Forest Stewardship Plan Application Procedures

Before beginning your application for funding from the Common Waters Fund, please review the program eligibility criteria, funding categories, application instructions, project selection criteria, plan standards, and frequently asked questions. You should also check the interactive map to determine if your property is located within a Common Waters Fund Priority Funding Area. Currently, only properties located within Priority Funding Areas are eligible for funding. Alternatively, you can visit or call the Common Waters Fund local coordinator in your county for information about the program and assistance to help you determine if you are eligible.

If you think you are eligible for funding through the program after reviewing the Common Waters website or talking with your county coordinator, follow the instructions below to complete the application process for funding. If you have further questions about your eligibility, you may contact the Common Waters Fund Program Coordinator, Stephanie Pendergrass: 202-797-6580,

1. Download the application for Stewardship Plan Funding. You do not submit your application at this time, but downloading the application allows you to assemble the needed materials to complete the application.

2. Make an appointment to visit your County Coordinator (optional but encouraged).

  • Pike County, PA: Pike County Conservation District
  • Wayne County, PA: Wayne County Conservation District
  • Monroe County, PA: Monroe County Conservation District
  • Sullivan, Orange, Ulster, and Delaware Counties, New York: Catskill Forest Association or Sullivan County Soil & Water Conservation District (Sullivan or Orange Counties only)
  • Sussex County, NJ: Sussex County Soil Conservation District
  • Warren County, NJ: Warren County Soil Conservation District

3. All applicants must self-certify that they meet the eligibility requirements of the USDA NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). These requirements are explained in the EQIP Eligibility Self-certification Form, which should be signed and submitted along with the application form. (Some landowners may need to follow up with their local Farm Services Agency (FSA) office to confirm that they are in compliance with all of the requirements).

4. Meet with the County Coordinator to complete your application (optional but encouraged). The County Coordinator will answer any questions you have about the program, help you complete your application, and accept your application fee and form (optional; you may also submit your application via mail). If you have already selected a forester to write your plan, ideally s/he will also attend the meeting with the County Coordinator. If you have not selected a forester, the County Coordinator will provide you with a list of qualified foresters that you may approach to write your plan.

Stewardship Plan Application Fees: There is a flat non-refundable $25 fee for all applications.

5. Applications received between February 2012 and May 2, 2012 will be evaluated in May and you will be notified of your status in early June 2012. Applications received after May 2, 2012 will be evaluated on a quarterly basis; you should be notified if your application has been approved for funding within approximately six weeks of the application deadline. If your application is not approved, your application fee will be returned to you.

6. When your application has been approved for funding, you will be notified by the Common Waters Fund Program Coordinator that your application has been approved to complete a Forest Stewardship Plan. They will provide you with a list of approved foresters from which you can choose to write your plan. You will also receive a contract agreement to sign and return agreeing that you will have a Forest Stewardship Plan written for your property within the next 12 months. Your selected forester can begin work to prepare your stewardship plan immediately upon signing the contract. The plan must be completed and approved by the state within one year of signing the contract, unless an exception is granted at the time of contract signing.

7. Once the plan is written, you or your forester will submit your plan and the plan certification form provided by the Common Waters Fund directly to the state forestry agency for approval. You may need to complete a simple application for your state’s Forest Stewardship Program at this time also. It is you and your forester’s responsibility to make any necessary revisions and re-submit the plan to the state for approval, as needed. When approved, the state/regional forester will sign off on the Common Waters Fund Stewardship Plan Approval Form. After completing the Stewardship Plan Approval Form, the state forest agency will return the form to you.

  • Pike and Monroe Counties, Pennsylvania: Mike Roche
  • Wayne County, Pennsylvania: John Maza
  • Sullivan County, New York: Mike Pogue
  • Delaware County, New York: Josh Borst
  • Sussex and Warren Counties, New Jersey: Jon Klischies or Jack Shuart

8. To obtain payment from CWF once your plan is approved, submit a copy of your approved plan and your forester’s invoice along with the signed CWF Stewardship Plan Approval section to the Common Waters Fund contact listed in your contract. The Common Waters Fund will reimburse you for plan costs up to the CWF-approved rates in your state, plus additional inventory costs. These rates are listed on the website and in your County Coordinator’s Partner Handbook. They are taken from each state’s rate schedule and adjusted to cover approximately 100% of the cost of preparing a Forest Stewardship Plan. You should receive your check within approximately six weeks of project verification and approval by the Common Waters Fund.