Changes Due to the Coronavirus
RCO understands that grant applicants may need more time to complete their applications in light of COVID-19. RCO has made the following changes to its Forestland Preservation WWRP grant application process:
- Grant application deadline extended from May 1 to June 1. In the next few weeks, RCO will adjust some of the other deadlines.
- All project evaluations will be Web-based. There will be no in-person meetings and the evaluation committee will work remotely as well.
- At its April 22 meeting, the Recreation and Conservation Funding Board will consider reducing match.
CANCELED: Forestland Preservation Practitioner’s Workshop
The workshop will be rescheduled in the Fall of 2021.
Application Workshop Webinar
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 be enrolled in a county’s open space or forestland property tax program.
- 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 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 must be a contiguous 5 or more acres devoted primarily to the growth and cutting of trees for commercial purposes. The tax program includes the following:
- The land only and not any homes.
- Land used for incidental uses compatible with the growing and cutting of trees but not more than 10 percent of the forestland.
- Land housing equipment or other facilities necessary for the production, preparation, or sale of the timber products.
- 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
Who May Apply?
- Nonprofit nature conservancies
- State Conservation Commission
Funding comes from the sale of state bonds and is estimated to be $575,000 every 2 years.
Grant applicants may request any amount up to $500,000.
Cities, counties, and nonprofits must provide a one-to-one matching share. There is no match requirement for the Washington State Conservation Commission.
Match may include the following:
- Appropriations or cash
- Donations of cash, land, labor, equipment, and materials
- Other grants
- Applicant’s labor, equipment, and materials
- 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, such as installing fences or bridges, replanting riverbanks, and replacing culverts, must further the ecological functions of the forestland.
- Combination of land acquisition and either 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.
- Acquisition 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, and of land to satisfy a Habitat Conservation Plan under the Endangered Species Act
- Consumable supplies such as fuel, fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides, except as a one-time application if they part of otherwise eligible acquisition or restoration activities
- Elements that cannot be defined as fixtures or capital items
- Environmental cleanup of illegal activities, such as meth labs
- Indoor facilities
- Purchase of maintenance equipment, tools, or supplies
- Restoration work done before a grant agreement is signed
- Restoration work required under the Forest Practices Act or other regulatory mitigation requirement, except as described under the Fish Passage Barriers section
- Routine operation and maintenance costs
- Transfer of development rights
- Utility payments such as monthly water or electric bills
Land acquired with conservation easements or leases, and habitat enhanced or restored, must be kept and maintained for forestland forever.
More information is in Manual 7: Long-term Obligations.