Healthy Forests Reserve Program
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HFRP is a continuous application program. Persons interested in entering into an easement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture- Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) must turn in a completed application form to the local USDA Service Center.
The purpose of the Healthy Forests Reserve Program (HFRP) in Kentucky is to assist landowners, on a voluntary basis, in restoring, enhancing and protecting forestland resources on private lands through 30-year and permanent easements.
The objectives of HFRP are to:
Promote the recovery of endangered and threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), including the Indiana Bat, as well as several federally listed aquatic species;
Improve plant and animal biodiversity; and
Enhance carbon sequestration.
The HFRP was signed into law as part of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003. It was amended in the 2008 Farm Bill.
Restoring and protecting forests contribute to the economy, provides biodiversity of plants and animal populations, and improves environmental quality. In Kentucky, HFRP will focus on habitat protection for the endangered Indiana Bat, and also threatened, endangered and candidate aquatic species. These species are expected to benefit as a result of improved forest habitat conditions, implementation of forestry best management practices, and improved water quality through better management of riparian areas.
Kentucky’s HFRP offers two enrollment options:
A 30-year easement, for which the landowner will receive 75 percent of the easement compensation value of the enrolled land plus 75 percent of the cost of the approved conservation practices.
Permanent easements for which landowners will receive 100 percent of the easement compensation value of the enrolled land plus 100 percent of the cost of the approved conservation practices.
In order to be eligible to enroll an easement in the HFRP, a landowner must:
Be the owner of the eligible land for which enrollment is sought; and
Agree to provide all information requested to the NRCS to determine eligibility.
Eligible areas include parts of the Upper Cumberland River Watershed. Eligible land must be located within those parts of the Upper Cumberland River, Rockcastle River, South Fork of Cumberland River, Upper Buck Creek, and Lower Buck Creek that lie within Lincoln, Rockcastle, Jackson, Laurel, Pulaski, Wayne, McCreary, Clay, Knox, Whitley, Bell, Harlan, and Letcher Counties.
The following lands are not eligible for the HFRP:
Lands owned by a government entity;
Lands subject to an easement that protects wildlife habitat (such as WRP); and
Lands where restoration efforts would be futile.
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For More Information
Please contact NRCS at your local USDA Service Center.
Assistant State Conservationist