Forestland Preservation Grant
The forestland preservation grant program provides funding to lease or buy voluntary land preservation agreements (also called conservation easements) for forests to ensure the lands remain available for timber production in the future.
The program is part of the larger Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program, which was created in 1990 to buy land for outdoor recreation and wildlife conservation. In 2016, the state Legislature expanded the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program to include preservation of forestland with the goal of supporting working forests that also provide connectivity, habitat enhancement, sustainable ecological benefits, and public access.
Through the forestland preservation program, grant recipients also may help restore habitat in the forest.
- Buying a conservation easement or lease for a forest threatened with development
- In conjunction with a conservation easement or lease, restoring stream corridors to support clean water and fish habitat.
Sale of state general obligation bonds.
Definition of Forestland
The following types of forests are eligible: industrial, private, community, tribal, and publicly owned forests. The land must be devoted primarily to timber production and must be enrolled in a county’s open space or forestland property tax program.
Open Space ProgramThe open space property tax program designates timberlands for the production of forest crops to assure the use and enjoyment of natural resources and scenic beauty for the economic and social well-being of the state and its citizens.
Forestland DesignationThe forestland property tax program designates lands to enhance water supply; minimize soil erosion and storm and flood damage to people or property; provide habitat for wild game; provide scenic and recreational spaces; contribute to the natural ecological equilibrium; contribute to employment and profits; and contribute raw materials for products needed by everyone.
Forestland is a contiguous 5 or more acres that are devoted primarily to the growth and harvest of timber for commercial purposes. Both programs mean the land only and do not include a residential homesite. The terms include land used for incidental uses that are compatible with the growing and harvesting of timber but no more than 10 percent of the land may be used for such incidental uses. They also include the land on which appurtenances necessary for the production, preparation, or sale of the timber products exist in conjunction with land producing these products.
Who can apply?
- Nonprofit nature conservancies
- State Conservation Commission
Cities, counties, and nonprofit nature conservancies must provide a one-to-one matching share. There is no match requirement for the Washington State Conservation Commission. Match may include, but is not limited to the following:
- Appropriations or cash
- Donations of cash, land, labor, equipment, and materials
- Federal, state, local, and private grants
- Applicant’s labor, equipment, and materials
The maximum grant request amount is $350,000. There is no minimum grant amount.
Funding Anticipated (Average)
View a chart comparing the amount of funding to each category based on different legislative funding levels.
- Land acquisition through easements or leases (required for all projects). Public access is not required.
- Habitat enhancement or restoration, in conjunction with land acquisition. These activities must further the ecological functions of the forestland.
- Installing fences or bridges
- Replanting native vegetation
- Replacing culverts
- Combination of land acquisition and restoration or enhancement
Projects must include correcting all fish passage barriers on property owned by a private, small forest landowner not otherwise required by the Forest Practices Act. Grant recipients also are required to do a baseline inventory of the condition of the property.
- Of rights for a term of less than perpetuity
- Of land already owned by the grant applicant or sponsor
- Of properties acquired via a condemnation action of any kind
- Of land to satisfy a Habitat Conservation Plan under the Endangered Species Act
- Transfer of development rights
- Restoration work required under the Forest Practices Act or other regulatory mitigation requirement, except as described under the Fish Passage Barriers section
- “Consumable” supplies such as fuel, fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides, except as a one-time application if they are necessary parts of otherwise eligible acquisition or restoration activities
- Elements that cannot be defined as fixtures or capital items
- Environmental cleanup of illegal activities (i.e. meth labs)
- Indoor facilities
- Purchase of maintenance equipment, tools, or supplies
- Restoration work done before a grant agreement is signed
- Routine operation and maintenance costs
- Utility payments such as monthly water or electric bills
Grant Application Schedule
Grants will be accepted in 2017, and then generally in even years. See this year’s schedule.
Grant Evaluation Process (1 year)
- Applicants submit an online application and make an in-person presentation
- Applications and presentations are reviewed and scored by staff and a panel of experts.
- The ranked list is presented to the Recreation and Conservation Funding Board for consideration.
- The board approves a ranked list of projects and sends it to the Governor’s Office for including in the capital budget request to the state Legislature.
- The Governor’s Office prepares a list of projects as part of its capital budget request to the Legislature.
- The Legislature approves a budget and a list of projects.
- The Recreation and Conservation Funding Board meets to make final funding awards for projects approved by the legislature.
Acquisition must include purchase and extinguishment of all development rights. Acquisition of must be in perpetuity.