Forest Legacy Program
Forest Legacy 2015 Application Materials
- Deadline for Proposals: Thursday, July 18, 2013.
Proposals under the Legacy program are prepared by Project Advocates. Landowners interested in the program need to choose a Project Advocate, which can be a land trust, state agency, or other land conservation organization.
Landowners interested in the program, and also Project Advocates, are advised to read through the Request for Proposals and the Application documents found below to gain an understanding of the Forest Legacy Program and the application process. The landowner’s role is to fill out the Application and provide it to a Project Advocate. The Project Advocate then combines various Applications (properties) and develops them into a proposal for the program.
- Request for Proposals (Word, 12 pp., 357KB, March 2013)
- Check Form (Word, 1 pp., 28KB, March 2013)
- Application (Word, 6 pp., 51KB, March 2013)
- Map of Forest Legacy Areas
Eligibility, Funding Levels and Other Requirements
Participation in Forest Legacy is limited to private forest landowners. The FLP pays up to 75 percent of the appraised value to purchase either conservation easements or land, with the remaining funding (required matching funds) coming from private, State or local sources. Landowners may benefit from reduced taxes if they choose to donate the required matching funds for the program by accepting what is called a bargain sale. Landowners are required to prepare a multiple-resource management plan as part of a conservation easement acquisition.
Additional information about the Forest Legacy Program is available from:
- your local VDOF representative
- Larry Mikkelson, Virginia Department of Forestry, 900 Natural Resources Drive, Suite 800, Charlottesville, VA 22903; phone 434.220.9091.
Development of the nationís forested areas poses an increasing threat to maintaining the integrity of our countryís valuable forestlands. Intact forestlands supply timber products, wildlife habitat, soil and watershed protection, aesthetics, and recreational opportunities. However, as these areas are fragmented and disappear, so do the benefits they provide. While local governments commonly guide development away from the most sensitive areas through traditional land use controls (like zoning), sometimes these measures are not sufficient to fully protect the forested component of our natural resource base.
The Forest Legacy Program (FLP), a Federal program in partnership with States, supports State efforts to protect environmentally important forestlands. Designed to encourage the protection of privately-owned forestlands, FLP is an entirely voluntary program. To maximize the public benefits it achieves, the program focuses on the acquisition of partial interests in privately-owned forestlands, through conservation easements, a legally binding agreement transferring a negotiated set of property rights from one party to another, without removing the property from private ownership. Most FLP conservation easements restrict development, require sustainable forestry practices, and protect other conservation values.
The Forest Legacy Program complements private, Federal and State programs focusing on land conservation. FLP-funded projects serve public purposes identified by participating states and agreed to by the landowner, such as providing open space, protecting viewsheds of state scenic roads or rivers, and providing sustainable forest products to support the local or regional economy.
The USDA Forest Service administers the Forest Legacy Program in cooperation with State partners. The state grant option allows States a greater role in implementing the program. FLP also encourages partnerships with local governments and land trusts, recognizing the important contributions landowners, communities and private organizations make to conservation efforts.
Virginiaís Forest Legacy Program
The Commonwealth of Virginia is a partner in nationwide efforts to conserve forestland and open space by utilizing the state grant option under the FLP. The Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) is the lead agency under the program for Virginia and the entity that administers the FLP grant funds within the state of Virginia.
The FLP is a competitive grant program with 50 participating states and territories annually competing for Federal funds under the program. In Virginia, the program funds both the acquisition of conservation easements, and the fee simple acquisition of private land offered for the program.
Virginia distributes an application packet to the public annually in mid-March and accepts applications for the program until late-June. Applicants are expected to make a presentation about the property they are offering at the late summer meeting of the Forest Legacy Subcommittee (usually in August or September). The subcommittee then ranks the projects and the top three (or sometimes fewer) projects are presented to the Forest Stewardship Committee for the purpose of making recommendations to the State Forester. Information about the projects are then entered into a computer system for consideration by a national ranking panel the following January. Top-ranked projects nationally are offered for inclusion in the Presidentís budget, consideration by Congress, and finally grant awards to the states.
The Virginia program requires a minimum of 50 acres, of which 75 percent must be forested. The title to the property must be free of any liens or encumbrances. In addition, the property must lie within the Forest Legacy Areas of the state. Virginiaís Forest Legacy Areas encompass approximately 16.0 million acres, or 63 percent of the stateís land area. A landowner interested in the program can submit the Pre-Application found above to determine if their particular property falls within the Forest Legacy Areas.
For properties that are funded, the Department of Forestry works with the landowner to acquire the property, or a conservation easement on the property. This work involves a title search, an appraisal, possibly an environmental site assessment, occasionally a survey, and the wording of deed language that is satisfactory to the landowner, the VDOF, and the FLP. Except for the survey, the FLP usually pays for the costs of these various due diligence items.
Virginia landowners have been very successful in the program, receiving grant funds each year from 2001 through 2010. Forest Legacy is one of the several programs the agency has available to landowners who are interested in conserving their forestland, and all the benefits it provides, for future generations of Virginians.
Additional information resources
Last modified: Wednesday, 20-Mar-2013 11:26:29 EDT