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Healthy Forests Reserve Program

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Application Information

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.

How to Apply

Visit your local USDA Service Center to apply or visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/getstarted.

Download NRCS conservation program application (PDF, 267KB)

Purpose

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:

  1. 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;
  2. Improve plant and animal biodiversity; and
  3. 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.

Benefits

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.

Enrollment Option

Kentucky’s HFRP offers two enrollment options:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Eligible Lands

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.

Upper Cumberland River Watershed

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.

Ineligible Lands

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.

Helpful Documents

HFRP Sponsors

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For More Information

Please contact NRCS at your local USDA Service Center.

State Contact:

Jacob Kuhn
Assistant State Conservationist
859-224-7371