Forest Legacy Program

To effectively protect and conserve environmentally important forest areas threatened by conversion to nonforest uses, through conservation easements or fee simple purchase.

The Forest Legacy Program (FLP) is a voluntary private land conservation partnership between the Forest Service, participating
States, land trusts, private landowners, and others.

The Program works with State partners and operates on a willing seller and willing buyer basis and is completely nonregulatory in its approach.

No eminent domain authority or adverse condemnation is authorized for this Program.
Grants for this Program

Agency - Department of Agriculture

Established in 1862, the Department of Agriculture serves all Americans through anti-hunger efforts, stewardship of nearly 200 million acres of national forest and rangelands, and through product safety and conservation efforts. The USDA opens markets for American farmers and ranchers and provides food for needy people around the world.

Office - See Regional Agency Offices.

See Regional Agency Office.

Refer to the web site below for Regional and Area State and Private Forestry offices of the Forest Service and for addresses and telephone numbers of Program contacts:

Selected Recipients for this Program

RecipientAmount Start DateEnd Date
Natural Resources, Minnesota Department Of $ 38,000   2022-09-092027-08-15
Environmental Management, Rhode Island Dept Of $ 40,000   2022-09-092027-08-15
Energy & Environmental Protection, Connecticut Department Of $ 23,320   2022-09-092027-08-15
Conservation And Recreation, Massachusetts Department Of $ 24,220   2022-09-122027-08-15
Iowa Department Of Natural Resources $ 40,000   2022-09-092027-08-15
Natural Resources, Maryland Department Of $ 40,000   2022-08-172027-06-30
Michigan Department Of Natural Resources $ 10,665,000   2022-09-092027-06-30
Colorado State University $ 50,000   2022-08-042027-06-30
Kansas State University $ 45,000   2022-07-042027-06-30
Michigan Department Of Natural Resources $ 45,000   2022-09-062026-09-30

Program Accomplishments

Fiscal Year 2016: 106,143 acres protected via conservation easement or fee simple transactions. Fiscal Year 2017: Project 95,000 acres will be protected via conservation easement or fee simple track purchases. Fiscal Year 2018: No Current Data Available

Uses and Use Restrictions

Landowner participation in the program is voluntary and consists of two components: (1) conveying land or interests in land to achieve land conservation objectives and (2) preparing and periodically updating a Forest Stewardship Management Plan or a multi-resource management plan, when the participation is through conservation easement.

State lead agencies must first evaluate and approve projects as Forest Legacy eligible before competing for Forest Service funding.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Projects are evaluated and prioritized by State lead agencies, in consultation with the State Forest Stewardship Coordinating Committees.

All States and territories participate except North Dakota, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam.

Beneficiary Eligibility

State agency, landowners of private forest lands, and land trust organizations.


Each State must prepare a State Forest Action Plan (Statewide Assessment and Resource Strategy, including Assessments of Need(AON)) in order to be eligible for program funds. The FS Regional, Area, or Institute Responsible Official must concur with the State's Forest Action Plan. Requirements for an eligible project are: (1) within an approved Forest Legacy Area and fits within the priorities of a State's AON; (2) complies with FLP State and National criteria; (3) a completed grant application; (4) an approved Forest Stewardship Plan or a multi-resource management plan, if applicable; (5) negotiated terms of a conservation easement, if applicable; (6) an approved appraisal, meeting Federal acquisition appraisal standards as outlined in the Uniform Appraisal Standards for Federal Land Acquisitions; and, (7) adequate non-Federal cost share. 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles applies to this program.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Preapplication coordination is required, including negotiation of terms for the conservation easement or acquisition.

Applicants should proceed with initial appraisal and Forest Stewardship Plan development, as due diligence is one of several key factors in project evaluation and ranking.

Environmental impact information is not required for this program.

This program is eligible for coverage under E.O.

12372, 'Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs.' An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.

Application Procedures

2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. Application requirements must comply with the Code of Federal Regulations (7 CFR 3016), Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Cooperative Agreements to State and Local Governments. Individual participating States have application duties and procedures.

Award Procedures

The Forest Service conducts an annual project selection process to arrive at a prioritized national project list which may be included in the President's budget. The Forest Service then issues grants to states based on the amounts provided in Congressional appropriations and the prioritized national project list.


Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.


Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act of 1978, 16 U.S.C. 2101, et. seq., as amended by the 1990 Farm Bill, Section 1217 of Title XII of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation and Trade Act of 1990, Public Law 101-624, 104 Stat. 3359, 16 U.S.C. 2103c; later amended by the 1996 Farm Bill, Federal Agricultural Improvement and Reform Act of 1996; Public Law 104-127; Title III, Conservation; Subtitle G Forestry; Section 374, Optional State Grants for Forest Legacy Program.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

An annual project selection calendar with due dates will be developed each fiscal year, and will identify deadlines and approval times.


Not Applicable.


Not Applicable.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Statutory formulas are not applicable to this program. Matching Requirements: Federal Contribution cannot exceed 75 percent of total project costs, and at least a 25 percent non-Federal cost share is required. The non-Federal cost share may consist of: funds, donations, land or interests in land, in-kind contributions, direct costs, indirect costs, and others as determined by the Forest Service. Funds will be provided to the States on a per-project basis, as determined by the annual appropriations. The non-Federal cost share can occur at any phase of the project within the legal grant period, including planning, developing future projects, acquisition, capital improvement, management, or administrative activities. MOE requirements are not applicable to this program.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Assistance is provided via grants to States. Typical grant period is two years. Grants can receive a no cost extension up to five years with justification if approved by the Forest Service. See the following for information on how assistance is awarded/released: Payments made based on authorization and negotiation of provisions with cooperator.

Post Assistance Requirements


Program reports are not applicable.

Cash reports are not applicable.

States are required to submit annual progress reports on outstanding grants.

States are required to monitor properties with conservation assessments.

Project specific Forest Stewardship plans are required to be established and updated periodically.

SF-425 reporting is due at least annually and no more than quarterly as agreed upon in the provisions of the individual agreement.

The Forest Service program manager shall conduct monitoring activities to track program accomplishments.


In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements, non-Federal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.503. Use of all funds will have to meet Federal and State audit requirements.


State Lead Agencies are required to retain complete grant files on each grant issued. States must report annual accomplishments data in the Forest Legacy Information System.

Financial Information

Account Identification



(Project Grants) FY 16 $55,947,000; FY 17 est $55,947,000; and FY 18 Estimate Not Available

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Not applicable.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Forest Legacy Program Implementation Guidelines of 2003 (currently under revision).

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

See Regional Agency Offices. See Regional Agency Office. Refer to the web site below for Regional and Area State and Private Forestry offices of the Forest Service and for addresses and telephone numbers of Program contacts:

Headquarters Office

Scott Stewart, 1400 Independence Ave SW, MS 1123,, Washington, District of Columbia 20850 Email: Phone: 202-205-1618

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Project evaluation and priority ranking is based on the three national core criteria (importance, threatened, and strategy, as defined in the 2017 FLP Implementation Guidelines) as well as project readiness and other evaluation considerations developed in consultation with States and FS Units.

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