FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 2, 2009
FORESTRY COMMISSION LANDS STIMULUS FUNDS FOR LONGLEAF PINE RESTORATION/JOB CREATION
(Columbia,SC)–-The SC Forestry Commission has received a $1.74 million grant through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Program to restore longleaf pine in the state. This was one of 17 grants the agency applied for, totaling $37.5 million. This money translates to funds for private landowners and job creation in the state’s number-one manufacturing industry.
The goal of the ARRA program is to put men and women to work, thereby stimulating the economy. The Longleaf Pine Restoration Initiative will create or retain jobs that will include equipment operators, tree planters, herbicide applicators, GIS specialists, foresters, and forest technicians.
In addition to creating jobs, the Longleaf Restoration Initiative will, through increased funding for prescribed burning, reduce the risk of dangerous wildfires. Properly conducted controlled burns remove much of the flammable material from forests. This lessens the threat of costly wildfires.
The longleaf grant provides funding for ecosystem restoration that will provide improved habitat for many species of wildlife, including the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. Longleaf pine once covered a vast range from southeastern Virginia to eastern Texas, but now occupies less than three percent of this area. A diverse partnership (including environmental groups, industry, and government) has established a 15-year goal of increasing longleaf pine by five million acres.
A limited amount of these grant funds are available as incentive payments for private landowners for prescribed burning in longleaf and control of hardwoods in longleaf. To apply, contact your local SC Forestry Commission office. The signup period began on September 1 and ends October 15.
For more information, call Scott Hawkins at (803) 896-8820
The SC Forestry Commission’s mission is to protect and develop South Carolina’s forest resource. For every $1.00 invested by SC in the Commission, the industry produces more than $1,300.00 of economic impact.