DCNR Riparian Forest Buffer Grant Program
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Posted by: Gregg Robertson
HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) announced a Riparian Forest Buffer Program that provides reimbursable grants to organizations to establish riparian forest buffers. Landscape contractors can install these buffers and nurseries growing native plants and trees can supply the plant material for these buffers.
Who is Eligible?
Local governments, educational organizations and non-profits are eligible to apply for these funds so landscape contractors and nurseries will have to partner with these organizations as subcontractors or suppliers.
Eligible activities under the grants include landowner outreach, buffer design, site preparation and buffer installation, plant materials and tree shelters, and short term maintenance (approximately 3 years).
DCNR will consider a variety of forest buffer project types, including conventional riparian forest buffers and multifunctional buffers. The multifunctional buffer concept has been successfully established in many areas across the nation but is a fairly new idea for Pennsylvania. The multifunctional buffer concept was designed to appeal to a broader set of landowners, provide greater program flexibility, address long-term maintenance issues, and allow landowners to reap a modest income from their buffers.
All buffers, whether conventional or multi-use, must include a minimum 15-foot-wide no-harvest zone next to the streambank of native tree and shrub species. Applicants are strongly encouraged to implement an average buffer width of at least 35 feet. Applicants who undertake a buffer project must be willing to enter into a landowner agreement with each participating landowner for a minimum of 25 years. The agreement will address maintenance requirements among other considerations.
Minimum grant award is $50,000. All grants required a 50/50 match. Match can be cash or non-cash, such as in-kind staff, volunteers, equipment use, etc. DCNR reserves the right to negotiate with applicants on the final award amount, acreage and scope of work. DCNR service foresters will be available to provide technical assistance and advice on communications and outreach efforts, buffer design and species selection, and maintenance practices; they can also participate in partnerships and watershed-level projects.
The current round of grant applications are due September 15, 2016.
Guidelines for the pilot Riparian Forest Buffer Grant Program