Plan Standards and Payment Rates

Common Waters Fund Forest Stewardship Plan Standards

Forest Stewardship Plans written with funding from the Common Waters Fund must meet a few additional requirements beyond each state’s current Forest Stewardship Program standards to ensure that water quality and other ecosystem services are adequately addressed. These include specific requirements for Stand Inventory, Riparian Area planning, and Access System planning, developed by the New York Watershed Forestry Program.

The rigorous stand inventory requirement ensures that a landowner have the best information possible about the resources on their forestland to inform management decisions, such as timber management or marketing ecosystem services. The riparian area planning and access system standards address important water quality concerns, so they are very important to the Common Waters Fund program. Riparian (stream side) areas are very important to water quality. Forested riparian areas (often called riparian forest buffers) slow runoff and help filter out sediment and nutrients before water reaches a stream, which protects water quality for both aquatic species and humans. By requiring that plans include a special focus on the riparian areas on your property, the Common Waters Fund helps ensure that these important areas will be well-managed to maintain or improve their water quality benefits.

The access system planning requirement addresses the existing and planned roads and trails on your property. Because roads and trails are major sources of sediment entering streams in forested areas, it is important to carefully plan out where they will be located and what Best Management Practices (BMPs) should be installed to minimize erosion over their life span. It is also important to inspect existing roads, trails, and other high-use areas such as log landings to identify and resolve any erosion problems.

These requirements are described separately below for each state.
New Jersey
New York
Pennsylvania

Payment Rates

If your application is accepted by the Common Waters Fund, you are guaranteed funding for the cost of writing your plan up to the approved CWF cost share rates in your state, plus the additional inventory costs. These rates are listed under each state's requirements and in your County Coordinator’s Partner Handbook. They are taken from each state’s cost-share rate schedule and adjusted to cover approximately 100% of the cost of preparing a Forest Stewardship Plan.