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Forestry and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program

Overview

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program is a voluntary conservation program that provides technical and financial assistance to agricultural producers (including forest landowners). The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service administers EQIP with advice from local work groups.  Forest landowners who need help to meet their objectives for their forest land are eligible.

Which practices on forestland are eligible?

Forest practices used to treat the resource concerns include:

  • 106 – Forestry Conservation Activity Plan – A long range whole forest comprehensive site specific plan written to guide the forest landowner according to the landowner’s objectives.
  • 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 – Provide wing ditches, water bars, or culverts to keep existing forest roads from washing.
  • 380 – Windbreak Establishment – Single or multiple rows of trees or shrubs in linear configurations to control erosion odor, or create a visual screen.  Can be used to provide shade for livestock in pastures.
  • 381 – Silvopasture Establishment – An agro-forestry application establishing a combination of trees or shrubs and compatible forages on the same acreage.  Can create a silvopasture by thinning existing trees or planting seedlings in an existing pasture.
  • 383 – Fuel Break – Create defensible space around houses in the forest to reduce the risk from wildfire.
  • 384 – Woody Residure Treatment – Assist in cleanup of debris created by catastrophic storm events.
  • 391 – Riparian Forest Buffer –Trees or shrubs planted to create or improve riparian or stream habitat; control erosion; or restore riparian plant communities.
  • 394 – Fire Break – A strip of bare land 15 feet wide or a strip of vegetation 30 feet wide to reduce or stop the spread of fire, allow prescribed burning, or provide access.
  • 490 – Tree & Shrub Site Prep – Mechanically or chemically treating areas to improve site conditions for establishing a forest.
  • 578 – Stream Crossing – A stabilized area of rock or concrete across a stream and the approaches on the channel sides to provide an all weather travel-way for livestock, equipment, or vehicles.
  • 612 – Tree & Shrub Establishment – Establishing native species of trees or shrubs by planting seedlings or cuttings.
  • 660 – Tree/Shrub Pruning – Prune at least 100 trees per acre up to 18 ft to provide light for grass production and increase the quality of open grown trees.
  • 666 – Forest Stand Improvement – the manipulation of species composition, stand structure, and stocking by killing selected trees. Can relieve competition by controlling invasive species or herbaceous material around young seedlings.

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.