The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) has issued a call for proposals for the planning and implementation of fuels management projects on National Forest System (NFS) lands in California. The goal of the Pacific Southwest Fuels Management Strategic Investments Partnership (Fuels Partnership) is to identify and fund fuel management projects that reduce the risk of severe wildfire, protect ecological values of United States Forest Service (USFS) restoration investments, and reduce the risk of damage to public and private improvements near USFS lands. A total of $1.2 million is available for year four of this program.
A century of widespread fire exclusion and changes in forest management have resulted in a buildup of surface fuels and the overstocking of California forests with trees and ladder fuels. The resulting forest health problems are widespread and increasing, affecting wildlife habitat, water quality and quantity, and long-term soil productivity. The buildup of flammable vegetation due to past management, drought conditions, and insect and disease-related tree mortality have made managing fire riskier, more complex, and more costly. With climate and vegetation conditions contributing to longer annual fire seasons, agency capacity and resources for fire suppression to protect communities, natural resources, and infrastructure are stretched thin.
Properly designed and implemented fuels management treatments can reduce the intensity of future wildland fires, restore a healthier natural fire regime that maintains and protects important meadow and riparian habitats, and support overall forest health, improving habitat for important species.
For the second year, a particular focus of the partnership will be the protection and enhancement of habitat important for the survival of the California spotted owl — a species whose habitat is particularly at risk from catastrophic fire.
USFS has identified priority project areas across the state of California. Details on the fuel management needs in each respective forest are included in the appendix section of this Request for Proposals. Note that the projects identified in the appendix include opportunities to implement projects for which all planning and compliance have been completed, as well as opportunities to support planning and compliance work for projects that are still in development. NFWF also is interested in advancing fuels management projects that will help reduce the threat of catastrophic wildlife and its impact on natural resources, as well as previous investments in improving natural resources on or adjacent to NFS lands that are not necessarily listed in the appendix.
The Fuels Partnership intends to award $1.4 million in support of fuel management planning and implementation projects in this funding cycle. Grants will be considered in any amount between $50,000 and $500,000, and there is no limit on the number of grants that will be awarded.
The ratio of matching contributions will be considered during the review process, and projects are expected to meet or exceed a 1:1 match ratio to be competitive. The strongest projects will meet or exceed a 1:1 match ratio. Projects not meeting the match expectations will be considered on a limited case-by-case basis. Eligible match can include non-federal cash or in-kind contributions such as staff and volunteer time, work performed, materials and services donated, cash or other tangible contributions to the project objectives and outcomes.
Eligible applicants include nonprofit 501(c) organizations, U.S. federal government agencies (except for the U.S. Forest Service), state government agencies, local governments, municipal governments, Indian tribes, educational institutions, and businesses. Ineligible applicants include unincorporated individuals and international organizations.
(Note: All application materials must be submitted online through NFWF's Easygrants system.)
NFWF will host an application webinar on August 22 from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. PDT. Full proposals are due September 19 at 11:59 EDT, and grant awards will be announced in November.
For more information, including evaluation criteria, project metrics, and application instructions, see the National Fish and Wildlife Service website.