The Colorado State Forest Service currently is accepting Forest Legacy Program proposals. The application deadline is July 24, 2009, for federal fiscal year 2011 funding. The purpose of the Colorado Forest Legacy Program is to protect environmentally important private forest areas that are threatened by conversion to non-forest uses. The program provides an opportunity for private landowners to retain ownership of their land, continue to manage their land and to receive compensation for the development rights.
The Forest Legacy Program authorizes the U.S. Forest Service, through the Colorado State Forest Service, to purchase permanent conservation easements on private forestlands to prevent those lands from being converted to non-forest uses. Forestlands that support continued traditional forest uses and contain important scenic, cultural, recreation, water resources, fish and wildlife habitat, and other ecological values will receive priority. Landowners who voluntarily choose to participate in the program are required to follow a land-management plan designed for their forest. Activities consistent with the management plan, including timber harvesting, grazing and recreation activities, are permitted.
Colorado already has an extensive network of well-qualified land trusts and other non-governmental land-conservation organizations. The Colorado Forest Legacy Program will support the efforts of this existing land-conservation network.
"The program offers an important opportunity for private landowners and land conservation groups in Colorado to access federal funding to protect valuable private forestlands," said Joe Duda, forest management division supervisor, Colorado State Forest Service. "CSFS will continue to foster strong partnerships with local land trusts to secure conservation easements."
For additional information and an application packet, call the Colorado State Forest Service at (970) 491-6303. Applications are available on the CSFS website at http://www.csfs.colostate.edu. Proposals must be submitted by July 24, 2009, to the Colorado Forest Legacy Program, Colorado State Forest Service, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colo. 80523-5060.
The Colorado State Forest Stewardship Coordinating Committee will evaluate and make recommendations to the state forester on proposals that have sufficient merit to forward to the U. S. Forest Service. The proposals will then compete at the regional level. Proposals selected at the regional level will compete nationally for funding.