Virginia Department of Forestry 2014 SWCD Annual Meeting VDOF Mission: “We protect and develop healthy, sustainable forest resources for Virginians” Our goals in Virginia: DOF has ~250 employees to meet the following goals: Protect the Forest Resource from Wildfire, Insect and Disease, and other Natural Disasters Conserve the Forest Land Base Protect Water Quality Improve and Renew Forest Resources Protecting Our Forests -Wildfire Agency relies on a fleet of: – 190 – 4X4 Pickup truck-based engines – 7 – specially equipped Hummers – 5 – Custom designed wildland brush trucks – 89 bulldozer/wildland fire plow suppression units – 2 – Incident Command Vehicles – 1 - Airplane Protecting Water Quality Harvest Inspection Program -Notification Law Law Enforcement -Silvicultural Water Quality Law Education -Sharp Logger Program Protecting Water Quality Assist Federal Agencies with Riparian Forest Buffer Est. -CREP, CRP, EQIP, VABMP Riparian Buffer Tax Credit Riparian Buffer Tax Credit (RBTC) Riparian Buffer Tax Credit Tax Credit through the Virginia General Assembly Eligibility includes individuals, & S-Corporations or Family Partnerships. Leaving existing buffers along waterways during a timber harvesting operation Requirements include a Forest Stewardship Plan, 35’+ wide buffer, and be retained for 15 years after harvest Credit is 25% of value of timber up to $17,500 Cost is $150 per application Improve and Renew Forest Resources – starts with a plan If you own a tract of timberland (regardless of size), you should have some type of plan for the future. For small tracts (1-50 acres) - a simple one page letter and a map may be enough. For larger tracts, (50-1000+ acres) – landowners should have a detailed Forest Management Plan. Forest Management Plans should: List landowner objectives Divide the tract into parcels based on timber type and age and make recommendations for each one Should address timber, wildlife, endangered species, invasive species, soil types, water quality, and historical sites Forest Management Plans should: Include a timeline that tells you what year certain practices need to be done Include a detailed map Include Consulting Forester, Timber Buyer, and Logger lists if timber harvesting was recommended in the plan Forest Management Plans VDOF – Forest Stewardship Plans for $1.50 /acre or $200 minimum Consulting Foresters – Forest Stewardship, Tree Farm, or Conservation Activity Plans (CAP 106 Plan) for a fee Landowners can receive cost share assistance money from the NRCS for the CAP 106 Plans. Other Benefits A current Forest Stewardship is required for the following: -Riparian Buffer Tax Credit -Before harvesting timber on tracts that have a conservation easement Other Benefits - continued If you are applying for cost share funding through NRCS’s EQIP program, you will receive extra points for practices that were recommended in the plan. Sustainable Forestry Regenerating a forest ASAP following a timber harvest (planting or natural regen) Minimizing the impact of forest management activities on water quality Maintaining important habitat elements for wildlife and plant species Protecting forests with high conservation values Sustainable Forestry Maintaining biological diversity Limiting the spread of exotic (non-native) plant species and pests -tree-of-heaven -kudzu Foresters biggest challenge: preventing diameter limit cuts Many landowners think that clear-cutting is bad. Loggers may tell them that this is “Sustainable Forestry” Young yellow poplar stand -started from a clear-cut Both stands started from a clear-cut (20/70 years ago) Deferment cut Pine Management – Why are we planting pine trees? Cheap to establish – $75/acre to plant around 500 trees per acre (seedlings and labor). Cost share programs to assist with costs of establishment and management. Thin or total harvest in 20-30 years Current FIA data shows that more pine is being harvested than we are growing/year. Loblolly plantation 3 yr old/20 yr old (thinned) Cost Share Programs: VDOF – RT Program 2014-2015 Program Year -$25/acre - tree establishment – LLP -$48/acre - establishment – SLP, PxL -$70/acre for site prep (chemical) -$22/acre for herbicide release (air) -$45/acre for herbicide release (backpack) Cost Share Programs: NRCS – EQIP Program 2015 Program Year -$60-70/acre - tree establishment -$70-90/acre for site prep (chemical) -CAP 106 Plans – $625-$5300 -Riparian Buffer Est - $670-$1600 RT vs. EQIP RT – simple to sign up, approve signups until we run out of $$, individual counties have their own allotment, can be used for only one practice EQIP – can be used for multiple practices over multiple years, payment rates are higher, Questions?