USDA approves Emergency Forest Restoration Assistance all 16 Maine counties

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FRANKLIN COUNTY – The Farm Service Agency (FSA) is accepting applications in all sixteen counties for the Agency’s (FSA) Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) to address damages caused by major storms on December 18, 2023 and January 10 and 13, 2024.

EFRP provides payments to eligible owners of nonindustrial private forest (NIPF) land to enable them to carry out emergency measures to restore land damaged by a natural disaster. EFRP signup will begin on March 25 and end on May 24.

After applications are received, local FSA county committees determine land eligibility using on-site damage inspections that assess the type and extent of damage and approve applications.

Eligible forest restoration practices include debris removal, such as down or damaged trees, in order to establish a new stand or provide natural regeneration; site preparation, planting materials and labor to replant forest land; restoration of forestland roads, fire lanes, fuel breaks or erosion control structures; fencing, tree shelters and tree tubes to protect trees from wildlife damage; and wildlife enhancement to provide cover openings and wildlife habitat.

In order to meet eligibility requirements, NIPF land must have existing tree cover or had tree cover immediately before the natural disaster occurred and be sustainable for growing trees. The land must also be owned by any nonindustrial private individual, group, association, corporation, or other private legal entity that has definitive decision-making authority over the land. The natural disaster must have resulted in damage that if untreated would impair or endanger the natural resources on the land and/or materially affect future use of the land.

An environmental review must be completed before actions are approved, such as site preparation or ground disturbance.

For more information contact your local FSA County Office or visit farmers.gov/recover.

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