Community Forest Grant Program, Deadline May 15

The Community Forest Program (CFP) protects forests that are important for people and the places they call home. Community forests provide many benefits such as places to recreate and enjoy nature; they protect habitat, water quality and other environmental benefits, and they can provide economic benefits through timber resources. Community Forests have also long been sites for environmental and cultural education.

Request For Applications Issued
The Forest Service published a call for applications for the Community Forest and Open Space Program in the Federal Register on February 15, 2012. Applications are due to the State Forester or the appropriate Tribal official by May 15, 2012 and June 14, 2012 for State Forester or equivalent official of the Indian tribe submitting the applications to the Forest Service.

Total CFP funding anticipated for awards is $3.15 million, and individual grant applications may not exceed $400,000.

What is the Community Forest Program?

The Community Forest Program is a grant program that authorizes the Forest Service to provide financial assistance to local governments, Tribal governments, and qualified nonprofit entities to establish community forests that provide continuing and accessible community benefits.

The Community Forest Program was authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill (Section 8003 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-234)), which amends the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act of 1978.

Program basics:

  • Full fee title acquisition is required. Conservation easements are not eligible.
  • Community Forests can be owned by local governments, Tribal Governments, and qualified nonprofit entities.
  • The program pays up to 50% of the project costs and requires a 50% non-federal match
  • Public access is required for CFP projects
  • The community is involved in the establishment of the community forest and long-term management decisions.

Applications for local government and nonprofit entities are required to go to the State Forester, while Tribal applications go to the equivalent Tribal Governments official.

Eligible Entities:

  • Local governments- Any municipal government, county government, or other local government with jurisdiction over local land use decisions.
  • Indian Tribes- Federally recognized Indian tribes and Alaska Native Corporations.
  • Qualified nonprofit organizations- Consistent with Section 170(h)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and operates in accordance with one or more of the conservation purposes.

Eligible Land:

  • Private forest lands that are threatened by conversion to nonforest uses, are not lands held in trust by the United States, and can provide defined community benefits and allow public access
  • Forest lands – Lands that are at least five acres in size, suitable to sustain natural vegetation, and at least 75 percent forested. Forests are determined both by the presence of trees and the absence of nonforest uses.

Applicants will notify the Forest Service when submitting an application to the State Forester or equivalent officials of the Indian tribe.
State Foresters and equivalent official of the Indian tribe will forward all applications to the Forest Service, and, as time and resources allow will:

  1. Provide a review of each application to help the Forest Service determine that the applicant is an eligible entity, that the land is eligible, and whether the project contributes to a landscape conservation initiative.
  2. Confirm that the proposed project has not been submitted for funding consideration under the Forest Legacy Program
  3. Describe what technical assistance they may render in support of implementing the proposed community forest project and an estimate of needed financial assistance.

Project Evaluation Criteria

  1. Type and extent of community benefits provided.
  2. Extent and nature of community engagement in the establishment and long-term management.
  3. Amount of cost share leveraged.
  4. Extent to which the community forest contributes to a landscape conservation initiative.
  5. Extent of due diligence completed on the project.
  6. Likelihood that, unprotected, the property would be converted to nonforest uses.
  7. Costs to the Federal government.

Project Requirements

  1. Complete an appraisal following the Federal appraisal standards (aka Yellowbook).
  2. Prior to closing, notify the landowner in writing of the appraised value and that the sale is voluntary.
  3. Ensure that title is not subject to encumbrances that would be contrary to program purposes.
  4. Purchase all surface and subsurface mineral rights, whenever possible or, determine that the likelihood of extraction is so remote as to be negligible.
  5. Record a Notice of Grant Requirement.
  6. Complete the final community forest plan within 120 days.
  7. Provide appropriate public access.
  8. Submit every 5 years a self-certifying statement that the property has not been sold or converted.
  9. Be subject to a spot check conducted to verify that Community Forest has not been sold or converted.
Community Forest Grant Program, Deadline May 15

National Fish Passage Program, Deadline Sept. 2012

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) Fisheries Program’s National Fish Passage Program is a voluntary, non-regulatory conservation assistance program that provides financial and technical assistance to remove or bypass artificial barriers that impede the movement of fish and other aquatic species and contribute to their decline.   The Service will implement fish passage improvement-based, cost-shared projects to protect, restore, or enhance habitats that support fish and other aquatic species and their populations.  All or a portion of project funds may be transferred to partner organizations through cooperative agreements if the Service lacks the capability to implement a project. The fish passage improvement projects that are eligible for funding are those that directly remove and/or bypass barriers to fish movement, benefit federal trust species, and those that are ranked highly by the FWS Regional Directors.

Contact us for more details!

 

National Fish Passage Program, Deadline Sept. 2012

Tiger II Grants, Fourth Round Now Open, Deadline Feb. 20

U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces Fourth Round of Funding Under Highly Successful TIGER Program

Following President Obama’s call in his State of the Union address for greater infrastructure investment as part of “An America Built to Last,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced the availability of funding for transportation projects under a fourth round of the popular TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) Discretionary Grant program.  TIGER 2012 will make $500 million available for surface transportation projects having a significant impact on the nation, a metropolitan area, or region.

The previous three rounds of the TIGER program provided $2.6 billion to 172 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.  Demand for the program has been overwhelming, and during the previous three rounds, the Department of Transportation received more than 3,348 applications requesting more than $95 billion for transportation projects across the country.

“President Obama made clear in his State of the Union address that investing in transportation means putting people back to work, and that’s just what our TIGER program is doing in communities across the country,” said Secretary LaHood.  “Americans are demanding investments in highways, ports, commuter rail, streetcars, buses, and high-speed rail.  These kinds of projects not only mean a stronger economic future for the U.S., but jobs for Americans today.”

As in previous rounds, high-speed rail and intercity passenger rail projects remain eligible for funding.  TIGER 2012 provides for the possibility of up to $100 million being used toward these projects.  TIGER 2012 will also continue to encourage the development of transportation projects in rural areas, providing $120 million for rural transportation projects.

On November 18, 2011, the President signed the FY 2012 Appropriations Act, which provided $500 million for Department of Transportation infrastructure investments.  Like the first three rounds, TIGER 2012 grants are for capital investments in surface transportation infrastructure and are to be awarded on a competitive basis.

Projects will be evaluated on primary criteria that include safety, economic competitiveness, livability, environmental sustainability, state of repair and short-term job creation.

Pre-applications are due February 20 and applications are due March 19.

Tiger II Grants, Fourth Round Now Open, Deadline Feb. 20