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 Feb. 27, 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 wildland 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.

“We encourage forest restoration proposals to engage the Colorado Youth Corps,” said Naomi Marcus, CSFS assistant staff forester. “The Colorado Youth Corps helps connect Colorado youth to the importance of providing protection to our watersheds and communities.”

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.

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