Forest Management Practice Guidelines

Tree Planting and Regeneration Assistance
Lifespan: 15 yrs
Although natural regeneration is the preferred method for establishing new trees in the Upper Delaware watershed, some sites may require assistance to establish desirable tree species and canopy cover. This may include planting non- or previously forested areas suitable for trees, site preparation to enable natural regeneration, and/or supplemental planting in existing stands to help attain the desired species composition. Plantings should not be installed where they may be detrimental to significant non-forested natural habitats such as prairies and marshes.

  • Planting is limited to non-invasive native or naturalized species and cannot be used for orchard, ornamental, nursery or Christmas tree purposes.
  • In open land situations, a minimum of 200 hardwood seedlings (approximately 15’ x 15’ spacing), 500 softwood seedlings (approximately 9’ x 9’ spacing), or a proportional combination must be planted per acre.
  • Interplanting requires planting approximately 70 trees or shrubs per acre into an existing stand with a canopy of sufficient opening to allow the new plantings to thrive. Small container stock with the upper branches above the browse line is recommended.
  • Site preparation for natural seeding is eligible for funding.
  • Installation of tree shelters or deer fencing in conjunction with the planting is required unless otherwise noted by a forester or resource professional. They cannot be used in combination on the same planting. If tree shelters are used, they should be 4 to 6 feet high and installed on approximately half of the seedlings planted. If deer fencing is used, the minimum height is 7 feet.
  • If vegetation removal or control is required in conjunction with a planting, the specific practices needed must be indicated in the Understory Vegetation Management category. Herbicide use should be minimized to the extent possible.
  • Woodland disking, root raking, and drum chopping include hand-seeding with a quick-germinating non-invasive grass to protect against erosion and invasive species.
  • Weed barriers are allowed for hardwood plantings.
  • For more information regarding implementation standards, refer to NRCS Conservation Practice Standards for Tree/Shrub Establishment (612) and Tree/Shrub Site Preparation (490).
Practice Unit Unit Rate
Plant Shrub/Tree, Bare Root or Small Container AC $2,000.00
Plant Shrub/Tree, 3 gallon or greater container AC $3,500.00
Interplant Shrub/Tree, Bare Root or Containerized AC $1,000.00
Tree shelters EA $6.00
Deer fencing (box wire (preferred), electric, or plastic) FT $3.50
Direct Seeding – Trees AC $90.00
Weed barriers (for hardwood planting only) AC $90.00
Livestakes EA $2.00
Light mowing AC $20.00
Light disking AC $20.00
Woodland disking AC $230.00
Root raking AC $350.00
Drum chopping AC $350.00

Riparian Forest Buffer Planting and Stream Bank Stabilization
Lifespan: 15 yrs
Riparian (streamside) areas are among the most critical areas for water quality protection in any landscape. Maintaining adequate forest canopy along streams is important to filter out sediment and other pollutants, slow runoff, and protect stream banks. Landowners may apply for funding to plant buffers if they have streams on their property that lack forested buffers, or if they wish to widen an existing buffer between non-forested land and water. If streamside areas are lacking low vegetation in an otherwise forested area, landowners may also apply for funds to establish streamside shrubs and/or trees to stabilize stream banks.

  • The recommended forest buffer width is 100 feet measured from the top of the stream bank. If 100 feet is not practical, the minimum required width is 50 feet.
  • The buffer must be planted at a minimum density of 200 plants per acre.
  • Planting is limited to non-invasive or naturalized species and cannot be used for orchard, ornamental, nursery or Christmas tree purposes.
  • Installation of tree shelters or deer fencing in conjunction with the planting is required unless otherwise noted by a forester or resource professional. They cannot be used in combination on the same planting. If tree shelters are used, they should be 4 to 6 feet high and installed on approximately half of the seedlings planted. If deer fencing is used, the minimum height is 7 feet.
  • If vegetation removal or control is required in conjunction with a planting, indicate the specific practices needed in the Understory Vegetation Management category below. Herbicide use in riparian areas should be avoided if at all possible.
  • If stream banks are lacking understory and low vegetation in an otherwise forested area, shrubs, trees, or other appropriate native vegetation may be planted along the body of water to stabilize stream banks, restrict erosion, protect water quality or modify water temperature.
  • For more information regarding implementation standards, refer to NRCS Conservation Practice Standards for Tree/Shrub Establishment (612), Critical Area Planting (342), Stream and Shoreline Protection (580), and Riparian Forest Buffer (391).
Practice Unit Unit Rate
Riparian forest buffer using seedling stock (low deer pressure) AC $1,000.00
Riparian forest buffer using larger (i.e. 3 or 5 gal) container stock (high deer pressure) AC $2,000.00
Vegetative stabilization of stream banks in forested area LF $0.50
Tree shelters EA $6.00
Deer fencing (box wire (preferred), electric, or plastic) FT $3.50

Understory Vegetation Management
Lifespan: 1 year
The removal of interfering and invasive species is critical to reestablishing canopy cover and increasing diversity in the forest. These species often form dense stands that prevent new tree seedlings from becoming established, so targeted removal is necessary to enable growth of desirable native tree species.

