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As part of its 2020 “Delaware Forest Resource Assessment” and “Statewide Forest Strategy,” Delaware’s Forest Stewardship Committee is currently reviewing proposed changes to its “Assessment of Need,” which would include the creation of six separate Forest Legacy Program (FLP) areas (see maps below) in addition to the current four areas.
The Delaware Forest Service is posting these proposed changes and seeking public comment and review for a period of 30 days, beginning on March 25, 2020. Anyone with comments, questions, proposed revisions, or suggestions can submit them before April 24, 2020 to: Kyle Hoyd, Assistant Forestry Administrator, at email@example.com. All comments must be made in writing by the end of the 30-day period.
The Forest Legacy Program (FLP) is funded through the U.S. Forest Service’s State and Private Forestry (S&PF) budget. It provides funds to states to protect working forestlands that are threatened by development or other land uses, either through outright (fee simple) purchase or conservation easements. A conservation easement allows the landowner to continue to own the forest; however, the easement prohibits non-forest uses such as development. Landowners who chose to sell an easement must also have a forest stewardship plan for their property that describes the activities needed to help achieve their objectives for the property; the Delaware Forest Service can write this plan with the landowner. The intent of FLP is to ensure forestlands continue to yield the forest products we use everyday, such as timber, wildlife habitat, and water quality protection. Landowner participation in FLP is completely voluntary.
States may only use Forest Legacy funds in areas designated in their Assessment of Need (AON) – the AON describes the state’s forests, the threats to the forests, and those areas within the state that contain the most important forests, which are called the Forest Legacy Areas. Once the Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approves the AON, the state is eligible to receive Legacy funds to purchase land and easements within the designated Forest Legacy areas.
Delaware’s AON was last approved in December 1998, and there are currently four Legacy areas in Delaware – White Clay Creek, Blackbird/Blackiston, Redden/Ellendale, and Cypress Swamp (see map below). These areas contain the highest concentrations of forests in Delaware, including significant acreage already protected through public and private ownership.
If you own forestland within any of Delaware’s Forest Legacy areas and are interested in protecting your forest, please contact the Delaware Forest Service for more information.
To learn more about the Forest Legacy program, visit: www.fs.fed.us/
Delaware’s Forestland Preservation Program protects forestlands through perpetual conservation easements. A conservation easement is a permanent deed restriction whereby the landowner still owns the property but certain activities, such as development, are prohibited. The owner can sell the property, but all future owners must also follow the same restrictions. This program is designed to protect working forests; therefore, the easements allow forest management activities, including timber harvests, to continue. Landowners can harvest timber at any time on their property as long as they follow a forest management plan prepared by a professional forester. The program also does not affect hunting activities on the property.
For more information on Delaware’s Forestland Preservation Program, please visit the following links: