Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Forest Legacy Program Coordinator Wins National Award

Larry Mikkelson, our Forest Legacy program coordinator here at VDOF, earned the national Conservation Excellence Award 2012. He is only the fifth recipient of this award in the 108-year history of the U.S. Forest Service.

The award recognizes his “exceptional leadership managing a state’s Forest Legacy program.” Scott Stewart, national director of the Forest Legacy program, presented the award.

The USFS Forest Legacy Program (FLP) supports state efforts to protect environmentally sensitive forestlands. Designed to encourage the protection of privately owned forestlands, FLP is an entirely voluntary program. To maximize the public benefits it achieves, the program focuses on the acquisition of partial interests in privately owned forestlands. FLP helps the states develop and carry out their forest conservation plans. It encourages and supports acquisition of conservation easements, legally binding agreements transferring a negotiated set of property rights from one party to another, without removing the property from private ownership. Most FLP conservation easements restrict development, require sustainable forestry practices and protect other ecosystem service values.

Virginia has received 10 Forest Legacy grants since 2001. VDOF holds 11 easements on 5,287 acres of forestland. In addition, the Forest Legacy program helped purchase all or parts of three state forests (Sandy Point SF; Dragon Run SF, and Big Woods SF) and two natural area preserves (Chubb-Sand Hill NAP and South Quay Sand Hills NAP).

A 35-year veteran of the Virginia Department of Forestry, Larry graduated from Purdue University with a degree in forestry.

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