Draining over 2,500 square miles of land and comprised of eight major sub-basins, the Chehalis River Basin is among the largest watersheds in Washington. In fact, it is second in size only to the Columbia Basin. Due to its size, importance, and the diverse demands for water within it, the Chehalis River Basin has been identified as a priority area for protection by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Healthy forests produce many things, including healthy water, and taking advantage of that ecosystem service is important tool for protecting a watershed. The Chehalis River Basin contains some of the most productive forestland in the world, and much of it is divided into small, private parcels owned by proud forest stewards. To encourage this forest stewardship (and a healthy watershed) throughout the area, the DNR Small Forest Landowner Office has created a cost-share initiative for forest owners in the basin interested in having forest management plans written for their property by professional foresters. Here’s how it works:
- Property must have a minimum of 40 forested acres;
- Majority of contiguous property must be located within the Chehalis River watershed;
- Property owner must be a person or entity other than the federal, state or county government; and
- Property owner must own a total of no more than 5,000 forested acres within the state of Washington.
- Plan contents must meet the Washington State Integrated Forest Management Plan Guidelines (revised March 2017) and be approved in writing by a designated representative of DNR;
- Plan must be prepared for a fee by a private sector professional consulting forester; and
- Written cost share approval must be issued by DNR before plan is written.
Cost Share Rates:
- 40-100 forested acres: 50% share, not to exceed $900
- 101-250 forested acres: 50% not to exceed $1,100
- 251-500 forested acres: 50% not to exceed $1,500
- 501-1,000 forested acres: 50% not to exceed $2,000
- 1,000+ forested acres: 50% not to exceed $2,800
Approved landowners whose plans meet the program requirements will be reimbursed for 50 percent of the consulting forester’s fee.
Stewardship plans give landowners valuable information, such as current forest health conditions, wildlife habitat enhancement ideas, timber harvest opportunities, and management recommendations to meet your objectives as a forest landowner. Perhaps most importantly, a plan provides a tangible document that serves as a focal point of discussion with other stakeholders in the property, such as heirs, and can stimulate discussion about forest management with friends, family, and neighbors. Additionally, Washington’s Integrated Forest Stewardship Plan helps landowners meet written forest management plan requirements for American Tree Farm System, Natural Resource Conservation Service Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Washington Department of Revenue Designated Forest Land Tax Program (county assessor requirements for obtaining designated forestland land use classification) as well as the DNR Forest Stewardship Program.
To apply for this cost-share program contact Matt Provencher at the DNR Small Forest Landowner Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or (360) 902-1494.
Patrick Shults, Extension Forester, Washington State University, email@example.com
Matt Provencher, Stewardship Forester, Washington State DNR Small Forest Landowner Office, firstname.lastname@example.org