Community Forestry Assistance Program

The Lower Elkhorn NRD’s Board of Directors has developed this program to provide both technical assistance and cost-share assistance to communities within the Lower Elkhorn NRD for tree planting projects to improve, or renovate community green spaces on public lands. It will compliment existing State and Federal government community forestry cost-share assistance programs by offering up to 75% of local project costs (up to $5,000).

A. Criteria for Eligible Projects

  • Each project must be sponsored by a city, village, county or school and be located on publicly owned land. 
  • The project must conform to the comprehensive plan for the municipality and provide primarily public benefits. 

  • Tree species planted under this program must be purchased from a Nebraska commercial nursery and be adapted to local environmental growing conditions and have no major insect or disease problems. Strongly recommend that the organizations applying for his grant purchase trees/shrubs from members of the Nebraska Nursery & Landscape Association. (A list will be provided in each application packet.) 

  • Eligible project components: 

    • Tree Removal and the cost of disposal and cleanup are eligible up to $1,000 but only for hazardous trees. At least one tree must be planted for every tree removed. 
    • Site preparation.

    • Purchase of trees and shrubs up to a limit of $200 per tree.

    • Tree Installation – Including all associated costs such as mulching and all finish work.

    • The cost of one year’s maintenance of newly planted trees and shrubs if done by contractor. This includes all necessary follow-up care.

    • Project planning and design services by professional Landscape Architects or Designers.

  • Ineligible items: 

    • Tools, equipment or landscaping around new buildings. Fabricated Landspe Mulch or rocks for landscaping

    • In-kind donations

    • Planting material such as: 

      • Grasses

      • Perennial Flowers

      • Annual Flowers

      • Roses

      • Vines

      • Vegetable Producing Plants 

    • Staff/Employee time and wages are not eligible for cost share assistance

    • Will not cost share on the following species: Scotch Pine, Autumn Blaze Maple, Ash Species, Aus Trees. In regards to the Ash “Fraxinus” species, that includes green, white, black and blue ash and their cultivars: 

      • Marshall’s Seedless

      • Patmore

      • Bergeson

      • Cimmaron

      • Summit

      • Autumn Purple

      • Autumn Applause

      • Autumn Blaze

      • Fallgold

      • True Blue

      • (Mountain Ash would be allowed because it is not a true ash nor is it in the Fraxinus family.)

    • Employee or volunteer labor.

  • Projects must conform with all local, state, and federal laws.

B. District Responsibilities

  1. Administer the Community Forestry Incentive Program.

  2. Review and prioritize all applications for assistance.

  3. Reimburse Sponsors up to 75% of the eligible local costs (i.e., excluding state and federal funds) of an approved and completed project, up to a maximum $5,000 in District funds. Maximum payment for purchase of trees is $150.00 per tree.

  4. The District reserves the right to approve or reject plans, specifications, implementation schedules, and entire project applications. 

C. Sponsor Requirements

  • To qualify for this grant, the Coordinator is required to contact the LENRD Forester for planning and to insure that their application meets the requirements for this grant by October 18, 2013.

  • The sponsor shall complete all pages of the enclosed application (Form 115a).

  • The sponsor shall execute the District’s Special Project Operation and Maintenance Agreement, Form 115b, upon approval of funding and before starting work on the project.

  • The sponsor shall obtain all necessary local, state, and federal permits.

  • The sponsor shall manage the completed project and provide all future operation and maintenance of the area at no cost to the District.

  • The sponsor shall agree to manage the completed project as a public facility for a minimum of 10 years.

  • The sponsor shall administer all contracts for design, tree removal, and tree planting for the project.

  • The sponsor shall control all erosion on the site during and after construction.

  • The sponsor shall hold and save the District free from damages or claims to project activities, operation, and maintenance.

  • The approved application becomes an agreement with the District which includes these guidelines.

  • The sponsor is encouraged to utilize recycled or recyclable products whenever practical or feasible. 

D. Requesting Reimbursement

  • Upon completion of the project, the Sponsor may request reimbursement from the District by providing a final report including:

    • Letter summarizing the work completed, with project map if different from original map with application.

    • Listing of all project expenditures.

    • Copies of all receipts that have been paid.

    • Pictures of completed project