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News Release

NRCS Announces Special EQIP Signup in Oconee County with March 2 Deadline

Signup for Cherokee Foothills Fire Adapted Landscape Restoration Project

COLUMBIA, S.C., February 1, 2018—The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced an Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) signup with an application deadline of March 2 for private landowners in Oconee County to apply for financial and technical assistance to facilitate the restoration of native oak and pine forest in a buffer area around the Sumter National Forest.

This signup will help restore forest health and reduce fuel loads in the 10-mile buffer area by using prescribed fire, mechanical treatments and non-native invasive species treatments as well as create education and management plans in South Carolina.

“NRCS in South Carolina, along with our conservation partners, understand the importance of restoring native oak and pine forests,” said Ann English, State Conservationist for NRCS in South Carolina. “Through targeted management practices, private landowners can help restore a fire-adaptive landscape that will reduce the risk and cost of wildfires.”

Oconee County landowners within the Cherokee Foothills Fire Adapted Landscape Restoration Project area are eligible to sign up for this EQIP funding. This county has been designated as part of the project area due to the decrease of fire-resistant species and the increase of less desirable yellow poplar, red maple, white pine and mountain laurel. Many wildland urban interface communities are being threatened by the resulting high fuel loads and the subsequent risk of uncontrollable wildfire.

South Carolina NRCS aims to help private landowners improve the viability of a fire-adaptive landscape through the implementation of conservation management practices that will help restore ecosystems and reduce wildfire threats. These practices include prescribed burning plans, prescribed burning, firebreaks, forest stand improvement, site preparation, tree planting, brush management, forest management planning, fire adapted community development, mechanical treatments, and herbicide treatment for invasive species.

To learn more about financial and technical assistance available to help South Carolina farmers and other landowners improve and protect their land, visit NRCS in South Carolina’s website at, or visit your local NRCS office. USDA service center locations are listed at