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VA Forest Legacy Program (FLP)

Virginia Department of Forestry


Grant amount: Unspecified amount

Anticipated deadline: Jul 20, 2018 2:00pm PDT

Applicant type: Individuals Indigenous Group Government Entity Nonprofit

Funding uses: Applied Project / Program

Location of project: Virginia

Location of residency: Virginia

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Overview:

Introduction

The Forest Legacy Program assists state governments in identifying and protecting important forested lands through conservation easements and fee simple land purchases. Conservation easements allow private individuals to retain ownership, while providing for the conservation of forested lands. Fee simple purchases provide for additional state  properties, held in the public interest, to be maintained and managed as working forests, natural areas or wildlife management areas. Both tools provide the Commonwealth’s private landowners the opportunity to help conserve important forested lands, in perpetuity, for future generations.

VDOF seeks proposals for the Forest Legacy Program for the Federal 2018 fiscal year. Successful applicants may be awarded a grant in an amount up to 75% of the appraised conservation easement value, or the appraised property value if a fee simple purchase, based on Federal appraisal standards.

Application Process

Landowners interested in the Forestry Legacy Program must prepare an application for the program and also choose an Advocate to research the property’s amenities in a series of statewide databases, prepare a proposal and a GIS-quality  map for the property and possibly combine several properties (ownerships) in an effort to increase the competitiveness of the property.

The Advocate is usually a land trust or other private land conservation organization, but may also be the land conservation staff of a governmental entity, or any other interested organization. These organizational entities have staff and resources that allow for improved GIS map making and conservation value identification, both necessary in the current competitive environment. Use of Advocates also utilizes the collective knowledge and experience of Virginia’s land conservation organizations and agencies and draws from the client base of these various entities.

Program Information

Projects and Tracts

Proposals for the Forest Legacy Program are offered as a project, which may be a compilation of several individual tracts (sometimes with separate ownership) that have some logical connection. This connection might be that the tracts fall within the same minor watershed, are located within a land trust focus area, are within an area designated by the locality as a conservation area, or collectively contribute to the conservation of an important resource designated by a land conservation organization as worthy of conservation. 

Tracts are the individual parcels of property offered by the landowner (in the application) for program consideration and consist of one or more county tax map parcels.

Forest Legacy Areas

Tracts are eligible for the program if they are located wholly or partially within the Forest Legacy Area (FLA) for the state. A map of the current FLA is found here (FLA shown in green). The potential applicant or the Advocate should examine the map to determine if the tract appears to be within the FLA. If the eligibility of the tract cannot be determined from examining this map, the applicant or the Advocate may submit a sketch or tax map parcel map to VDOF to determine if the tract falls within the FLA. 

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

Eligibility:

  • To be eligible for the FLP, land must be located within the Forest Legacy Area for Virginia;
  • The 
current 
Eligibility
 Criteria 
for
 Virginia’s 
FLP, 
defined 
at 
the 
time 
of 
these 
interim 
revisions, 
are:
    • Threatened
 by
 conversion
 to
 non‐forest
 use
 (fragmentation
 and
 reduction
 in
 linkages);
    • Continued
 production
 of
 timber
 and
 other
 forest
 commodities
 (local
 and
 regional
 economic 
base);
    • Consideration
 of
 natural
 heritage
 resources
 (e.g.,
 natural
 communities;
 habitat
 for rare, 
threatened 
and 
endangered 
species; 
significant 
geologic 
features), 
and
    • Watershed
 values
 (water
 quality;
 wetlands;
 riparian
 buffers;
 groundwater
 recharge; public 
water 
supplies).
  • Each tract approved in the Forest Legacy Program must meet the following conditions:
    • The tract of land must be 50 acres in size or larger;
    • The tract must be at least 75 percent forested (or the landowner must be willing to plant trees on open fields to meet this percentage);
    • The title to the land must be free and clear of any liens and/or adverse encumbrances;
  • Landowner(s) participating in the Forest Legacy Program must:
    • be a “willing seller”;
    • be willing to encumber their property with a perpetual conservation easement, or be willing to sell their property in fee simple;
    • if a conservation easement, allow annual on-site monitoring of the property;
    • be willing to sell the easement or fee simple rights at less than the full appraised value according to Federal appraisal standards (Uniform Appraisal Standards for Federal Land Acquisitions) 
    • be willing, if program administrative funds are not adequate, to pay a portion of the due diligence costs necessary to acquire the conservation easement or land in fee simple by having these costs deducted from the amount offered for the purchase;
    • be willing to pay for a survey of the property if an area less than an entire tax parcel (or multiple entire tax parcels) is offered for the program, or if the acreage of the property offered can not be validated;
    • be willing to sign a non-binding letter of intent, prior to national project review, showing commitment and interest in placing a conservation easement on, or selling, their land;
    • in the case of an easement, provide a Forest Stewardship Management Plan or multiple-resource forest management plan for the property for review by VDOF and the USDA Forest Service prior to closing; it may be necessary for the landowner(s) to pay the cost of preparing the plan.