  • Alternate desirable vegetation must be established within 12 months of treatment.
  • Vegetation management for orchard, ornamental or Christmas tree purposes is not allowed.
  • Non-chemical control methods should be utilized wherever possible; herbicide use should be minimized.
  • Chemical control agents must be applied by a licensed applicator. The chemicals must be used, stored, and disposed of in compliance with label instructions and applicable local, state, and Federal laws. Any required licenses/permits must be obtained by the landowner and/or applicator. Special care must be taken to avoid any spills, contamination of water resources, or harm to humans, insects, and wildlife.
  • Prescribed burning must be conducted by a licensed entity, and any required state/local permits must be obtained and followed. The state forest fire service must be notified of the date and time of the scheduled burn.
  • Targeted grazing—using livestock to remove/control invasive vegetation—is eligible for funding on a pilot basis. Applicants are encouraged to contact their County Coordinator early on if interested in this practice, as it may require extra coordination to identify appropriate sites and livestock producers. Applicants may need to consult a forester or extension agent for approval that goats or sheep would be an appropriate method to achieve the goals for a particular site. A producer with experience handling goats or sheep for brush removal purposes will need to be identified. Cost is based on labor, installation and daily monitoring of temporary electric fence, supplemental feed, etc. This practice can be applied for in combination with other removal methods as long as all of the practices are completed within 12 months of contract execution.
  • For more information regarding implementation standards, refer to NRCS Conservation Practice Standards for Brush Management (314, 315) Prescribed Burning (338).
  • Eligible invasive/interfering species are listed in Appendix A. Treatment of other species is permissible only if approved by a forester/resource professional.
Practice Unit Unit Rate
Prescribed burning AC $40.00
Chemical control AC $75.00
Targeted grazing with rented goats and/or sheep AC $500.00
Hand clearing AC $200.00
Mechanical clearing/brush hog AC $75.00
Light mowing AC $20.00

Deer Exclusion
Lifespan: 10 years (plastic), 20 years (box wire or electric)
In areas with high deer density, regeneration of desirable forest species is often impeded by “deer browse” on accessible vegetation (typically under six feet tall). In addition to directly damaging desirable tree species, deer browse can lead to reduced plant and wildlife diversity and change the overall composition of the forest. Browsing must be stopped in order to reestablish thick forest cover in affected areas. Deer fencing can be installed strategically by itself to improve regeneration and forest conditions in affected areas.

  • All fencing must reach a minimum height of 7 feet and be of suitable design to restrict deer access.
  • Fencing MUST be properly installed and maintained.
  • High-tensile woven wire (box) fencing is preferred.
  • Electric wire fencing must be well marked to prevent human injuries.
  • Plastic deer fence must have a smooth wire strung along the baseline to prevent penetration.
  • Fencing for orchard, ornamental or Christmas tree purposes is not allowed.
  • For more information and specific guidance refer to state extension agencies, etc.
Practice Unit Unit Rate
Deer fencing (box wire (preferred), electric, or plastic) FT $3.50


Forest/Timber Stand Improvement (FSI or TSI)

Lifespan: 10 years
Forest stand improvement (FSI) aims to increase the growth of desirable trees and other forest products by removing those trees that block sunlight, are in poor health, or are otherwise undesirable. It helps landowners achieve their management objectives by improving forest health, wildlife habitat, and future timber values. Although FSI is frequently prescribed in management plans and generates long-term benefits, landowners may fall behind on treatments. This is especially a problem in the Upper Delaware Basin, where timber management is not a priority for an increasing number of forest landowners. In addition, decades of over-harvesting and high-grading have left landowners with small, low-value timber, for which there are no strong local markets. These factors, combined with the long delay involved in gaining financial benefits timber, make it difficult for many landowners to cover the up-front treatment costs.

  • Tree designation must be conducted by a qualified forester.
  • Tree designation must be according to a silvicultural prescription identified in the landowner’s written management plan. If they do not have a written management plan, it is strongly recommended that they apply for plan funding before requesting funding for stand improvement. If they have a written plan without silvicultural prescriptions, a qualified forester must sign off on the application or a CWF forester must conduct a site visit before the application can be approved.
  • The stand must actually be improved by the cull tree removal or thinning.
  • Stand improvement for orchard, ornamental or Christmas tree purposes is not allowed.
  • For more information regarding implementation standards, refer to NRCS Conservation Practice Standards for Forest Stand Improvement (666).
Practice Unit Unit Rate
Tree Designation AC $30.00
Cull Tree Removal AC $70.00
Light Thinning (10 – 20 sqft BA removed) AC $90.00
Medium Thinning (21 – 40 sqft BA removed) AC $140.00
Heavy Thinning (41+ sqft BA removed) AC $170.00

Soil Stabilization Best Management Practices (BMPs)
Lifespan: 10 years
Common sources of sediment in forests include access roads, stream crossings, skid trails, log landings, and ATV trails. These features can erode and contribute sediment to nearby water bodies if they were not designed with water quality in mind, if the installed BMPs were inadequate or not maintained regularly, or if they were not properly treated and taken out of use at the end of their life span. These features can be stabilized to control erosion and runoff. The site may need re-grading or installation of other structural BMPs to help reestablish natural drainage patterns and restore the function of existing roads and trails.

