Forest Service Seeks Applicants for Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program

On August 27, 2013, the Forest Service published the attached notice in the FEDERAL REGISTER requesting applications for the Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program (CFP). Indian tribes (including Alaska Native Corporations) are among the entities eligible to apply for an estimated $4 million in FY 2014 grant funding to establish community forests through fee simple acquisition of private forest land. Applications are due February 17, 2014.

The purpose of the CFP is to protect forest land from conversion to non-forest uses and to provide community benefits such as: wildlife habitats, forest-based educational programs and recreational benefits secured with public access. Lands eligible for funding are those that are: private forest land that is at least five acres in size, suitable to sustain natural vegetation, at least 75 percent forested, and threatened by conversion to non-forest uses. Additionally, eligible land must not be held in trust by the United States on behalf of any Indian tribe or be tribal allotment lands. Lands acquired prior to a grant award are not eligible for funding.

Of the $4 million estimated to be available in FY 2014, the Forest Service will award grants in amounts of $400,000 or less to grantees. A 50 percent match is required but grantees may use a combination of cash, in-kind services, and donations from a non-federal source to achieve the match. Grants are for a period of two years but this timeline may be extended by the Forest Service to accommodate unforeseen circumstances in the land acquisition process.

Please let us know if we may provide additional information regarding the Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program.