Forest and wildlife grant program accepting applications

Partly cloudy afternoon in the Grand Mesa National Forest.
Partly cloudy afternoon in the Grand Mesa National Forest.(Sarah Coleman)
Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 2:04 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - The Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) is now accepting applications for the Forest Restoration and Wildlife Risk Mitigation (FRWRM) Grant Program.

A $15 million funding pool will allow community groups, homeowner associations, utilities and non-profit organizations, and other groups to apply for grants. Applications are being accepted through October 19, 2022, at 5 p.m. and applicants can request assistance from their local CSFS Field Office.

“Helping Colorado communities in the wildland-urban interface prepare for wildfire is a top priority for the Colorado State Forest Service,” said Matt McCombs, state forester and director of the CSFS. “This year, thanks to support from Governor Polis and the Colorado State Legislature, the Colorado State Forest Service has $15 million available for grants that fund efforts to reduce fuel loads, mitigate wildfire risk and improve the resiliency of Colorado’s forests. I encourage Coloradans to work with their neighbors and friends to get an application together and put these funds to work on the ground in their communities.”

The FRWRM Grant Program assists in funding projects that strategically reduce wildfire risk to property, infrastructure and water supplies as well as those that promote forest health through scientifically based forestry practices.

The grant program is designed to reduce risk to people and property in the wildland-urban interface (WUI) and support long-term ecological restoration. The grants can be used on private, state, county or municipal forestlands.

The state will fund between 50 and 75 percent of the cost of each awarded project. Grant recipients are required to fund at least 25 to 50 percent of the total project cost. This can be in cash or through in-kind contributions. The required matching amount depends on whether the project location falls in an area with “fewer economic resources,” as identified in the Colorado Forest Atlas.

Applicants are required to coordinate their proposed projects with county officials to ensure consistency with county-level wildfire risk reduction planning. Follow-up monitoring will also be required in the grant program to help demonstrate the relative efficacy of various treatments and the utility of grant resources.

The CSFS will work with selected project applicants to complete project monitoring and will schedule site visits to assess effectiveness and completion of projects.

Additional consideration will be granted to projects that are identified as a community-based collaborative process, such as a Community Wildlife Protection Plan, are implemented strategically across land ownership, boundaries, are conducted within a priority area identified in the 2020 Colorado Forest Action Plan, use the labor of an accredited Colorado Youth or Veterans Cops organization or include forest treatments that result in the protection of water supplies.

Applications must be submitted electronically to local CSFS Field Offices by 5 p.m. MDT on October 19, 2022. A technical advisory panel assembled by the CSFS will review project applications and make funding recommendations. Funding will be awarded by March 31, 2023.

Applications and further information about the FRWRM Grant Program can be found on CSFS Field Offices and on the CSFS website.

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