Reestablishing a Grand Tradition

With federal and private funds available for restoring the longleaf ecosystem, there are a multitude of ways landowners can receive some form of assistance. Oftentimes capitalizing on these resources is a matter of knowing what is available and points of contact. Below are some programs and services that can begin the process. Additional information about cost share programs can be found elsewhere on our general forestry cost share page.

GFC Services

The Georgia Forestry Commission offers many longleaf ecosystem services to landowners across the state, often at no charge or at competitive rates.

Longleaf Forester

In 2015, a forester specifically dedicated to the management of longleaf was added to GFC staff. Based out of Waycross, GA, the forester is available for technical advisement throughout the state. For more information on projects, research and accomplishments, click here.

Name: Laura Bosworth
Phone: 912-287-4915
Email: lbosworth@gfc.state.ga.us
Address: 5003 Jacksonville Hwy, Waycross, GA 31503

Burn, Plow and Plant

GFC can assist with on-the-ground work such as prescribed burning, firebreak plowing and the purchase and planting of seedlings. These topics are covered in length in other locations of this website. If you are unsure how firebreaks and burning are an integral part of management, visit our page on longleaf management. Contact your local GFC county unit for firebreak plowing, prescribed burning assistance and to order bare root longleaf seedlings.

Cost Share

There are several options for financial assistance in managing and establishing longleaf. One should pay careful attention to requirements and guidelines before committing to any agreement. Do not make management decisions with cost share as your primary motivator. Assistance is always nice and sometimes needed, however, management decisions have long-term effects and should be made with the landowner's objectives as the primary concern.

  • EQIP
    Requirements:
    Non-industrial private lands.
    AGI of less than 900,000/year (averaged over the last three years).
    Completion of practices.
    Compliance with highly erodible land and wetland requirements.

    Benefits:
    High cost share rate- 75% of state averages.
    Technical assistance in developing plan for implementation of practices.
    Largest variety of practices offered by cost share program. Everything ranging from establishment to commercial thinning.
    Contract length is two years to complete practices.

    Process:
    Conact local NRCS agent to apply. Applications are accepted anytime but deadlines are announced each year to receive upcoming funding. Deadlines vary, but there is typically one per year.  Applications not funded or those received after the deadline will roll over to the next funding cycle.
    Application is sent to GFC forester for initial inspection and plan development.
    NRCS receives plan and uses it as part of the ranking process.
    Landowner will be notified by NRCS of acceptance or refusal.
    Landowner must complete practices in a proper timeline recommended by GFC.
    Landowner reports practice completion to NRCS and the practice is then inspected.
    If confirmed and approved, funds for practice are distributed by NRCS.

  • Working Lands for Wildlife
    Requirements:
    Non-industrial private lands.
    AGI of less than 900,000/year (averaged over the last three years).
    Completion of practices.
    Compliance with highly erodible land and wetland requirements.
    Be in the geographic region designated for gopher tortoise habitat restoration.
    Have soils on site that are suitable for gopher tortoise or have tortoises physically present on site.

    Benefits:
    High cost share rate- 75% of state averages.
    Technical assistance in developing plan for implementation of practices.
    Smaller pool of applicants (higher chance of acceptance).
    Contract length is two years to complete practices.

    Process:
    Contact local NRCS agent to begin enrollment paperwork before deadlines - Deadlines vary, but there are typically two to three per year; applications not funded will roll over unless cancelled.
    Application is sent to GFC forester for initial inspection and plan development*.
    NRCS receives plan and sends application to state and federal offices for ranking.
    Landowner will be notified by NRCS of acceptance or refusal.
    Landowner must complete practices in a proper timeline recommended by GFC.
    Reports to NRCS practices completed, these are then inspected.
    If confirmed and approved, funds for practice are distributed by NRCS.

    * Oftentimes inspections by the NRCS county agent are also conducted. This depends on the program being applied for and the practices planned.

  • Conservation Reserve Program
    Requirements:
    Must have been cropped four out of six years between 2008-2013.
    Contract lengths are 10 or 15 years.
    Must own land for one year.
    Non-industrial private lands.
    AGI of less than 900,000/year (averaged over the last three years).
    Completion of practices.
    Compliance with highly erodible land and wetland requirements.

    Benefits:
    Signing incentive payment per acre for some practices.
    Yearly rental payment per acre based on soil type.
    Cost share assistance on required practices- up to 90%.

    Process:
    Contact local FSA agent to begin enrollment paperwork.
    Application is ranked based on location, soils and practices desired.
    If approved- GFC receives information and develops plan.
    Landowner is given copy of plan and required to complete practices by timeline set forth in contract.
    Landowner reports completed practices.
    GFC inspects.
    FSA distributes payment and verification.

  • Partners for Fish and Wildlife:
    Requirements:
    Non-industrial private lands.
    Flat planting of longleaf (not ideal for wet sites).
    Contract length- 10 years (must keep on site).
    Soils suitable for gopher tortoise or species present on site.
    Completion of practices.
    Compliance with highly erodible land and wetland requirements.
    Priority given to sites that reduce landscape fragmentation, are adjacent to protected lands, and highest efficacy.

    Benefits:
    Financial assistance ranging from $125-$320/acre.
    Technical assistance in developing plan for implementation of practices.
    Smaller pool of applicants (higher chance of acceptance).
    Practices include longleaf establishment, fire implementation, and establishment of native groundcover.

    Process:
    Contact local FWS in spring to early summer (earlier is better).
    Site is inspected by FWS representative and possibly a GFC forester.
    Approval or rejection.
    Landowner completes all practices and informs FWS contact.
    Site inspected.
    If satisfactory, entire payment is dispensed after all practices have been completed.

  • Southern Pine Beetle Program-
    Details for this program are available through the GFC website. Program funding varies from year to year and money for 2018 has not yet been confirmed.

  • Local Grant Projects
    Oftentimes local agencies have projects or grants, either active or in progress. Agencies are often looking for high priority areas in which to establish and manage the longleaf ecosystem. Terms and assistance vary from project to project. The organizations below provide a good starting point for considering grants.
  • Easements
    Terms and conditions of easements can vary greatly from program to program and from project to project. Terms are often negotiable, depending on needs and objectives, and on selecting the appropriate easement to maximize results. An easement may not be appropriate for everyone, however, for the right landowner in the right location it can be an excellent way to protect land from future development, gain financially, and restore/manage the landscape. Many agencies have available easements, and speaking with representatives is often the best way to gauge if it’s the right decision for you.
    • Working Forest Conservation Easements
      • Administered by GFC
      • Easement designed with active timber focused landowners in mind
      • Details and contacts available on site
    • Agricultural Conservation Easement Program
      • Administered by NRCS
      • Both compromised wetlands and agricultural areas are eligible
      • Easement length is 15 or 30 years
      • Application deadline is December of prior year
      • Adjacent upland acre to wetland may be enrolled at 1:1 match of wetland
      • Details on compensation and requirements are available on site
    • Georgia Land Trust
      • Map available of priority areas and contacts on site
      • Easement terms vary based on agreement
    • Department of Natural Resources
      • Aimed at protecting Bob White Quail habitat
      • Easement terms vary greatly, depending on landowner needs and wants
      • Contact local DNR biologist to inquire and begin
    • The Nature Conservancy
      • Terms negotiable
      • Contact information can be found here