Community Forestry Grants Available

K. William Boyer
Devils Lake Journal

DEVILS LAKE – The North Dakota Forest Service (NDFS) is currently accepting applications for the Community Forestry grant program. This program offers several grant opportunities to communities in North Dakota interested in funding tree planting and other projects related to urban and community forestry.

More than 77 percent of North Dakota's population lives in communities with active urban and community forestry initiatives. Investing in your community’s trees means investing in your community’s residents. Green infrastructure can reduce energy expenses by reducing costs for cooling and heating, and increase the aesthetic appeal of residential environments. Vibrant, diverse community forests have been linked with enhanced human health and overall well-being, which is important now more than ever as people are looking to get outside and enjoy nature amidst the pandemic.

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The NDFS provides three Community Forestry grants- two for tree planting and one for program development. The Community Family Forest grant (CFF) is funded by the Trees for North Dakota Trust Fund. A public entity is eligible to receive a maximum grant award of $1,500; A Tree City USA community is eligible for a maximum award of $2,000. Only one grant application will be accepted per community. At least 20% of the total cost of the project must be contributed by the applicant in the form of cash, services, and/or in-kind contributions.

The America the Beautiful Tree Planting grant (ATBTP) is administered by the NDSU-North Dakota Forest Service in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service. A public entity is eligible to receive a maximum grant award of $10,000. At least 50% of the total cost of the project must be contributed by the applicant from sources other than federal funds, in the form of cash and/or in-kind contributions. Grant funding for these two tree planting grants can be used to enhance a city entrance, fill open planting spaces along streets, convert a vacant city lot into an inviting community space, or rejuvenate a city park.

The America the Beautiful Program Development grant (ATBPD) is made available through the US Forest Service. It also has a maximum grant award of $10,000, and at least 50% of the total cost of the project must be contributed by the applicant from sources other than federal funds, in the form of cash and/or in-kind contributions. Community forestry program development projects can include removing diseased or declining trees, educational outreach like signage for trees, or conducting a public tree inventory.

All projects must be located on public property, and public entities that own or control the land where the project will be located must submit the application. Grant applications must be postmarked by April 30th, 2021. To receive an application, please contact a NDFS Community Forestry staff member. More information about these grants, such as a timeline and frequently asked questions, can be found here: https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/ndfs/programs-and-services/america-the-beautiful-grant-opportunities.

The North Dakota Forest Service provides technical, financial, and educational forestry assistance to a broad array of customers. The staff administer forestry programs serving communities, rural landowners, soil conservation districts, rural fire districts, schools and citizens of North Dakota. All programs utilize a voluntary, educational and incentives-based approach to address natural resource and customer needs.

K. William Boyer is the Managing Editor of the Devils Lake News Journal. He can be reached at kboyer@gannett.com, or by phone at (701) 662-2127.  

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