ATLANTA— The USDA Forest Service, in conjunction with natural resource partners in the South will host two virtual ceremonies March 23, to recognize multiple Forest Legacy grants awarded in 2020.
Throughout the last year, the Southern Region of the USDA Forest Service Forest Legacy Program acquired 23,327 acres and utilized nearly $23 million in funding in the form of competitive grants, for conservation easements and fee simple purchases, to state agencies.
The Forest Legacy Program (FLP), created through the Farm Bill of 1990, protects forest lands that may be susceptible to alternative forest uses that could have significant environmental impact. Through the program, state agencies work with landowners on a willing buyer – willing seller basis to help landowners keep their forest as forests, enhance sustainable forest management, support strong markets for forest products, enhance soils and water values, and protect biological diversity, recreation, wildlife habitat, and more.
This year the program saw an increase in approximately $30 million nationwide after the passage of the Great American Outdoors Act.
Projects completed in 2020 - 2021 in the Southern Region celebrated at the 10:00 A.M.EDT ceremony include:
Little River (Alabama). $4.5 million was utilized for the Little River project located in the Coastal Headwaters Forest.
Hot Springs National Park (Arkansas). $2.8 million of FLP funding has been used to acquire eight tracts totaling 897 acres.
Pine Flatwoods Recovery Initiative (Arkansas) FLP funding of $930,000 was utilized for the acquisition of the Tenmile Creek tract in Saline and Hot Springs Counties.
Pascagoula River (Mississippi). $3.5 million in funding added 2,396 acres of forested uplands, wetlands and riparian buffer in Jackson County.
Liberty Hill Extension (South Carolina). $1.3 million of FLP funding added the tract simply known as the Doughnut Hole in South Carolina’s Catawba River Basin.
Projects completed in 2020 - 2021 in the Southern Region celebrated at the 1:00 P.M.EDT ceremony include:
Cabin Bluff (Georgia). $4 million was awarded for 7,958 acres of globally rare Maritime Forest and South Atlantic Coastal Nonriverine Swamp Forest.
Fox Hunters Hill (Texas). Through a conservation easement and $1 million in funding, 2,387 acres of sustainably managed forestland will be preserved within the Longleaf Ridge Conservation Area.
Roanoke River (Virginia). In the heart of Virginia's "wood basket,” 2,531 acres utilizing $3 million will be protected in Charlotte County, expanding the Charlotte State Forest.
Nottoway River Pinelands (Virginia). This project will protect in 2,334 acres in the Nottoway River watershed located in the southern pinelands region of Virginia, the birthplace of America's forest products industry.
Balsam Range (North Carolina). The Balsam Range project will protect 2,403 acres of working forestland in the Plott Balsam Mountains.
The FLP is funded by the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which invests a small percentage of federal offshore drilling fees toward the conservation of important land, water, and recreation areas for all Americans. The passage of the Great American Outdoors Act provides permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
For a full list of projects, please visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/managing-land/private-land/forest-legacy/program