Forest Service Eastern Region Distributes $4.1M in Grants to Support Healthy Forests and Clean Water

Release Date: May 18, 2022

Contact(s): Franklin Pemberton

Forest Service Eastern Region Landscape Scale Restoration Infographic 2022

Milwaukee, WI (May 17, 2022) – The USDA Forest Service Eastern Region is pleased to announce the distribution of over $4.1 million in grants across the Northeast and Midwest to restore the health of rural forest landscapes.

Through the Landscape Scale Restoration competitive grant program, the Forest Service provides funding to states and partners working on non-federal lands to improve watershed health for people and wildlife and to reduce wildfire risk, and the spread of invasive plants, insects, and diseases. Healthy forests store and filter the water that we need every day and provide critical buffers to storm runoff; helping to reduce the risk of flooding downstream.

“These grants provide much needed funding directly to states, nonprofits, and other partners for significant collaborative forest restoration projects,” said Gina Owens, Eastern Regional Forester. “The majority of this year’s funded projects support the USDA’s Equity Action Plan by providing funding for projects with a high impact for underserved and rural communities.”

This year, 17 funded projects will collectively:

  • Improve forest ecosystem health and benefits of over 95,000 acres of forestland through forest management for wildlife, removal of invasive species, treatment for hazardous fuels, prescribed burns, restoration of riparian areas, and tree planting.
  • Plant over 796,000 trees and shrubs in rural communities.
  • Provide assistance and training to 23,000 private forest landowners and practitioners through technical assistance visits, training workshops, and demonstration areas.
  • Reach 310,500 people through outreach and educational programs.
  • Develop plans for improved forest management on over 3.5 million acres.

The Landscape Scale Restoration (LSR) competitive grant program encourages collaborative, science-based restoration of rural forest landscapes and addresses State Forest Action Plan priorities while leveraging public and private resources. The Eastern Region has distributed nearly $28 million in funding for LSR projects since 2016.


2022 Forest Service Eastern Region Landscape Scale Restoration Grant Recipients:


Grantee: Delta Institute

  • Federal investment: $333,344
  • Non-federal match: $523,370
  • Project Title: Expanding and Stewarding Regional Forest Canopy through the Northwest Indiana Tree Planting Consortium
  • Project Description: Expand regional forest canopy acreage in Lake County and northwest Indiana by taking a multi-community approach to comprehensive canopy mapping; forest planning, planting over 2,240 trees and stewarding existing trees; and maintenance and capacity building through a collaborative tree planting consortium structure, all via inclusive community engagement. The consortium is designed to expand and leverage a strong public-private-nonprofit-community partnership to achieve state and regional planning goals.

Grantee: American Bird Conservancy

  • Federal investment: $288,272
  • Non-federal match: $664,949
  • Project Title: Let the Sun Shine In: A Collaborative Approach to Conservation of Indiana's Oak-Hickory Ecosystems
  • Project Description: Let the Sun Shine In – Indiana is a collaboration focused on recovering and maintaining southern Indiana's oak-hickory ecosystems. This public-private partnership consists of partners with a mutual interest in healthy, sustainable forests and watersheds, as well as improved wildlife habitat. The partnership will focus on communication, outreach,  education and science-based implementation aimed at recovering and maintaining healthy oak-hickory ecosystems.



Grantee: Iowa Department of Natural Resources

  • Federal investment: $163,045
  • Non-federal match: $163,045
  • Project Title: Spreading the Wings of Forestry: Science-based Resources for Forest Management and Bird and Bat Habitat
  • Project Description: Development of several science-based resources for landowners about proper forest management techniques to promote oak-hickory forests for bird and bat habitat. Citizens, tree care workers and land managers across Iowa will have access to informative material to guide management decisions and stress the importance of actively managing forest ecosystems. Field days, webinars and outreach campaigns will spread the word about this vital work. Landscape work will target Bird Conservation Areas and areas of bat hibernacula.



Grantee: Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay

  • Federal investment: $126,532
  • Non-federal match: $130,000
  • Project Title: Making Trees and Buffers the Right FFIT (Forestry Finance Implementation Tool) for Stormwater Planning
  • Project Description: Implement an outreach initiative to local governments and private landowners that leverages restoration funding allocated by both Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Phase I and II jurisdictions and existing restoration grant programs to accelerate riparian forest buffer restoration in Maryland.



