FORT COLLINS, Colo. — The Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) is now accepting applications for the Forest Restoration and Wildfire Risk Mitigation (FRWRM) Grant Program. Community groups, homeowner associations, utilities and non-profit 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, 2022, and applicants can request help 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 helps fund projects that strategically reduce 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 wildland-urban interface (WUI) 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 percent of the cost of each awarded project; grant recipients are required to match at least 50 or 25 percent of the total project cost. This can be through cash or in-kind contributions, and the required matching amount depends 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 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, use the labor of an accredited Colorado Youth or Veterans Corps 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, Oct. 19, 2022. A technical advisory panel convened by the CSFS will review project applications and make funding recommendations. Funding will be awarded by March 31, 2023.
–Colorado State Forest Service