Colorado landowners and communities that want to protect forested areas from severe wildfire and other forest health concerns may be eligible for grant funding from the Colorado State Forest Service.
The CSFS is now accepting proposals for the Colorado Forest Restoration Grant Program, which helps fund projects that demonstrate a community-based approach to forest restoration. Proposals are due by March 20, and must address protection of water supplies or related infrastructure, as well as the restoration of forested watersheds.
Projects should focus on mitigating threats that affect watershed health, such as the build-up of vegetative fuels that increase the risk for severe wildfires, which could negatively impact watersheds. Specific project goals also could include preserving older trees, replanting deforested areas and improving the use of small-diameter trees as forest products. Projects are encouraged to engage the Colorado Youth Corps to supply labor, to help connect Colorado youth to the importance of protecting watersheds and communities.
“This program encourages local stakeholders to collaborate and develop forest restoration projects that promote active management of Colorado forests,” said Mike Lester, state forester and director of the CSFS. “These community efforts will help improve the health of Colorado’s forest watersheds while simultaneously reducing the threat of high-intensity fires and improving utilization of forest products.”
Projects must be located in communities with a CSFS-approved Community Wildfire Protection Plan. The state can fund up to 60 percent of each awarded project; grant recipients are required to match at least 40 percent of the total project cost through cash or in-kind contributions, which can include federal funds.
An interdisciplinary technical advisory panel, convened by the CSFS in partnership with the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, will review project applications. The CSFS will notify successful applicants by this summer.
Applications and additional information about the Forest Restoration Grant Program are available at local CSFS district offices or csfs.colostate.edu.