2020 Urban and Community Forestry Challenge Cost Share Grant Program

The health and vitality of our urban & community forests are critical to all our Nation’s Forests. Communities often act as gateways for invasive pests and disease, and well managed community forests, especially when a part of shared stewardship across the landscape, can slow or even halt the spread before they infect neighboring private, state or National forests. Our forests are also under threat from natural disasters including wildland fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding and landslides. Well managed forests are better prepared to withstand these threats, protecting lives, infrastructure, homes, habitats, water quality, economies, and social health and well-being.  

To better equip our communities in preventing and responding to these threats, the U&CF program requests innovative proposals that strengthen urban and community forest resiliency and align with the goals in the National Ten Year Urban and Community Forestry Action Plan (2016-2026). Collaborative solutions may include but are not limited to research; prevention; planning; policy; preparedness; implementation; best management practices; recovery; and reforestation that promotes the resilience of our Nation’s urban & community forests.

Urban and Community Forestry Program Requirements

Innovative Forest Resiliency proposals shall have national or multi-state application and impact.

A proposal’s content must meet the Urban and Community Forestry program authorities as designated by Congress in the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act, (Section 9 PDF, pp. 19-24) State & Private Cooperative Forestry Handbook of Programs and one or more of the goals in the National Ten Year Urban and Community Forestry Action Plan (2016-2026)

Available Funding: The U.S. Forest Service anticipates that the statutory authority (Sub Title 9 of the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act) for the Fiscal Year 2020 Urban and Community Forestry (U&CF) Program may provide, approximately $900,000 in grant funds to be awarded through the 2020 National Urban and Community Forestry Grant Program. Funds are to support national urban and community forestry projects on non-federal public land that have a national or multi-state impact and application. All awards are based on the availability of funding, which may be subject to change.

Eligible Applicants: Any U.S. Non-Federal and Tribal Organization, operating within the United States or its territories, may apply for the Challenge Cost-Share grant. While collaboration with Federal agencies is encouraged, a Federal agency may not receive funding or be used as match to the Federal funds being requested. Individuals and private land are not eligible. Proposals are required to address national, multi-state, or multi-tribal-land urban and community forestry issues. The Forest Service will address any conflicts of interest.

Not Eligible: If an entity has a local/state tree-planting projects, capital improvements to property of any ownership, and/or projects that have only a local/single state impact and applicability are not eligible. Applicants with local proposals should contact their State Urban and Community Forestry Coordinator for assistance in identifying funding alternatives at the local level. The list of State Coordinators may be found at the following website at the bottom of the page: State Urban Foresters’ Contact List

Matching Requirements: All grant funds must be matched at least equally (dollar for dollar) with non-Federal source funds. This match may include in-kind donations, volunteer assistance, and private and public (non-federal) monetary contributions. All matching funds must be directly related to the proposed project. The source of matching funds must be identified, and grantees must comply with all applicable Federal regulations.

Applicant ID Numbers: All applicants are to include and ensure their DUNS and SAM’s numbers are current and won’t be expiring within the next 6-9 months.

Inquiries: All questions regarding the program should be directed to Nancy Stremple, National Urban and Community Forestry Specialist, at nancy.stremple@usda.gov from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (Eastern)

2020 National Urban and Community Forestry Innovation Grant Category: Creating and Enhancing Resilient Urban and Community Forests:

The USDA Forest Service seeks innovative (new, cutting-edge or builds upon existing studies) grant proposals for program development, study, and collaboration that will address urban and community forest resilience and aligns with one or more applicable goals in the National Ten Year Urban and Community Forestry Action Plan (2016-2026). By clicking on the title link it will download the document for more detailed information about each category listed below. The applicant is to list the Goal(s) their proposal is addressing.

  1. Integrate Urban and Community Forestry into All Scales of Planning (Page 26)
  2. Promote the Role of Urban and Community Forestry in Human Health and Wellness (Page 33):
  3. Cultivate Diversity, Equity and Leadership within the Urban Forestry Community (Page 42):
  4. Strengthen Urban and Community Forest Health and Biodiversity for Long-Term Resilience (Page 50):  
  5. Improve Urban and Community Forest Management, Maintenance and Stewardship (Page 58):
  6. Diversify, Leverage and Increase Funding for Urban and Community Forestry (Page 66):
  7. Increase Public Awareness and Environmental Education to Promote Stewardship (Page 74): 

Research Goal D (Page 16): Research is needed to better understand and monitor current threats, to diminish tree loss, maintain urban forest health, and to sustain ecosystem services. Studies are needed to help anticipate emergent threats or negative conditions to enable proactive management response, as well as, social or policy studies that can help to reveal the institutional best practices that can be put in place for threat response and community engagement for forest sustainability and resiliency.

