.03 Eligibility.

A. To be eligible for consideration by the Foundation, a proposal for a forest easement overlay shall meet the requirements of a State or local forest conservation program, be approved by the applicable county’s planning authority, and be recommended by the county’s agricultural land preservation advisory board.

B. To be eligible for consideration by the Foundation, a proposal for a forest easement overlay shall be limited to 10 acres, or 10 percent of the total easement acreage, whichever is smaller, unless the Foundation determines otherwise.To be eligible, a forest easement overlay shall allow prescribed harvests.

C. A forest easement overlay for mitigation purposes shall offset development inside a priority funding area only, with the exception of mitigation required by a Foundation-approved lot release on the same easement property as described in §E of this regulation. Proposals for forest mitigation banking shall establish a reporting mechanism to the county and the Foundation for ensuring that credits, when taken, offset development in a priority funding area.

D. Resource Conservation.

(1) A forest easement overlay shall serve a legitimate resource conservation purpose under a soil conservation and water quality plan or forest stewardship plan.

(2) The proposed forest easement overlay shall:

(a) Contribute substantially to good land and environmental resource stewardship on the farm;

(b) Be an appropriate best management practice (BMP) to achieve the resource conservation objectives for the farm, based on Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) standards and estimates;

(c) Be included in the soil conservation and water quality plan and a forest stewardship or management plan for the farm; and

(d) Permit sustainable forest stewardship practices, including prescribed harvests.

E. Mitigation for Residential Development.

(1) If a county requires on-site forest mitigation because of on-site residential development, the landowner shall so inform the Foundation at the time of the lot release request. In this case, a separate forest mitigation proposal is not required.

(2) If the lot release request is approved, the forest mitigation easement overlay document shall:

(a) Be submitted to the Foundation for review in advance of recordation;

(b) Be subordinate to the agricultural land preservation easement unless otherwise required; and

(c) Allow prescribed harvests unless harvesting is restricted under the soil conservation and water quality plan.