“The application process is not that complicated,” Welling said. “Once the request is received, NRCS staff then go to the property to make an inventory of the forest area. We identify diseases and stand issues, then work with landowners to develop a prescription for the property.
Applications are then ranked before funding is awarded.
Last year, the deadline for submitting applications was in November. Welling said this year’s deadline has not been set, but she expects it to be similar.
All requests are assessed and ranked over the winter. Projects selected for funding are announced in the spring. With the contract in place, Welling said they liked to see projects completed in three years, but there is some leeway to add a few more years if landowners need time.
Cost-sharing payments are available for two types of forest treatments.
A forest stand improvement project can be used for several treatment options such as pre-commercial thinning which increases tree spacing by removing smaller diameter trees; sanitation crops for stands with large insects and pests; and combinations of the two.
A treatment of wood residues involves the reduction or elimination of residues generated by forest stand improvement projects. The options for dealing with the slash can span the gamut from scattering on the ground, chipping and chipping, or piling and burning.