The Blair County Conservation District’s Riparian Buffer incentive program is currently accepting applications for those interested in planting new riparian buffers in Blair County. This program is open to any landowner both in rural and urban locations, however you must have a minimum buffer length of 100 feet to be given consideration. If applying for a agricultural location, buffers must be a minimum of 35 feet in width, however, a residential location could consider a narrow buffer with a minimum width of 15 feet. Projects that exceed the minimum width will receive additional points during application evaluations. Landowners of recreational properties are asked to contact the Conservation District prior to filing out an application to discuss project plans. Please note a landowner cannot receive funding if you are already receiving funds from another riparian buffer program for the same project area.
Funding: Payments will be paid on a per acre basis, with up to $6,000 per acre and $1,000 for maintenance during the first year depending on program interest. A minimum all-inclusive payment of $1000 will be issued to properties with a project area under 0.25 acres. Currently, funding is only available for this year, and it is unknown if there will be more funds available to continue this program into the upcoming years. The funds can be used to cover the costs of labor, site preparation (to include invasive species removal), and planting materials such as trees, shrubs, fertilizer, seed, tree tubes, and stakes. Native plants must be used for this program.
Project Timeline: Applications are due to the Conservation District by March 1st.Planting must occur this April/May (April 1, 2024, to May 31, 2024) for this round of funding. If planting cannot be implemented by May 31, 2024, a formal Time Extension Request may be submitted to the Conservation District seeking District Board Approval, allowing for buffer implementation in Fall 2024 (September 22, 2024, to October 31, 2024). Requests must be submitted by June 3, 2024.
Funding Allocation: The Conservation District staff will need to visit the site upon completion to verify the establishment of the riparian buffer planting. Once this verification is made, the District will then issue payment. Routine visits may be made yearly by the District to ensure proper upkeep throughout the lifespan of the buffer.
For questions regarding your application and/or the program please contact Chelsey Weyant at email@example.com or 814-696-0877 ext. 5.