MONTROSE – The Colorado State Forest Service is encouraging landowners to apply for forest restoration grant funds.
It’s not only the federal land managers, the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, getting involved in forest management. (The very large, 10-year, $9.6 million Uncompahgre Forest Restoration Project comes to mind.) Now, according to a CSFS release, private landowners are able to take advantage of 60/40 cost share grant funds to improve the health of their forest ecosystems. (The government pays 60 percent of the cost; other grants and in-kind services can contribute to the landowner’s 40 percent share.)
The intent, according to the release, is twofold: to reduce the risk of damaging wildfire; and to enhance the health and productivity of Colorado’s private forest lands. According to Naomi Marcus, the grant program manager, funds will be made available primarily for watershed restoration and water supply protection.
That means projects like thinning or harvesting trees, on-site chipping, or reforestation activities, either mechanical or with hand crews. Erosion control activities will be considered, said Marcus, including grass seeding. “Anything that provides long-term benefits to the water supply.”
The funding will be awarded through a competition process that “prioritizes collaboration, protection of communities and water supplies, use of forest products, and scientifically based ecological restoration.”
Applications will be reviewed by an inter-agency panel that will include the state Department of Natural Resources, experts in the field of restoration sciences and ecology, and local elected officials.
“The emphasis,” Marcus said, “is on landscape-scale treatments. We are encouraging landowners to work with their neighbors on a proposal. Utilize their resources to have a positive impact on a landscape scale.”
The public is invited to submit proposals to the Forest Restoration Pilot Grant program by 4 p.m. Jan. 26, 2011 to program manager Naomi Marcus: 970/980-3184 or naomi.marcus.colostate.edu. Grant applications are available online at the Montrose County website.