The following letter was recently sent out to tree farmers in the Rivanna River Basin…
The Virginia Tree Farm Committee wants to bring to your attention a new pilot project in the Rivanna River watershed called Forests to Faucets. The Virginia Department of Forestry is studying the link between urban water resources and related forest stewardship practices. Forests to Faucets is funded by the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities.
As a Tree Farmer, you understand the importance of good forest management and that your woods need to be cared for to remain healthy. The American Tree Farm System is committed to bringing tools and information to landowners, to help you keep your woodland healthy, productive, and enjoyable. This pilot project, through the Virginia Department of Forestry, is an interesting opportunity to determine if family forest owners can be recognized financially for their important contributions of providing localities with clean, plentiful water.
This pilot project will study the link between the rural landowners’ financial interests and their forest management practices, within the Rivanna River watershed, and the benefits of forest filtered water they provide to municipal water consumers in and around the City of Charlottesville. The intent of the initiative is to examine the long term costs and benefits of water resources as it relates to good stewardship practices on the health of the area’s water supply. The Forests to Faucets initiative will provide payments to rural landowners for land management practices that reduce nutrient and sediment delivery to the Rivanna Reservoir. The following is a short description of management practices available for payments:
Landowners may receive a one time payment to plant seedlings on open fields. The one time payment includes a 20 year land rental contract, payment for project maintenance, and reimbursement of reasonable planting costs.
Harvest Site Stabilization
After a timber harvest, costs associated with stabilizing skid trails, haul roads and log decks are eligible for full reimbursement up to a cap of $5000 per landowner.
Forest Stewardship Management Plan
Landowners are eligible for reimbursement of Forest Stewardship Management Plan (FSMP) preparation costs. The minimum acreage for a FSMP is 10 contiguous acres with a minimum reimbursement of $200 per plan.
Riparian Buffer Tax Credit Match
Timber harvests that leave intact, uncut riparian buffers are eligible for a cash-match incentive payment. The cash-match will be equivalent to the amount of the Virginia Riparian Buffer Tax Credit, up to a cap of $5000 per landowner.
Landowners that have donated conservation easements are eligible for financial incentives that directly value protection of water resources by permanently retaining forest cover and establishing riparian forest buffers.
If you are interested in learning more about the Forests to Faucets project, please contact David Powell, Assistant Regional Forester at the Virginia Department of Forestry, David.Powell@dof.virginia.gov or by calling 434-977-5193. Please be sure to inform your neighbors; this opportunity may be applicable to their lands as well. The Tree Farm program and the Virginia Department of Forestry wants to make sure that you and other landowners get the recognition you deserve for managing your property well for important environmental and social benefits, this Forests to Faucets initiative is a great start!
If you have any questions about your certification through the American Tree Farm System, please feel free to contact me. As your regional chairman for the Virginia Tree Farm Committee, I’m delighted to help you keep your woodlands healthy and productive for all the benefits they provide our communities.
VA Tree Farm – Regional Chair