News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Federal grants available for small private forests

The U.S Department of Agriculture is spending $5 million on grants to small forest landowners in Western Oregon who were affected by the 2020 wildfires.

The grants cover the Lionshead, Beachie Creek, Riverside  and Holiday Farm fires in the mid-valley Cascades as well as the South Obenchain (Shady Cove) and Archie Creek (Glide) blazes that were farther afield.

“This is a chance for small forest landowners to get the support they need to recover from the devastating 2020 Labor Day fires in Western Oregon by replanting native trees, and helping to make their land more resilient to future fires,” said Greg Houle, wildfire program manager for Sustainable Northwest, which is implementing the grant program. Information and applications are available at

Other partners include the Santiam Canyon Long-Term Recovery Group and the Oregon Department of Forestry.

Services that the grants can help pay for include:

• Financial assistance for reforestation and forest management planning.

• Native plant seedlings for replanting.

• Guidance and expertise on wildfire risk reduction and response, particularly around homes and communities.

• Connecting small forest landowners to share lessons learned.

• Using lessons learned to develop suggestions for how state and federal agencies can better help landowners recover from wildfires.

• Streamlining applications from groups of landowners seeking additional funding for recovery and reforestation.

• Connecting landowners to contractors as needed to implement reforestation efforts.

Those property owners of non-federal and non-industrial forest land in Western Oregon who are within listed 2020 Labor Day wildfire footprints are eligible to apply. Examples of eligible parties include individuals, families, tribes, nonprofit organizations, and homeowners associations.

Applications will be approved continuously throughout the year, with the program scheduled to run through 2027. 

Applicants must own no more than 5,000 acres, with nonprofit conservation groups exempt from the acreage requirement.

Landowners must initiate a CPA-52 environmental evaluation to be eligible for the grants. The CPA-52 survey, which is free, looks at the impacts of projects on soil, water, plant, animal and energy resources as well as human, social and economic concerns.
Approved applicants may be reimbursed for up to 100% of the total cost of the project. The money is not available for projects already underway or already completed. 

Plans and projects for which landowners are seeking reimbursement must be approved by the Natural Resources Conservation Service and Sustainable Northwest.

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