Need Help Removing Dead Trees?
EQIP May Be Able to Help!
A presentation by Robert Evans
Dead trees are everywhere in the mountains. OTFSC, PG&E, County Works are all organizations that have gotten grants to cut down dead trees, and we see a lot of dead trees coming down. All of these entities have grants that allow them to cut trees, but dictate the rules of where they can cut, what happens to the logs and the slash, and how they can operate. Property owners are overwhelmed with trying to get rid of dead trees on their property and most of these grants don’t apply. When trees have been cut the cleanup has been disappointing. There is help available and you, the property owner, can be the boss.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service, under the auspices of the Department of Agriculture, is offering money to help with the cost of cutting down trees. If they approve your project, you get to decide who does the cutting and how it gets done. If you are able, you can do the work yourself. The program is called EQIP (Environmental Quality Incentives Program) and the fund is for Forest Tree Mortality. It is specifically for privately owned land, the segment of the population that has the fewest resources and the most need in terms of number of dead trees to remove.
The rules are simple. Any forested area is eligible as long as the trees are not within 100 feet of a house and there is an acre of contiguous land at least 100 feet wide. The reimbursement is $585/acre to help defray the cost of dropping trees, piling logs, and getting rid of slash. An Obstruction Removal program is also available for mastication and getting rid of ladder fuels. These funds cannot be awarded where grant work applies. If trees are being cut by PG&E or any other organization, and you have other acreage that falls outside that cutting, you may be eligible for this funding. It takes about 45 minutes to fill out the application, bring your deed or lease and start the process. The application goes into a fund pool and the applications are ranked. Mr. Evans reported that all applications so far have been funded and he really wants to fund applications from Fresno County.
Applications will be available October 1st. It is a continuous funding cycle, so you can apply any time and expect to be funded. First contracts will come out in January. Planning a project for spring sometimes meets with environmental problems, especially if birds are nesting or fisheries are involved. After the contract is signed, property owners have a year to get started and another year to complete so you can choose your season to get started.
Mr. Evans stressed repeatedly how much he wants to help homeowners. If you are unsure if your land qualifies, give him a call and he will drive up to take a look and discuss your project with you. He will help you fill out the forms. He will make allowances where possible. He is available by phone or email and really wants to hear from property owners. If you think you qualify, give him a call. Nothing lost and you may be able to get rid of some of those dead trees.
To learn more about EQIP go to https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/ca/programs/financial/eqip/?cid=nrcseprd440606
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