  • The problem site(s) must be identified in a recent (less than 5 years old) written management plan or by a forester or CWF resource professional site visit. It is highly recommended that applicants consult with the local CWF county coordinator for technical advice prior to submitting their application if they are not already working with a forester.
  • A site is considered problematic due to its erosion problems, sediment contributions to nearby water bodies, or alteration of stormwater flows.
  • Priority objectives include replacement of failed or inadequate BMPs or installation of additional BMPs on existing roads and trails that are in use but experiencing erosion.
  • Other eligible objectives include treatment and decommissioning of roads, skid trails, ATV trails, and landings that will no longer be used, and vegetative stabilization of eroding streambanks, especially at or near stream crossings.
  • Stabilization of the site must not cause more harm than good.
  • All required and recommended Best Management Practices and soil and erosion control laws and guidelines must be followed, and any required permits must be obtained.
  • If the site is to be returned to forest, you may apply for the appropriate planting practices on the same application.
Practice Unit Unit Rate
Critical area stabilization - includes minor grading AC $1,000.00
General stabilization seeding and mulching AC $250.00
General stabilization seeding AC $120.00
Vegetative stabilization of stream banks in forested area LF $0.50
Fascine or Wattle LF $5.00
Geotextile Fabric FT $1.50
Hay Bales EA $1.50
Silt Fencing FT $0.40
Corduroy FT $15.00
Water Bars EA $40.00
Rubber Belt Deflectors FT $8.00
Broad Base Dips EA $80.00
Skid Trail Re-grading FT $0.10
Gravel YD $15.00
10-15” Culvert FT $20.00
18" Culvert FT $25.00
24” Culvert FT $30.00
36” Culvert FT $80.00
48” Culvert FT $100.00
Open-Top Culvert FT $10.00

Insect Control
Several insects pose a threat to forest health and ultimately water quality in the Upper Delaware Basin. One of primary concern is the hemlock wooly adelgid, which attacks hemlock trees in riparian areas. Financial assistance for treating hemlock wooly adelgid may be possible through this program on a case-by-case basis. If you are interested in this possibility, please contact your local CWF coordinator.

List of eligible invasive and interfering species for Understory Vegetation Management

Common Name Scientific Name
Striped maple Acer pensylvanicum
Norway maple Acer platanoides
Tree-of-heaven Ailanthus altissima
Garlic mustard Alliaria petiolata
Porcelain berry Ampelopsis brevipedunculata
Japanese barberry Berberis thunbergii
Musclewood/American hornbeam Carpinus caroliniana
Oriental bittersweet Celastrus orbiculata
Spotted knapweed Centaurea maculosa
Hay-scented fern Dennstaedtia punctilobula
Autumn olive Elaeagnus angustifolia
Russian olive Elaeagnus umbellata
Winged euonymus/spindle tree Euonymus alatus
American beech Fagus grandifolia
Mountain laurel Kalmia latifolia
Amur honeysuckle L. maackii
Morrow's honeysuckle L. Morrowii
Standish's honeysuckle L. standishii
Tartarian honeysuckle L. tatarica
Hybrid, pretty honeysuckle L. X bella
European fly honeysuckle L. xylosteum
Obtuse-leaved privet Ligustrum obtusifolium
Fragrant honeysuckle Lonicera fragrantissima
Japanese honeysuckle Lonicera japonica
Purple loosestrife Lythrum salicaria
Japanese stiltgrass Microstegium vimineum
Eurasian water milfoil Myriophyllum spicatum
Ironwood/Eastern hophornbeam Ostrya virginiana
Empress-tree Paulownia tomentosa
Reed canary grass Phalaris arundinacea
Common Reed Phragmites australis
Japanese knotweed Polgonum cuspidatum/P. sachalinense
Mile-a-minute weed Polygonum perfoliatum L.
Lesser celandine Ranunculus ficaria
Common buckthorn Rhamnus cathartica
Glossy buckthorn Rhamnus frangula
Multiflora rose Rosa multiflora
Wineberry Rubus phoenicolasius
New York fern Thelpteris novaboracensis
European water-chestnut Trapa natans
Japanese wisteria Wisteria floribunda
Chinese wisteria Wisteria sinensis