Hurricane Katrina Forest Recovery

As we work together to tackle the historic challenge that Hurricane Katrina has presented to the forestry communities of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama, we hope that this blog will be a valuable resource and tool.

Thursday, March 16

USDA-NRCS Offers Cost-Share Assistance for Removal of Downed Timber

On December 30, 2005, President George W. Bush signed into law the Defense Appropriations/Emergency Supplemental Act. This Act authorizes funds for the Emergency Watershed Protection Program to assist with the recovery efforts from hurricanes that occurred in 2005.

This legislation expanded NRCS authority to reimburse non-industrial forest landowners for costs associated with downed timber removal. Mississippi NRCS has received the state allocation for landowner assistance.

Funding will focus on risk reduction associated with wildfire. Eligible sites are areas with a high risk for wildfire and associated smoke concerns, such as near urban interface areas, transportation corridors or near structures that would be threatened during a wildfire.

Reimbursement will be provided to landowners based upon 75 percent cost-share not to exceed $150 per acre. Applications are now being accepted through April 7, 2006. Funding for applications received after that date will be contingent upon fund availability.

For more information on this program, please visit your local USDA-NRCS office or visit our website at:

DOWNED Timber Removal

  • Focus on risk reduction associated with wildfire in all Secretary designated counties (all of MS)

  • Priority will be given in areas with a high risk for wildfire and associated smoke concerns near transportation corridors and fire concerns near urban interface areas

  • Recommend salvage operation, if possible

  • Cost-share is authorized for downed timber removal, firebreak construction and prescribed burning to reduce the threat of wildfires

  • Reimbursement will be directly to landowners based upon 75% cost-share not to exceed $150 per acre

  • Work completed prior to application is eligible if criteria is met

  • Assistance under this program may impact participation in other Federal or state cost-share programs

  • Work to be completed within 12 months. (extensions approved on case-by-case basis)

  • Apply at any local NRCS field office.


  • Fire lane construction will comply with the practice standard Firebreak (394). Payment is limited to $0.50 per foot vegetated or $.20 per foot non-vegetated.

  • Downed timber can be removed by cutting, chipping, chopping, burning, or crushing.

  • If downed timber is burned, prescribed burning must be done in compliance with the Mississippi Prescribed Burning Act.

  • Prescribed burning must also comply with practice standard Prescribed Burning (338). Payment is limited to $40 per acre.

  • A Mississippi Certified Prescribed Burner is the only person qualified to burn in Mississippi.

  • A Burning Permit must be issued by the Mississippi Forestry Commission prior to burn.

  • Total cost-share is limited to 75% not to exceed $150 per acre. Receipts are required to determine earnings.


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