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Western Arkansas Woodland Restoration Project Practice Guide

Overview

The Western Arkansas Woodland Restoration Program is part of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and is a voluntary program that provides technical and financial assistance to agricultural producers who face threats to water quality, forest health and wildlife on their forest land. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) administers EQIP with advice from local work groups.

Which practices on forestland are eligible?

Forest and wildlife practices used to treat resource concerns include:

  • 106 – Forest Management Plan – A site specific, comprehensive management plan to address landowner objectives and resource concerns.
  • 338 – Prescribed Burning – Applying controlled fire to a predetermined area to control undesirable vegetation, prepare the area either for planting, to reduce wildfire hazard, improve wildlife habitat, or restore and maintain ecological sites.
  • 362 – Diversion – Water bars and rolling dips are installed along the road at approximately every 5 feet of vertical change to reduce erosion.
  • 380 – Windbreak Establishment – Establish single or multiple rows of trees or shrubs in linear configurations to control erosion and/or odor, or to provide a visual screen or shade for livestock.
  • 381 – Silvopasture Establishment – Create a combination of trees or shrubs and compatible forages on the same acreage used for pasture by planting seedlings at a wide spacing or thinning an existing forest to a low density and planting grass.
  • 383 – Fuel Break – Create defensible space for dwellings in overstocked forest stands by reducing wildfire hazard by thinning, treating woody residue, pruning and mowing.   
  • 384 – Woody Residue Treatment – Use heavy equipment to treat slash resulting from catastrophic events such as fire, wind, severe pest outbreak, ice storm, etc., to restore normal forest functions.
  • 390 – Riparian Herbaceous Cover – Establishment of native warm season grasses in a strip along streams to improve wildlife habitat, control erosion or restore riparian plant communities.
  • 391 – Riparian Forest Buffer – Establishment of hardwood trees or shrubs in a strip along streams to improve wildlife habitat, control erosion or restore riparian plant communities.
  • 394 – Fire Break – A strip of bare land 15-feet wide or a strip of vegetated land 30-feet wide to reduce or stop the spread of fire or facilitate prescribed burning.  
  • 422 – Hedgerow Planting – Establish double rows of trees or shrubs in linear configurations to provide wildlife benefits and control erosion, or provide a visual screen.  Native warm season grasses can be included.
  • 490 – Tree & Shrub Site Prep – Mechanically or chemically treating areas to improve site conditions for establishing seedlings.  
  • 578 – Stream Crossing –  Create a permanent crossing to a stream by stabilizing the bottom and approaches of a stream channel with rock, concrete, prefabricated product, or culvert to provide a travel-way for livestock, equipment, or vehicles.
  • 580 – Stream Bank and Shoreline Protection – Protection of stream banks with conventional plantings of vegetation, bioengineered techniques, or structural measures to stabilize and protect against scour and erosion.
  • 587 – Structure for Water Control – Metal or plastic culvert less than 30 inches in diameter to convey water under roads or other barriers.
  • 612 – Tree & Shrub Establishment – Establishing native species of woody plants by planting seedlings or cuttings.  
  • 647 – Early Successional Habitat Development and Management – Provides early successional wildlife habitat by setting back plant succession and manipulating species composition by disking or mowing.
  • 658 – Wetland Creation – Create a wetland at a location where surface runoff may be intercepted and ponded by excavation.
  • 660 – Tree Pruning –  Prune branches from trees to improve the wood quality and increase grass production in a silvopasture system.
  • 666 – Forest Stand Improvement – The manipulation of species composition, stand structure, and stocking by cutting (non-commercial thinning) or killing selected trees and understory vegetation.

Pasture practices used to facilitate forest resource concerns include:

  • 382 – Fence – Barrier to control movement of livestock to facilitate the application of conservation practices or protect water quality.  Typical examples of livestock exclusions are streamsides and newly established trees or warm season grass.
  • 512 – Forage and Biomass Planting – Establish or reseed adapted perennial native grasses to improve or maintain livestock/wildlife nutrition and health, extend the length of the grazing season, and provide soil cover to reduce erosion.
  • 528 – Prescribed Grazing – Defer grazing in the pasture from 210 days up to an entire growing season to provide rest to specific plants such as native grasses.
  • Alternative water sources will be needed when livestock are excluded from an existing water source.  Choose from the list below to meet the site specific need:
    •     378 – Pond
    •     516 – Livestock Pipeline
    •     533 – Pumping plant
    •     561 – Heavy Use Area
    •     574 – Spring Development
    •     614 – Watering Facility
    •     642 – Water Well

What is the application/implementation process?

Following are the five simple steps to apply for and implement an EQIP contract.

  • A landowner submits an application to a local USDA Service Center, NRCS office, or conservation district office.
  • NRCS works with the applicant to develop a list of potential conservation practices.
  • NRCS ranks each application using the locally developed natural resources ranking process.
  • NRCS sets aside funds for the highest ranking applications, after which NRCS works with the applicant to finalize a conservation plan and contract.
  • Participants may then begin to implement the EQIP conservation plan following NRCS guidelines and practice standards.