By Journal Staff
MARQUETTE - The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency are reminding landowners affected by the Duck Lake Fire in Luce County that the application sign-up period for the Emergency Forest Restoration Program ends Tuesday.
The program provides cost-share assistance to eligible owners of non-industrial private forest land to help restore land damaged by a natural disaster, including wildfire. Eligible landowners may receive financial assistance of up to 75 percent of the cost to implement approved restoration practices, as determined by the FSA.
This summer’s Duck Lake Fire destroyed 105 structures and consumed more than 21,000 acres in Luce County. (Dean Wilson photo)
"This program will help Luce County landowners begin the process of restoring their forest lands to the healthy and viable levels they were prior to the Duck Lake Fire," said Bill O'Neill, chief of the DNR's Forest Resources Division. "To ensure eligible residents get the most funding possible, the DNR is encouraging landowners to work with our qualified consulting forester to develop a forest land management plan that will best benefit their needs."
Landowners interested in the EFRP must contact Kaye Hillock-Vining at the Chippewa-Mackinac-Luce County FSA Service Center at 632-9611, ext. 106 prior to Tuesday to begin the sign-up process. While landowners must apply for the program by the deadline, they can change their minds at any time during the planning process.
To qualify, an applicant must have a DNR forester visit the applicant's property to evaluate the conditions and determine eligibility for program practices - work that can be cost-shared through the EFRP. Residents aren't required to be present during site visits, but interested landowners may accompany the forester during inspections.
Site evaluations will occur once landowners have formally signed up for the program.
To learn more about the many programs available to help landowners better manage, protect and sustain private forest lands, visit the DNR website www.michigan.gov/privateforestland.