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News Release

Funding Available through the Southern Indiana Young Forest Initiative Project

Indianapolis, IN, November 28, 2017 – The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Division of Forestry has partnered with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), IDNR Division of Fish and Wildlife, Hoosier National Forest, Ruffed Grouse Society, The Nature Conservancy, Indiana Forest and Woodland Owners Association, Izaak Walton League, Indiana Forestry Educational Foundation and others to provide forest landowners the opportunity to apply for financial assistance to address the lack of young forest areas that provide habitat for targeted wildlife species.

“The Southern Indiana Young Forest Initiative is a five-year project covering 43 of the state’s southern counties.  The project’s goal is to improve the population recoveries of young forest bird species such as ruffed grouse, American woodcock, blue-winged warbler, yellow-breasted chat, and whip-poor-will,” said State Forester John Seifert. “This area of focus is based on the Central Hardwoods Joint Venture bird conservation region and shows a dramatic lack of early successional habitat.”

In recent years, Indiana along with many other states has experienced a decline in these bird populations.  The reduction in populations is associated with a decline of young forest, a crucial habitat type.  The term “young forest” is used to describe ecosystems densely occupied with seedlings, saplings, shrubs, and other early-successional plants.  According to IDNR’s Continuous Forest Inventory Report dated 2012-2016, there is a significant lack of this critical young forest component throughout much of the state.

Through NRCS’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), funding is available to private forest owners and operators for forest stewardship planning and for implementing practices that restore young forest habitat. IDNR District Foresters will work with NRCS and other conservation partners to provide assistance to producers to plan and carry out conservation practices through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). 

“We are excited to be working with IDNR and other conservation partners on this important project.  The first application cutoff date for EQIP applications for this RCPP project is December 15, 2017. I encourage producers who want to improve their land and address resource concerns to submit an application to their local NRCS office by the deadline,” said NRCS State Conservationist Jane Hardisty.

All applications are competitive and are ranked based on locally-identified resource priorities and the overall benefit to the environment.  NRCS takes EQIP applications throughout the year.  Applications received after December 15th will be considered in future application rounds.  As part of the application process, all landowners will need to complete USDA eligibility requirements. To find information on EQIP Eligibility please visit: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/in/programs/financial/eqip/

To find out if your county is eligible or to receive planning guidance contact your local IDNR District Forest at: https://secure.in.gov/dnr/forestry/4750.htm.  Interested landowners should contact their local NRCS office for additional information and to obtain an application. You can locate your local NRCS office by visiting: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/in/contact/local/.  

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