Grantee: Ruffed Grouse Society

  • Federal investment: $215,000
  • Non-federal match: $250,000
  • Project Title: Massachusetts Dynamic Forest Restoration Initiative
  • Project Description: The Massachusetts Dynamic Forest Restoration Initiative will be a coordinated public and private lands collaboration located within the Massachusetts Central Route 2 Corridor region and the Berkshire Highlands area that enhances forest resiliency, restores fish and wildlife habitat diversity, mitigates invasive species and creates a baseline model for long-term transboundary, landscape-level planning throughout the region. This project reaches rural low-income communities.



Grantee: Michigan Department of Natural Resources

  • Federal investment: $299,381
  • Non-federal match: $300,000
  • Project Title: Forests to MI Faucet
  • Project Description: Implement USDA Forest Service spatial analysis to manage, restore and protect forests in priority watersheds for surface drinking water. Michigan Department of Natural Resources and five partners will engage with 11+ municipal water utilities to plant trees and protect forests in priority areas of their source water protection plans. Partners will provide landowners with multiple tools, people and programs to help them become aware, engaged and active in managing and protecting family forests. This project serves areas with high social vulnerability and lays groundwork for a future market for water quality.

Grantee: Huron Pines Resource Conservation and Development Council

  • Federal investment: $299,925
  • Non-federal match: $299,925
  • Project Title: Overcoming Barriers to Prescribed Fire in Michigan
  • Project Description: Despite wide recognition of prescribed fire’s importance to community safety and ecosystem health, few private landowners are burning in Michigan. Surveys identified safety concerns, cost, availability of tools and training and lack of qualified contractors as barriers. Project partners are committed to overcoming these barriers. Using a collaborative approach we will raise fire literacy in the community, equip and train lands managers in wildland fire skills and provide hands-on experiences to reduce hazardous fuels and restore ecosystems.


New Hampshire

Grantee: University System of New Hampshire

  • Federal investment: $221,673
  • Non-federal match: $221,673
  • Project Title: Women & Woodlands: Increasing Stewardship of Women-owned Forestland in New Hampshire
  • Project Description: Women landowners play a significant role in managing New Hampshire's forests, but often lack the skills and confidence to make stewardship decisions and effectively manage their forestland. This project will use a needs-based approach to develop and provide skills-based training and assistance for stewardship planning to a network of women forestland owners across New Hampshire, and will increase their capacity to protect, manage and enhance New Hampshire's valuable forest resources.

Grantee: Connecticut River Conservancy

  • Federal investment: $163,217
  • Non-federal match: $171,500
  • Project Title: Restoring Riparian and Floodplain Forests in the Connecticut River Watershed
  • Project Description: Restore forested riparian buffers on 12 acres along 1.5 miles of rivers and streams and apply an innovative floodplain forest restoration technique on 10 acres of conserved land in the New Hampshire part of the Connecticut River watershed, a priority landscape in the New Hampshire State Forest Action Plan. This project will restore and reconnect forests in strategic locations to protect and improve forest ecosystem health, fish and wildlife habitat, water quality and watershed function.


New Jersey

Grantee: Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space, Inc.

  • Federal investment: $372,905
  • Non-federal match: $411,078
  • Project Title: Improving Forest Health through Community-based Collaboration between Public and Private Landowners
  • Project Description: This project builds on two past LSR grants that identified New Jersey's highest-quality forests, developed management plans and initiated implementation. This project continues implementation of developed plans and expands to include restoration tree plantings on 75 new private land ownerships. Improving our forests requires deepening and widening of our efforts through community-based stewardship. This project will also actively recruit people of color through partnership with Outdoor Equity Alliance to employ seasonal interns and include watershed lands that provide water for cities such as Newark and Paterson, places with large populations of people of color.



Grantee: Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay

  • Federal investment: $100,000
  • Non-federal match: $175,521
  • Project Title: Riparian Rangers: A Collaborative Community Approach to Successful Afforestation
  • Project Description: Afforestation is a high priority in Pennsylvania. A significant barrier to progress is the scarcity of tree care and maintenance assistance to landowners. Without care, new tree plantings are likely to fail. The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay’s Riparian Rangers volunteer corps trains local stewards to maintain forest planting sites, resulting in high establishment success. The Alliance will grow this effort in size and geography to engage more communities and help support Pennsylvania-wide afforestation efforts.

