Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Kentucky, in cooperation with their partners, announced application cutoff dates for the implementation of the Healthy Forest Reserve Program (HFRP). Applications are currently being accepted, with the next scheduled ranking cutoff date of April 19. Applications not making the cutoff will be evaluated for the next funding cycle.
The purpose of HFRP is to assist landowners, on a voluntary basis, in restoring, enhancing and protecting forestland resources on private lands through permanent and 30-year easements.
The objectives of HFRP are to promote the recovery of endangered and threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), including the Indiana Bat. Other efforts are to improve plant and animal biodiversity and to enhance carbon sequestration.
Under this working forestland program, landowners will be compensated for their 30 year or permanent easement with a lump sum easement payment. Landowners must agree to implement a forest management plan that maintains and improves biodiversity and habitat for target species during harvest or management activities on the enrolled land.
Eligible areas include parts of the Upper Cumberland Watershed. Eligible land must be located within those parts of the Upper Cumberland River, Rockcastle River, South Fork of Cumberland River, Upper Buck Creek and Lower Buck Creek that lie within Lincoln, Rockcastle, Jackson, Laurel, Pulaski, Wayne, McCreary, Clay, Knox, Whitley, Bell, Harlan, and Letcher counties.
Visit or submit an application to your local USDA Service Center, or contact your local district conservationist to determine if your land qualifies.
For more information, please contact Charles Kitts, Easement Team Leader at (859) 224-7365 or Jacob Kuhn, Assistant State Conservationist at (859) 224-7350; USDA National Resources Conservation Service, 771 Corporate Drive, Suite 210, Lexington, KY 40503.