The Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) has announced a call for proposals for the Forest Restoration and Wildfire Risk Mitigation (FRWRM) Grants Program from Colorado HOAs, community groups, local governments, fire protection districts, utilities and nonprofit organizations seeking funding to improve forest health, conduct forest restoration and reduce wildfire risk on non-federal land in the state.
The FRWRM program helps fund projects that strategically reduce the potential wildfire risk to property, infrastructure and water supplies and that promote forest health through scientifically based forestry practices.
The competitive grant program is designed to reduce risk to people and property in the WUI and support long-term ecological restoration.
Applications must not only promote forest health and address the reduction of hazardous fuels that could fuel a wildfire – such as trees and brush near homes – but also utilize wood products derived from forest management efforts.
Applicants must coordinate proposed projects with relevant county officials to ensure consistency with county-level wildfire risk reduction planning.
Follow-up monitoring also is a necessary component of this grant program to help demonstrate the relative efficacy of various treatments and the utility of grant resources.
The CSFS will work with successful project applicants to conduct project monitoring and conduct site visits to assess effectiveness and completion of projects.
Additional emphasis will be given to projects that: are identified through a community-based collaborative process, such as a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP); are implemented strategically across land ownership boundaries; are conducted within a priority area identified in the 2020 Colorado Forest Action Plan; utilize the labor of an accredited Colorado Youth or Veterans Corps organization; and include forest treatments that result in the protection of water supplies.
- Healthy, Diverse & Sustainable Forest Conditions: Ensure healthy, diverse and sustainable forest conditions on a meaningful scale throughout Colorado by providing technical forestry assistance and forestry and wildfire prevention and mitigation education to individuals, landowners, partners and other groups.
- Communication, Outreach, Education & Policy: Address the growing public demand for information and promote informed decision-making on natural resource issues by positioning the Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) as a recognized point-of-contact for Colorado on credible forestry and wildland fire prevention and mitigation education, expertise and technical assistance.
- Critical Agency Relationships: Enable the CSFS to foster and/or maintain credibility and thrive in a changing administrative and political environment through increased emphasis on building and maintaining relationships with the Governor’s Office, Colorado State University, the Colorado Department of Natural Resources and other key local, state and federal partners, and by meeting the needs of those partners through quality service.
- Foundations for Effective Program Delivery: Maintain an effective foundation of administrative, planning and development functions that provides the agency with the resources, direction and support needed to remain focused on strategic priorities and to deliver the services and programs essential to Colorado.
- Organizational Environment: Cultivate and sustain an organizational environment that promotes the development and retention of core skills needed to achieve strategic priorities and delivery of programs; that recognizes and values employees’ critical role in agency accomplishment; and that allows employees to meet their full potential in providing excellent public service.
The two types of projects identified below will be considered through this grant program:
- Fuels & Forest Health Projects: Fuels and forest health projects must:
- strategically reduce the potential risk for damage to property, infrastructure, water supplies and other high-valued assets as a result of wildfire and/or limit the probability of wildfires spreading into populated areas; and
- promote forest health through scientifically based forestry practices that restore ecosystem functions, structures and species composition.
- Capacity Building: Projects to purchase equipment that will address unmet implementation needs at the local level also will be considered. Capacity grant applications should clearly describe how the equipment will be used and maintained to implement fuels treatments beyond the life of the initial project. Implementation capacity grants will be limited to 25 percent of the total available grant funds ($1,500,000 available in 2021 grant cycle).
- Governor Polis signed a bill (SB21-054) to transfer $6 million from the General Fund to the FRWRM grant program to address wildfire risk in Colorado.
- Approximately $6 million in total funding is available, and grant awards are available up to $1 million during this FRWRM grant cycle.
- The following individuals, organizations or entities may apply:
- Local community groups, including registered homeowner associations and formal neighborhood associations, that are within close proximity to the WUI;
- Local government entities including counties, municipalities, fire protection districts and other special districts in or within close proximity to the WUI;
- Public or private utilities, including water providers, with infrastructure or land ownership in areas of high risk to catastrophic wildfires;
- State agencies, such as the State Land Board and Colorado Parks and Wildlife, that own land in areas of high risk to catastrophic wildfires; and
- Non-profit groups that promote hazardous forest fuel reduction treatment projects or are engaged in firefighting or fire management activities.
- In addition, all applicants must:
- Be able to function as the fiscal agent and have legal authority to administer and/or implement treatments on proposed project area(s).
- Confirm that participating landowner(s) agree to reporting and monitoring requirements.
- Comply with all applicable federal and state environmental laws. Applicable Colorado Forestry Best Management Practices (BMPs) are required for project implementation
For more information, visit https://csfs.colostate.edu/2021/04/07/funding-available-for-projects-addressing-forest-health-wildfire-risk-2/