USDA begins oak-hickory project

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Vinton County, Ohio forest
A mixed forest of oaks, suagar maple, yellow poplar and beech in Zaleski State Forest. (Mark DeBrock, Vinton County)

COLUMBUS — As part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s effort to promote oak and hickory growth woodland owners in Adams, Athens, Gallia, Hocking, Jackson, Lawrence, Meigs, Scioto, Vinton, Morgan, Monroe, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Pike, Ross and Washington counties may apply for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program oak management program.

Collaboration

The USDA’s Forest Service, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources have teamed to create the “Collaborative Oak Management” project in southeastern Ohio. The project provides a mechanism to restore oak-hickory woodlands across both public and private land.

Through EQIP woodland owners in the project area can receive both technical assistance from professional foresters, and financial assistance to implement conservation measures recommended by foresters. Ohio NRCS allocated $300,000 for the EQIP Oak Management Program this year.

Public forests included

The project area includes the Wayne National Forest and Ohio State Forests, as well as privately held forest land. Approximately 73 percent of the land within the Wayne National Forest is privately owned and interspersed within the forest boundaries. However, the boundaries of private and public land don’t exist for invasive species and wildlife.

Application deadline

Individuals interested in applying for the EQIP Oak Management Program should make an appointment with the local NRCS conservationist to start the application process. To receive consideration for funding this year, applications are due by May 22.

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