$15 million in grants available to Colorado communities to reduce wildfire risk | SteamboatToday.com

$15 million in grants available to Colorado communities to reduce wildfire risk

Summit Daily staff report

The Colorado State Forest Service is now accepting applications for the Forest Restoration and Wildfire Risk Mitigation grant program.

Community groups, homeowner associations, utilities and nonprofit organizations are just some of the groups eligible to apply for grants from the $15 million funding pool.

Applications will be accepted until 5 p.m. Oct. 19, and applicants can request help from their local Forest Service Field Office. Contact info can be found at CSFS.ColoState.edu/areas.

The grant program helps fund projects that strategically reduce wildfire risk and promote forest health through scientifically based forestry practices. The competitive grant program is designed to reduce risk to people and property in the wildland-urban interface and support long-term ecological restoration. The projects can be on private, state, county or municipal forestlands.

There is a fund-matching component of the grant awards. The state can fund up to 50% or 75% of the cost of each awarded project. Grant recipients are required to match at least 50% or 25% of the total project cost. This can be through cash or in-kind contributions, with the matching amount dependent on whether the project location falls within an area of “fewer economic resources,” as identified in the Colorado Forest Atlas.

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 to help demonstrate the effectiveness of various treatments and the utility of grant resources. The Forest Service will work with successful project applicants to conduct project monitoring and conduct site visits to assess effectiveness and completion of projects. For more information visit the state forest service website at CSFS.ColoState.edu/grants.

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