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Private Forestry Assistance

Lake County Soil & Water Conservation District offers private forestry assistance, which includes:

  • Site visits
  • Forest stewardship planning
  • Small acre forest management planning
  • Forest practice planning

Frequently Asked Questions

What does private forestry assistance look like?
Private forestry assistance to you as a landowner can be varied. Private forestry assistance could include planning for the long-term future of your forest through a Forest Stewardship Plan, or outlining and marking areas in your forest to implement management practices. Forest practices previously implemented by landowners in partnership with our District include: managing for Golden-winged Warbler habitat; reducing impact on clean water and plant diversity by removing trees damaged by insects (i.e. spruce budworm); and under-planting to increase stand diversity.

People walking in a forest
A Lake County Soil & Water Conservation District staff member, landowner, and private contractor tour a site managed for spruce budworm damage near Two Harbors, MN.

Is there financial assistance available to manage my forest?
Yes! We do have financial (in addition to technical) assistance available to help you manage your forest.

We work primarily with the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), a division of the USDA, to provide financial assistance to landowners through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). EQIP has some stipulations on eligible landowners, but many Lake County landowners (usually with properties 10+ acres in size) have benefited from this program. For more information about EQIP, visit the NRCS website.

Forest Stewardship Plans do cost money to establish, but there are tax incentivevs available for landowners with a certified plan. Primary tax-incentive programs for Minnesota landowners include SFIA or 2C programs. You can contact the County Assessor’s Office for more information about how this incentive works with your property taxes.

We also offer Woodland Stewardship Plans for private landowners as a fee-for-service. Contact our District Forester, Tim Byrns, for more information.

Can you help me figure out what I’m looking for with private forestry assistance?
Yes, we can do this in a variety of ways:

  • Meet with you at your home and conduct a site visit or tour of your property to identify your resource concerns and goals.
  • Meet with you at our office to help you sign up for appropriate programs and direct you based on your property’s unique needs.
  • Answer your questions via email or phone.
  • Print a map of your property if that’s all you’re looking for.

We created a cursory overview of some considerations you may have when looking for private forestry assistance in the flow chart below. Set up an appointment to chat more about whether these programs are the right fit for you.

Forestry Assistance Flow Chart
Overview chart of the private forestry management process
An overview of the private forest management process.

How does Lake County Soil & Water Conservation District work with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)?
Lake County Soil & Water Conservation District can help you as a landowner sign up for NRCS programs. In Lake County, we primarily work with the NRCS EQIP (Environmental Quality Incentives) Program. NRCS does have other programs available, including easement programs.

Lake County Soil & Water Conservation District staff can help flag or certify where an NRCS project should be installed. We can also help you learn more about NRCS programs and help you sign up for EQIP. If you are new to this program or have more in-depth questions, we recommend you contact your NRCS Field Office at 4850 Miller Trunk Highway, Suite 2B in Duluth. As a new participant in an NRCS program, you will need to establish farm records with the USDA (yes, as a private landowner you may be considered a “farmer” if you oare managing a forested property).