Rhode Island's Farm, Forest, and Open Space Program

Rhode Island’s Farm, Forest, and Open Space Act (FFOS) helps citizens conserve their lands for themselves and for future generations.

The FFOS program allows property enrolled in the Farm, Forest, and Open Space Program (FFOS) to be assessed at its current use, not its value for development. The purpose of the law is to conserve Rhode Island's productive agricultural and forest land, and open spaces by reducing the chance it will have to be sold for development.

The Southern RI Conservation District works with landowners in Washington and Kent Counties to develop Conservation Plans as part of the FFOS and other various services and programs to assist landowners to conserve their soils and water resources.

Additional information about the RI FFOS program can be found in the

Conservation District brochure:
http://www.riconservation.org/FFOS-Brochure.pdf

FFOS Citizen's Guide
http://www.riconservation.org/FFOS-CitizensGuide.pdf

Rhode Island Resource Management Guide
http://www.dem.ri.gov/programs/bnatres/agricult/pdf/ffosarg.pdf

and on the DEM website:  
http://www.dem.ri.gov/programs/bnatres/forest/pdf/citgui03.pdf

Rules and Regulations for Enforcement of the Farm, Forest, and Open Space Act


Farms    
Conservation District staff can provide you with no-cost assistance with applying for NRCS programs.

The USDA-Natural Resource Conservation Service is a non-regulatory, non-enforcement agency that provides financial and technical assistance for farm and forest landowners with resource concerns on their property. Help is available with projects like seasonal high tunnels, pollinator habitat creation, forest management, nutrient management, and more!

Forest
To be eligible for forestland classification the parcel must be ten acres or more bearing a dense growth of trees, including young regenerating forest, which has been established either through natural regeneration or planting.

The forest must be actively managed in accordance with the provisions of a written forest stewardship plan for the purpose of enhancing forest resources.  The plan must be prepared by a qualified forester in consultation with the landowner.  The plan must address minimum criteria and be reviewed and approved by DEM.

A Forest Stewardship Plan documents the forestland resources– including soil and water quality, wildlife habitat, timber value, and outdoor recreation – and recommends management activities based on landowner goals and priorities for the next 10 years. Implementing a Forest Stewardship Plan also allows landowners be eligible for participation in Rhode Island’s current use tax program, “The Farm, Forest, and Open Space Act”, which reduces property tax on forestland under active management. The FSP requires a review every 5 years to remain in the current use tax program, and a new/updated plan every 10 years.

USDA - Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) offers financial assistance for Forest Stewardship Plan development and other forestry related activities through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).  SRICD partners with USDA-NRCS to help landowners access technical and financial resources through these programs.  Find out more here: http://www.healthylandsri.org/

Additional information on managing your forest can be found at the links below.
http://www.dem.ri.gov/programs/forestry/stewardship/index.php
http://rifco.org/index.htm  

Open Space  
SRICD can help you develop conservation plans and other resources for your open space properties.
See our services pages to learn more.