Colorado State Forest Service Accepting Landowner Proposals to Protect Private Forestlands

The Colorado State Forest Service currently is accepting Forest Legacy Program proposals from Colorado landowners. The program authorizes the U.S. Forest Service, through the CSFS, to purchase permanent conservation easements on private forestlands to prevent those lands from being converted to non-forest uses. The application deadline is July 23, 2010, for federal fiscal year 2012 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 and management of their land, while receiving compensation for unrealized development rights.

Private forestlands that support continued traditional forest uses and offer water resources, fish and wildlife habitat and ecological, scenic, cultural or recreational value will receive priority. Landowners who elect to participate in the program are required to follow a land-management plan approved by the CSFS. Activities consistent with the management plan, including timber harvesting, grazing and recreation activities, are permitted.

“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, CSFS forest management division supervisor. “The CSFS will continue to utilize this program to foster strong partnerships with local land trusts to secure conservation easements.”

The Colorado State Forest Stewardship Coordinating Committee will evaluate proposals and recommend to the state forester those that have sufficient merit to forward to the U. S. Forest Service. Forwarded proposals will then compete at a regional level; those selected at the regional level will compete nationally for funding.

For additional information and an application packet, contact the Colorado State Forest Service at (970) 491-6303. Applications also are available under the “Funding Opportunities” link at Proposals must be submitted by mail and received no later than 5 p.m. on July 23. Send proposals to the Colorado Forest Legacy Program, Colorado State Forest Service, Colorado State University, Building 5060, Fort Collins, CO, 80523-5060.