FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The Colorado State Forest Service received historic support from the Colorado Legislature and Governor Polis to reduce wildfire risk, grow seedling trees and provide more funding to communities during the 2022 legislative session.
Highlights from the 2022 Legislative Session
New Funding and Grant Programs
HB22-1379 – Enhances Wildfire Mitigation and Watershed Protection
This bill provides $3 million to the Colorado State Forest Service’s Healthy Forests and Vibrant Communities Fund to reduce wildfire fuels around high-priority watersheds.
HB22-1011 – Helps Local Governments Fund Forest Management
This bill creates a $10 million grant program within the Colorado State Forest Service to match revenue raised by local governments for forest management and wildfire fuels reduction, or to expand existing programs to increase wildfire mitigation across the state. This grant program will be open for interested applicants by March 2023.
HB22-1007 – Improves Outreach among Landowners for Wildfire Mitigation
This bill establishes the Wildfire Mitigation Resources and Best Practices grant program within the Colorado State Forest Service. Grants will be available to conduct outreach among landowners in high wildfire hazard areas. There will be $300,000 available and the CSFS will provide grant funds to recipients in late 2023. To be eligible, a recipient must be an agency of local government, a county, municipality, special district, a tribal agency or program, or a nonprofit organization.
More information about these grants and other funding assistance programs is available on the CSFS Grants & Funding page.
More Seedling Trees for Reforestation
HB22-1323 – Upgrades the State Forest Service Tree Nursery
This bill provides $5 million to the Colorado State Forest Service to upgrade and improve its seedling tree nursery, expanding its capacity to provide low-cost trees; to build climate-resilient watersheds and forests; and to enhance carbon storage to meet the state’s climate mitigation goals.
Increased Wildfire Awareness
SB22-007 – Increases Wildfire Risk Mitigation Outreach Efforts
This bill requires the Colorado State Forest Service to convene a working group, which includes the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control, U.S. Forest Service and other partners in wildfire mitigation, to assess how to expand the annual Wildfire Awareness Month campaign in 2023 and 2024. The working group will also consider outreach efforts beyond the month of May and how best to distribute educational resources and information about wildfire risk.
Forest Carbon Framework and Additional Funding for Existing Programs
HB22-1012 – Creates a Forest Carbon Accounting Framework
This bill directs the Colorado State Forest Service to create a carbon accounting framework and train practitioners in carbon-adaptive forest management. The bill also includes $3 million in general funds for the CSFS’s Healthy Forests and Vibrant Communities Fund to increase capacity to address wildfire risk in Colorado and $2.2 million in general funds to the CSFS’s Forest Restoration and Wildfire Risk Mitigation (FRWRM) Grant Program for projects that help communities reduce wildfire risk. The CSFS expects the next round of FRWRM grant funds to be available for application in August 2022.