Information on how to apply may be found on the following websites:

  • Grants.gov Synopsis (Search: Opportunity: USDA-FS-UCF-01-2020, or CFDA, 10.675, Agency Forest Service). This will include the link to the grant application website where the grant proposal application can be down-loaded, and grant package uploaded. https://grants.urbanandcommunityforests.org
  • USDA Forest Service UCF Website. This will include the link to the grant application website where the grant application can be down-loaded, and grant proposal package uploaded https://grants.urbanandcommunityforests.org
  • All grant proposal application instructions, downloadable application forms, and grant package submissions are located on: https://grants.urbanandcommunityforests.org unless one does not have the capacity to use or have the availability of a computer. They may contact Nancy Stremple, National Urban Forestry Specialist nancy.stremple@usda.gov, 202 205-7829 for application information to be mailed to them. 

Application Deadlines:

Proposals must be submitted to https://grants.urbanandcommunityforests.org or courier hard copies received by 11:59 PM Eastern, March 30, 2020.

The USDA. Forest Service typically awards the successful projects as Federal Financial Assistance Grants no later than September 30, 2020. Successful applicants will receive formal notice of their grant award from the Forest Service grants and agreements official. Consequently, grantees may not begin their projects prior to official grant award notification.

Hardcopy applicants will be required to utilize a courier service (i.e. FedEx, UPS, etc.) to send their application to the Forest Service’s National Urban and Community Forestry Specialist, Nancy Stremple. Hardcopy applications should be submitted on white 8.5” x 11” paper. Please do not enclose proposals in folders or binders (staple in the top, left hand corner of each copy) and do not include unsolicited material as it will be removed and destroyed. To apply by hardcopy, please use a courier service to send one hard copy and a copy on a disk to:

Nancy Stremple,
National Urban and Community Specialist
USDA Forest Service
201 14th. St. SW, Sidney Yates Bldg. 3NW-03B
Washington, D.C. 20024

Land and Water Conservation Fund Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program Round 4

The National Park Service State and Local Assistance Division announces the availability of $40 million mainly appropriated in FY 2018 and 2019 for Land and Water Conservation Fund State Assistance grants for a nationally competitive grant program. Eligible U.S. state and local government agencies and federally recognized Indian tribes are invited to submit proposals for matching grants to support projects that would acquire or develop public land for outdoor recreation purposes located within or serving Census-delineated “urbanized areas”: places with a population of 50,000 or more people that are densely settled.

Camera-trap study captures Sumatran tigers, clouded leopards, other rare beasts

Read the full story from the University of Illinois.

Scientists deployed motion-sensitive camera traps across a 50-square-mile swath of Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park in southern Sumatra and, over the course of eight years, recorded the haunts and habits of dozens of species, including the Sumatran tiger and other rare and endangered wildlife. Their observations offer insight into how abundant these species are and show how smaller creatures avoid being eaten by tigers and other carnivores.

They report their findings in the journal Animal Biodiversity and Conservation.

A camera-trap study in a national park in Sumatra captured images of critically endangered wildlife, like this Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae). Photo courtesy Max Allen

English wine industry “must do more to be sustainable”

Read the full story in The Drinks Business.

Daniel Ham, founder of Offbeat Wines, believes that the English wine industry must increase its commitment to the environment, and hopes his story will encourage others to pursue sustainable, organic and biodynamic projects.

How peer pressure can help stop climate change

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Buying hybrids and solar panels persuades other people to buy them. That dynamic can help stop climate change.

Food Waste is Fixable

Read the full story at Waste360.

In this week’s episode of NothingWasted! Podcast, we chat with Ashley Stanley, founder and executive director of Lovin’ Spoonfuls, which is the largest food rescue agency in New England.

We spoke with Stanley about the founding and growth of her organization, overcoming challenges in food waste and more.

Here’s a sneak peek into the discussion:

Hot Hemp Pits States Against Feds

Read the full story from Stateline.

New federal regulations would make it harder for hemp growers to prove their plants are not marijuana, in what could be a major setback to a promising industry legalized just two years ago, farmers and state officials say.

Officials cracking down on turtle smugglers in Florida

Read the full story from the Ledger.

Florida has 23 land and freshwater turtle species. The most sought after include box turtles, diamondback terrapins, mud and musk turtles, softshell turtles and snapping turtles.

Florida wildlife officials are increasingly concerned the state’s turtles are being scooped up by smugglers feeding an international demand for the freshwater and terrestrial reptiles.

The Biggest Municipal Solar Farm in the US Is Coming to…Cincinnati?

Read the full story in Mother JOnes.

Cincinnati planned to create the largest municipal-run solar farm in the country, and two years later, it looks like they’ve succeeded. “This really is a big deal,” says Gregory Wetstone, who heads the American Council on Renewable Energy, an organization that advocates for a transition to renewables in the energy sector. “Our team could not find anything that competes with it at a municipal level.”

Final EPA coal ash proposal could allow some ponds to go unlined, despite DC Circuit ruling

Read the full story in Waste Dive.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to allow utilities to continue dumping coal ash into ponds that are scheduled for closure, and allow some to remain unlined.

The proposed changes, filed Wednesday, would exempt some facilities from lining their basins with plastic if they met certain protective standards, despite a D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in August 2018 that the Obama administration’s rules were not strict enough on liners. EPA made the decision based on industry feedback, according to its proposal, despite concerns from environmental advocates.

Under the proposal, utilities could also potentially lengthen the closure timeline for a coal ash pond. The proposal is expected to save industry between $41 million and $138 million per year, according to EPA.