USA – HELENA —The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation will begin soliciting in December for forest restoration and management projects to address forest health and wildfire risks identified in a recent Montana Forest Action Plan.
Gov. Steve Bullock allocated $4.5 million last week from the state’s Fire Suppression Fund toward the initiative, DNRC officials said.
He said the funding will be available to projects that help quicken the pace and scale of forest management in order to reduce wildland fire hazards to communities and infrastructure, improve forest health, and increase restoration.
The state funding will be matched with $500,000 in grants from the USDA Forest Service. These are expected to be between $50,000 and $500,000. The funds will be available to federal, state, tribal, and local governments, forest collaboratives and watershed groups, as well as contractors, private forest landowners, nonprofit organizations, and other relevant partners.
“This funding shows a real commitment to actually getting work done on the ground,” said Blake Henning, chief conservation Officer of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and member of the Montana Forest Action Advisory Council.
The Request for Proposals submission period will begin Tuesday, with all proposals due Jan. 29. Proposals will be scored by the newly formed Montana Forest Action Plan Implementation Committee. Funding will be allocated by DNRC.
DNRC will host sessions about the RFP process to answer questions and explain eligibility on Dec. 10,16 and Jan. 12.
To attend one of the sessions, participants should email email@example.com for the meeting information. It is strongly recommended applicants attend one of these meetings or contact the DNRC to help determine eligibility.
Funds will be allocated to new and existing cross boundary projects that exemplify the goals and strategies outlined in the 2020 revision of the Montana Forest Action Plan.
In addition to funding projects in Montana, the Montana Forest Action Plan Implementation Committee and supporting agencies intend to utilize the Montana Forest Action Plan to help increase cross boundary, landscape scale projects in Montana and better compete at the national level for additional funding opportunities.
“Throughout the process, we’ve been saying the Montana Forest Action Plan is all about working across ownership boundaries to create meaningful change in Montana’s forests,” said Gordy Sanders, Resource Manager at Pyramid Lumber Co. and member of the Montana Forest Action Advisory Council Leadership Committee.