The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a technical and financial assistance program managed by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.
EQIP helps forest owners access technical expertise to develop and complete conservation practices that improve the health and productivity of their land.
EQIP is a cost-share reimbursement program. Cost-share means that a government entity invests in a portion of the expenses of conservation practices by reimbursing landowners for a percentage of agreed-upon costs. For example, forest owners use EQIP to pay for materials, equipment, consultants, and labor to complete a practice.
EQIP-funded conservation practices include the following:
- Develop a comprehensive forest management plan
- Reduce fuels
- Plant trees and shrubs
- Remove invasive species
- Pre-commercial thin
- Create snags, downed wood and habitat piles
- Treat forest slash
- Reduce erosion and sediment to streams
- Fish passage projects
- Bird nesting boxes
- Plant hedgerows
- Improve pollinator habitat
Who can apply?
Private non-industrial forest landowners – including families, small businesses, non-profits, land trusts and conservation organizations – that harvest less than 2,000 mbf per year.
NRCS accepts applications for EQIP on a continuous basis; however there are cutoff dates to receive funding for a given year. The application process is competitive. Contact your local NRCS office to determine your eligibility, learn about priority practices for your region, and discuss the practices you want to do in your forest.
The deadline for 2017 funding in Washington and Oregon is February 17, 2017! Get your application started today by contacting your local NRCS office’s District Conservationist!
Take a look at the application here: EQIP Application
To learn more about the EQIP program in your state go to:
Work with a Technical Service Provider
A Technical Service Provider (TSP) is a private forestry consultant who is certified by NRCS to develop Conservation Activity Plans and oversee EQIP projects. Landowners hire TSPs to develop and implement EQIP-funded conservation practices.
EQIP provides a set reimbursement rate to forest owners to help defer the cost of hiring a private consultant (TSP). Northwest Certified Forestry’s field staff and select Preferred Providers are TSPs with NRCS.
Recommended TSPs in Washington:
Kirk Hanson – Northwest Certified Forestry
Rick Helman – Northwest Certified Forestry
Recommended TSPs in Oregon:
Marc Barnes – NCF Preferred Provider
Jerry Becker – NCF Preferred Provider
Jake Robinson – NCF Preferred Provider
For a list of additional Technical Service Providers, go to the NRCS directory.
If you have questions, contact NNRG for assistance: Lindsay Malone, Membership Services Director, 206-971-3709 or lindsay at nnrg.org
A Story of Success
Paul Butler of Butler Family Forest shares his story about how EQIP played a major role in his forest management:
“My wife and I own the land with another couple. Initially, we had planned to divide the land and each build houses. After a few years, that plan changed. Our co-owners moved to California, and my wife and I decided to stay where we were (it’s only a few miles from our home). For a few years, we were all content to just let the forest grow, but were troubled by the high property taxes. So I wrote a forest management plan and got the property enrolled in the current use taxation program for long-term forestry; big difference in taxes!
“About that time, I heard a presentation by Ian Hanna and Kirk Hanson on NNRG, and how they could help me obtain an EQIP grant. We qualified for the grant starting in 2008, and it helped me focus my efforts with a sequence of tasks that I agreed were useful. Management options were explained in detail, but ultimately the choice was mine, in terms of which ones I wanted to accomplish. Kirk has served as my technical service provider since the beginning; I really appreciate that continuity.
“While I was teaching at The Evergreen State College, a number of student groups came out to see our operation. As the land is adjacent to Capitol Forest, it provides an interesting contrast between industrial forestry, and small-scale private holdings. Students have also set up permanent monitoring plots, and assisted with thinning and planting. The grant has almost run its course. When complete, I plan to apply for another EQIP grant to assist with writing a new forest-management plan.”
Courtesy of Paul Butler, 2013