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

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