California Among States Receiving Forest Legacy Program Funding

From the U.S. Forest Service, California land is among the beneficiaries of funding for the Forest Legacy Program. Here’s the release with the information on Golden State habitat:

Forest Service Partners with CA and Hawai’i to Conserve 27,000 Acres of Private Forestland to Benefit Communities

Release Date: Jun 29, 2023

Helps Forest Legacy Program to its goal of 3M acres of forestlands conserved

VALLEJO, Calif., June 29, 2023 — Today, the Forest Service announced 27,000 acres in California and Hawai’i will be conserved thanks to $16 million in Forest Legacy Program funding. These investments ensure the most critical forestlands will continue to benefit people and communities, including recreation opportunities, vibrant local economies, and thriving ecosystems.

“These forests, which were identified by our state, tribal and nonprofit partners as vital to local communities, are critical to the health of our planet and the livelihoods of millions of Americans,” said Forest Service Chief Randy Moore. “As private forest landowners continue to face pressures to convert forests, the Forest Legacy Program keeps working forests working, ensuring that the most important forested landscapes continue to provide economic and social benefits to the communities that depend on them for their lives and livelihoods.”  

The Forest Legacy Program identifies important forestlands threatened by conversion to non-forest use and works with state agencies and private landowners to conserve them as forests in perpetuity. The program is implemented through grants to states, which work with landowners to conserve working forests through conservation easements or fee simple acquisitions.  

The increase in funding provides a major opportunity to advance the most critical conservation issues facing our nation’s forests, including protecting watersheds, mitigating wildfire risk, conserving habitat for at-risk species, and mitigating climate change. The funding ensures working forests — vital to the fabric of local economies and the health of the environment remain working forests — benefit the communities that rely on them.

The funding marks a significant step in maintaining working forests for future generations in the Pacific Southwest Region. It boosts local economies and improves public access to natural spaces while safeguarding critical wildlife habitat and water quality. 

“These investments are vital to the health and future of some of our most vulnerable communities. Millions of acres of privately managed forests are critical to local economies and ecologies and are under threat of being converted to other uses,” said Jennifer Eberlien, Regional Forester for the Pacific Southwest Region. “When key forests are converted to other uses, it hurts the communities that depend on them for the economic and social benefits they provide. These investments help ensure future generations have healthy, productive forests that benefit local communities and help the region combat the effects of climate change.”

This is part of a larger announcement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service to provide $188 million in funding through the Forest Legacy Program to conserve more than 245,000 acres of some of the most ecologically significant forestlands across the nation. This program works to maintain intact working forests while supporting local economies. 

The conservation of these forests is made possible by the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the Inflation Reduction Act, which is investing $700 million in the Forest Legacy Program over the next 10 years to conserve forest resources critical to the social, physical and economic well-being of people and communities.

In addition, the Forest Service is announcing $250 million in available funding for 2024 through the Inflation Reduction Act. States can apply for this funding to conserve additional forestlands deemed critical to local communities.   

In all, four Forest Legacy Program projects were funded in Region 5:


Project: Trinity Timberlands Project

Federal Investment: $3 million

Non-Federal Cost Share: $1.75 million

Acres Protected: 12,090

Summary: The Trinity Timberlands conservation easement will protect 12,090 acres of private working forestland that share 36 miles of common boundary with the Shasta-Trinity National Forest and Six Rivers National Forest, keeping whole one of the largest national forest inholdings in northwest California.

Project: Brushy Mountain Phase 3, Eel River Peninsula Project

Federal Investment: $10 million

Acres Protected: 13,020

Summary: The 13,020-acre Brushy Mountain conservation easement is part of the 65,288-acre Eel River Peninsula Project. The project will conserve three miles of the Eel River, a federally designated Wild and Scenic River with critical habitat for salmonids. 


Project: Kaneohe Pali

Federal Investment: $1.8 million

Non-Federal Cost Share: $700,000

Acres Protected: 948

Summary: Fee acquisition of the 948-acre Kaneohe Pali Project will protect historically and culturally unique forest that is currently off-limits to the public and will allow managed public access for recreation, traditional cultural uses, education and agroforestry.

Project: Maunawili Valley

Federal Investment: $4.95 million

Non-Federal Cost Share: $1.65 million

Acres Protected: 699

Summary: The Maunawili Valley project will acquire the 699-acre Maunawili Forest and add it to the State Waimanalo Forest Reserve, linking 62,250 acres of protected lands.

For the complete list of funded projects and how the Forest Service works with states to conserve forestlands through this program, visit Forest Legacy webpage.  

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