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Program Overview

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (USDA NRCS) has set aside funds to assist landowners in 28 towns in northwest Massachusetts through a new regional partnership called the Western Massachusetts Woodlands for Wildlife.

Landowners in this region will receive help applying for NRCS funds from the Massachusetts Forest Alliance.

Through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), NRCS provides financial assistance for landowners to implement conservation practices that benefit soil, water, air, plants and animals. EQIP addresses natural resource concerns including improvement of water quality, water conservation, reducing greenhouse gases, improving wildlife habitat, and controlling invasive plant species.

Below is a partial list of forestry related conservation practices eligible for EQIP funds:
(Additional stewardship practices may also be eligible)

  • Erosion control on existing forest roads
  • Early successional habitat
  • Firebreaks
  • Forest stand improvement
  • Invasive species control
  • Mast/apple tree release
  • Riparian forest buffers
  • Tree and shrub planting, pruning and site preparation

About NRCS

The USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service works with agricultural and forest producers to protect and conserve natural resource on our nation’s private lands.

NRCS administers conservation programs funded primarily through the current Farm Bill, and offers financial and technical assistance to landowners to address high priority resource concerns through the implementation of conservation practices.

Eligibility

Landowners who have a Forest Stewardship Plan with a Bird Habitat Assessment are eligible to apply for EQIP funds. EQIP applications will be accepted on a continuous basis throughout the year.

A Forest Stewardship Plan must be completed before an application can be reviewed and approved for funding.

NRCS has set aside funding for the following towns to improve wildlife habitat in private woodlands:

Adams, Ashfield, Buckland, Charlemont, Cheshire, Chesterfield, Clarksburg, Colrain, Conway, Cummington, Florida, Goshen, Hawley, Health, Hinsdale, Leyden, Monroe, New Ashford, North Adams, Peru, Plainfield, Rowe, Savoy, Shelburne, Williamsburg, Williamstown, Windsor, Worthington. 

How to Apply

Through the Western Massachusetts Woodlands for Wildlife partnership, the Massachusetts Forest Alliance (MFA) will provide assistance with the application process.

For assistance, contact the Massachusetts Forest Alliance:

Charlie Thompson, President: wmwoodwild@massforestalliance.org
Nathan L'Etoile, Executive Director: nletoile@massforestalliance.org

Click here EQIP Application Forms to review the EQIP Application forms.

More Information

For more information about NRCS and the Massachusetts Forest Alliance use the links below:

About NRCS

About EQIP

The Massachusetts Forest Alliance

 

NRCS uses conservation practice standards to define specific land management activities that NRCS may approve. The conservation practice standards contain information on why and where a specific practice may be applied, as well as the intent behind each practice. Each conservation practice is assigned a code. Your consulting forester may use the practice code in your forest stewardship plan. 

Click the links below for more information on commonly used habitat improvement practices in Massachusetts:

Practice 106: Forest Management Plan

Practice 314: Brush Management

Practice 315: Herbaceous Weed Control

Practice 472: Access Control

Practice 645: Upland Wildlife Habitat

Practice 647: Early Successional Habitat 

Practice 655: Forest Trails and Landings

Practice 666: Forest Stand Improvement

 Soils information can be found at the USGS Web Soil Survey site:

Web Soil Survey

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