years. Certainly worth my time!
If this is from the same folks I spoke with last year, they are only helping people with over 10 acres of woodlands. That lets me out. Too bad, because I think even my 4.5 acres provides a valuable spot for wildlife, understory crops, etc. Since I am surrounded by a lot of farmland, it also provides a migratory resting spot for birds. I planted 300 trees about 4 years ago: Willamette Valley Ponderosa Pines, Doug Firs, Western Red Cedar. The Mountain Beavers have killed some of the pines, drivers spinning off the curve in the road killed several more, and canary reed grasses regularly swamp the pines. Blackberry, of course, is a constant battle. Since these are problems common to many of us – whether or not we have over 10 acres, information about what others are doing would be helpful to all of us. Financial help would give us a chance to manage the small woods that we care for.
I sympathize with you. Federal funding is limited so NRCS needs to choose priorities with these limited funds. You might check in with the Tualatin River Watershed Council. They also have limited resources, but do work with smaller scale property owners if the project is deemed to be of important benefit.
As to ideas for battling the blackberry, I like the guidance given in “Managing Himalayan Blackberry in Western Oregon Riparian Areas” – go to extension.oregonstate.edu/catalog and search for “blackberry” and it will come up.