Idaho Forest Legacy Grant Program

Idaho Department of Lands (IDL)


Grant amount: Unspecified amount

Deadline: May 31, 2018

Applicant type: Government Entity Nonprofit

Funding uses: Applied Project / Program

Location of project: Idaho

Location of residency: Idaho

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Overview:

Background

Idaho's Forest Legacy Program recognizes that in order to protect all forest values and the benefits that society derives from forested lands it is first necessary to maintain those lands as forests. Idaho's privately owned forestlands are becoming increasingly valuable and sought after for purposes other than their traditional uses.

Unfortunately, the inevitable development of this land threatens all that makes it attractive, including sustained wildlife, scenic and timber values. Idaho's Forest Legacy Program is a tool that can be used to reconcile the desire of private landowners to capture the value of their lands without destroying the underlying values that those forests provide.

Idaho’s Forest Legacy Program

The Forest Legacy Program provides funding to Idaho to purchase conservation easements on private lands that might otherwise be developed and lost as forests. The program is voluntary and will include only those private landowners who wish to sell development rights to their lands.

For those landowners, participation in the program allows them to capture part of the value their land has for development but, at the same time, assure that it will remain as forestland forever. The program is an important tool for protecting the economic and environmental values associated with private forest lands upon which so many Idaho communities rely.

FLP conservation easements are legally binding agreements that transfer a negotiated set of property rights from the landowner to the State of Idaho without removing that property from private ownership. In general, Idaho’s FLP conservation easements restrict development and mineral extraction, require sustainable forestry practices, and protect other values such as water, cultural resources, and fish and wildlife habitat.

Goals

  • Identify high priority forestlands in Idaho;
  • Maintain the cultural and economic stability of rural communities by conserving working forest landscapes;
  • Conserve and/or enhance water quality;
  • Maintain unique forest habitats;
  • Protect and provide habitat for native fish, wildlife and plants; and
  • Protect the social values that forests provide such as public recreation, scenic, cultural and historical values.

Objectives

To achieve program goals and further leverage Idaho’s conservation efforts, the following objectives will be used to direct the Forest Legacy Program in Idaho.

  • Promote wildlife connectivity between undeveloped areas;
  • Focus efforts on projects with large areas of contiguous forest (>100 acres);
  • Promote sustainable forest management practices (Landowner Forest Stewardship Plan (LFSP), Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), American Tree Farm System (ATFS), etc.);
  • Contribute to a large scale organized conservation plan (Yellowstone to Yukon, Idaho’s Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy, etc.);
  • Protect Threatened and Endangered species habitat; and 
  • Complement previous investments in forestland conservation.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.

Eligibility:

  • Project Eligibility
    • Project must meet one or more of Idaho’s Forest Legacy Program goals;
    • Project must be within an Idaho Priority Landscape Area as identified in the Forest Action Plan (FAP) - Resource Strategy;
    • Landowners should work with a land trust organization or another state agency to develop their application;
    • Project must be sponsored by a federal or state agency or a land trust organization;
    • Project must be privately owned (non federal, State, or local government);
    • Project must be at least five (5) acres in size;
    • Project must include a minimum 25% cash or in-kind, non-federal match.
      • The FLP will fund up to 75% of total program costs (acquisition costs plus other allowable expenses);
    • Project must be 75% forestland (defined as land with trees that has at least 10% canopy cover or that formerly had such tree cover and is not currently developed for non-forest use);
    • Landowners agree to follow federal Forest Legacy Program requirements and implementation rules which include:
      • Accepting an appraisal that meets standard federal appraisal guidelines ;
      • Managing the property by means of a Landowner Forest Stewardship Plan (LFSP) approved through the Idaho Forest Stewardship Program;
      • Agreeing that a funded project will not receive payment until federal funding has been secured;
      • Allowing an annual inspection for conservation easement (CE) compliance ; and 
      • Granting a perpetual conservation easement to the State of Idaho, with the stated purposes of maintaining, enhancing, or conserving the forestland and conservation values of the property.
  • Required Restrictions
    • The following items are general summaries of provisions included in the conservation easements. Exact language within the easements may differ from that provided for below:
      • Legal division, subdivision, or de facto subdivision of the Property through sales, leases, or otherwise, unless use of the property following the division or subdivision will be consistent with the purposes of the easement. 
      • Construction or placement of any new commercial or residential buildings, structures, or mobile homes, unless identified and planned for at the time of the CE purchase, with the exception of minor non-residential buildings or structures. 
      • Storage, dumping, or disposal of toxic or hazardous waste.
      • Irreversibly changing, disturbing, or impairing significant natural ecological features and values.
      • Introducing or releasing nonnative plant species. Introduction or release of nonnative wildlife species must be approved by Idaho Department of Fish and Game. 
      • Establishment or operation of any golf course, industrial dairy, commercial feedlot, wild game farming, commercial lodging or guest ranching facilities. 
      • Extraction of minerals, soil, sand, gravel or rock must be bonded, and produce and carry out a reclamation plan, whether for commercial or private use. 
      • Installation of new utilities, utility towers, or necessary related utility structures, unless such installations and uses of the property are consistent with the purposes of the easement. 
  • Negotiable Restrictions can be found here.

Preferences:

  • Criteria that will Enhance Application Ranking
    • Readiness: a signed option agreement, Landowner Forest Stewardship Plan, draft Conservation Easement, title report, and mineral survey, among others, are all completed at time of application. 
    • A non-federal match of 50% or greater.
    • Larger contiguous acreages. Parcels less than 100 acres will rank very low unless there are significantly unique environmental values to conserve
    • Designated public access uses, except in cases where primary goal is conservation of threatened and endangered species
    • Connection to other public or private protected lands (USFS, USFWS, IDFG, BLM, Land Trusts, conservation easements, etc)
    • Contribution to recognized conservation strategies or initiatives
    • Contribution to local economies
    • Contribution to environmental values by conserving habitats and species
    • Protection of cultural, scenic or other public resources
    • Threat of by conversion to non-forest uses