Grantee: Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Inc.

  • Federal investment: $210,000
  • Non-federal match: $210,000
  • Project Title: Protecting Pennsylvania from Invasive Species: Building Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management 
  • Project Description: Pilot Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISMs) in Pennsylvania is beginning in 13 counties in the northwestern part of the state, including underserved communities. The PRISM program will address the critical need to manage invasive species that threaten Pennsylvania's economy, environment and human and animal health by developing strong, diverse stakeholder partnerships. By bringing together many partners, the program will lessen the burden of invasive species management and increase restoration of the native landscape.


Rhode Island

Grantee: Groundwork Rhode Island

  • Federal investment: $476,961
  • Non-federal match: $483,897
  • Project Title: Planting Resilient Riparian Forests for Water Supply and Public Health in Underserved Rhode Island Communities
  • Project Description: Four communities and forest, river, health and environmental justice nonprofit organizations will demonstrate how restoring resilient forests along the Blackstone River can improve water quality, reduce flooding and cool neighborhoods. Hundreds of trees will be planted in riparian areas, beginning resilient forestry along a 15-mile stretch of an American Heritage River. The landscape contains drinking water supplies, Health Equity Zones and Opportunity Zones and is the focus of American Forests’ tree equity work.



Grantee: Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation

  • Federal investment: $278,094
  • Non-federal match: $278,094
  • Project Title: Climate Adaptation for Vermont's Forests and Forest Products Supply Chain    
  • Project Description: Vermont's forests and forest economy are vulnerable to climate change. Climate-adaptive planning and management can increase the resilience of both. Using a collaborative group of stakeholders, we will create management plan templates, planning guides and trainings to help landowners, foresters, loggers, mills and producers identify climate change vulnerabilities and appropriate adaptation actions. We will deploy silvicultural and operational adaptation demonstrations across different forest conditions.


Grantee: Vermont Natural Resources Council, Inc.

  • Federal investment: $149,004
  • Non-federal match: $149,004
  • Project Title: Engaging New Landowners in Vermont to Maintain Healthy Forests
  • Project Description: This project will employ a creative and collaborative approach to engage new private forest landowners in Vermont. Specifically, we will identify new forest landowners and map their location in priority areas in the state. We will then develop effective educational materials and offer direct technical assistance to ensure that new landowners make informed stewardship decisions to maintain the health and functions of forests. This project will target outreach to engage socially vulnerable communities and work with the Agency of Natural Resources Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Coordinator to further identify and engage underserved landowners.



Grantee: University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

  • Federal investment: $296,675
  • Non-federal match: $316,659
  • Project Title: Developing a Network of Bird Habitat Focused Forest Management Demonstration Areas in Wisconsin
  • Project Description: Develop a network of demonstration areas focused on using timber harvest to generate habitat for birds. This project will include both sites with existing restoration work and sites yet to be treated and will include: (1) barrens and scrub oak; (2) mid/high-quality oak and aspen sites; (3) riparian forest sites; and (4) northern hardwoods. An assessment tool will be developed and natural resource manager and landowner outreach is planned.

Grantee: Lumberjack Resource Conservation & Development Council, Inc.

  • Federal investment: $143,575
  • Non-federal match: $143,575
  • Project Title: Using Boots on the Ground and Outreach to Private Forest Landowners to Affect Landscape Scale Restoration across the Lumberjack RC&D Region
  • Project Description: Lumberjack Resource Conservation & Development’s region encompasses 4.78 million acres in nine counties in northeastern Wisconsin. For this project, we'll partner with Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas, Wisconsin Young Forest Partnership, co-conservation departments, conservation organizations and tribes and use the goals of the Wisconsin State Forest Action Plan to work toward landscape scale restoration. Engaging private forest landowners is a priority as they are the largest demographic of rural forest landowners and own most of the forested land in Wisconsin. This project has a two-part structure — boots on the ground and landowner outreach — and is supported by Menominee Tribe.



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