Valuable Improvements Available for Woodlands in SE Ohio

Sign-up Deadline is March 20, 2020

COLUMBUS, Ohio – If you are a woodland owner in Southeastern Ohio and interested in restoring your forest, the Oak Management special project could help.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is now accepting applications for a unique program that focuses onimproving the health of oak-hickory woodlands in Southeastern Ohio.

To restore Ohio’s oak-hickory woodlands, NRCS and its conservation partners created the Oak Management special project.  The project area includes the Wayne National Forest and Ohio State Forests, as well as privately held forestland. Approximately 72 percent of the land within the Wayne National Forest is privately owned and interspersed within forest boundaries.  The Oak Management special project provides a mechanism to restore oak-hickory woodlands seamlessly across both public and private land.

NRCS uses the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to restore oak-hickory woodlands owned privately.  Through EQIP, NRCS provides agricultural producers with financial resources and one-on-one help to plan and implement improvements, or what NRCS calls conservation practices.

Prescribed burning, or planned fire, is just one of the valuable conservation practices used to improve our state’s forest health.  The use of this additional tool can safely reduce excessive amounts of brush, shrubs, trees, and shading while encouraging and rejuvenating new growth of native oak-hickory.

Woodland owners in Meigs County along with those in Adams, Athens, Gallia, Hocking, Jackson, Lawrence, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Pike, Ross, Scioto, Vinton and Washington Counties can receive both technical assistance from professional foresters and financial assistance to implement conservation practices recommended by foresters using EQIP.  

To participate in USDA conservation programs, applicants should be forest landowners and must meet eligibility criteria. Applications signed and submitted to NRCS by the March 20, 2020, deadline will be evaluated for fiscal year 2020 funding. 

In Meigs County, to learn more about the EQIP Oak Management special project or other technical and financial assistance available through NRCS conservation programs contact Carrie Crislip, District Conservationist at 740-992-6646.