Funding available for shelterbelt renovation
July 26, 2023
Shelterbelts play a vital role in providing wind protection to farmsteads, fields, livestock, and wildlife. These groves of trees aid in caring for our natural resources by slowing erosion and storing water.
Many of the shelterbelts in the area have degraded plant health due to age, disease, and extreme weather conditions. Over the past few years, many landowners have witnessed or experienced first-hand, damaging winds and increased winter precipitation. The ice storms, high winds, and heavy snow loads have taken a toll on shelterbelts that may have already been experiencing degraded plant health.
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Conservation District are encouraging landowners to take an inventory of plant health within the shelterbelts to assess whether action is needed to restore the condition of the trees. As a landowner there are options to rejuvenate the health of these shelterbelts.
There are multiple methods of renovation techniques that are successful in restoring a shelterbelt to meet the criteria of plant health and productivity. Aside from completely clearing a shelterbelt and replanting new trees, a landowner could also choose to select trees within rows or a whole row to be removed and replanted. There are also options for increasing shelterbelt density by planting shade tolerant species between rows. Rows can be added on either side of the existing rows to improve the density of the shelterbelt. The overall goal of the project is to restore the shelterbelt to a working state to allow for it to accomplish its intended purpose.
The Conservation District has secured funds for the specialized shelterbelt renovation and establishment project, which is designed to assist landowners in restoring the quality and plant health of a shelterbelt. The project will provide cost share to producers to remove rows or shelterbelts with degraded plant health and then assist in planting new trees to replace the trees that were torn out. The project will serve area landowners on a first come first serve basis if their project meets the funding criteria.
Landowners interested in a shelterbelt renovation project are encouraged to contact their local Conservation District to request an application and learn more about the project. Partners and staff are excited to assist landowners in implementing this locally led project.