2022-2023 Application Instructions – Capacity Building

Forest Restoration and Wildfire Risk Mitigation Grant Program

Established by SB 17-050

Application Instructions

The application is in pdf format. Applicants should use Adobe Acrobat or the free Adobe Reader software to edit the application for the most reliable results. Write in complete sentences and provide as much detail as needed for reviewers to understand all aspects of proposed projects. All blocks are fill-in enabled and limited to a certain number of characters. Characters include letters, numbers, spaces and punctuation. 

Note: Additional support materials beyond the allowable support letters, maps and contract bids will NOT be considered.

To receive Forest Restoration and Wildfire Risk Mitigation Grant funds, the applicant or fiscal agent must be registered with the IRS and have a tax identification number. Fiscal agents often take responsibility for financial or other types of transactions for another entity. If the applicant organization will not be the direct fiscal agent for contracting purposes, list the name of the desired fiscal agent. For the purposes of this grant application and the resulting grant agreement, a fiscal agent is a separate entity that agrees to assure that a project will use awarded grant funds to accomplish the activities described in the grant application and the resulting grant agreement. 

Fiscal agents are eligible for grant awards on behalf of the applicant organization in any of the following circumstances:

  1. The fiscal agent must be identified at the time the grant application is submitted. The fiscal agent shall either be the grant applicant or clearly identified as the fiscal agent for the applicant organization in the grant application.
  2. The fiscal agent is also eligible for a grant award.
  3. The fiscal agent takes responsibility not just for financial matters related to the grant, but for all aspects of grant performance and monitoring. This may include financial accounting, performance of the grant accomplishments, performance reporting and financial reporting.

Note:  The fiscal agent must remain unchanged during the full period of the grant.

Capacity Building activities are awarded separately from Fuels & Forest Health projects through this grant program. If the Capacity Building application is associated with a separate Fuels & Forest Health grant application, the applicant must indicate whether the separate Fuels & Forest Health Project application is contingent upon funding of this Capacity Building project by checking “yes.” In other words, if the Capacity Building application were not funded, would the Fuels & Forest Health Project application still be viable if funded?

Colorado Forest AtlasThis section includes a checklist of required elements for each application. If the application does not include all of the items below (i.e. any items checked “No”), the application will be considered ineligible.

Is the project area within the wildland-urban interface (WUI) of Colorado? These directions will help you determine if the project area is located in the WUI:

  1. Launch the Wildfire Risk Reduction Planner application 
  2. On the left menu bar, select the Analyze Project Areas dropdown and click the “MANAGE PROJECT AREAS” button. A “Manage Project Areas” menu box will open on the right side of the window.

Click the “+” button in the bottom right corner of the “Manage Project Areas” menu box to create a new project area. The project area can be created by using the “DRAW SHAPE” tool (point or polygon) or you can upload an existing shapefile or KML of the project area if you have one. Shapefiles must be in a compressed zip folder (.zip) and projected in NAD 1983 UTM Zone 13N coordinate reference system. See the Wildfire Risk Reduction Planner User Manual for more detailed instructions.

Note: When uploading a shapefile, you must press the “SELECT” button and then click on your shapefile in the map (it should turn green when selected) and click “FINISH”.

 
Colorado Forest Atlas Create Project
Colorado Forest Atlas New Project Area
 
  • Once your project area has been created, expand the Explore Map Themes dropdown on the left menu bar. Then select the Landscape Characteristics dropdown, and turn on the Wildland Urban Interface layer. If your project area falls within or touches the Wildland Urban Interface layer, you can answer “YES” on this application questions. You can now turn the layer off.

Is there a map showing the project location with the 2020 Forest Action Plan Composite Priority theme and the Areas of Fewer Economic Resources (Social Vulnerability Index) layer visible? Include a required 1-page map showing the project location with the 2020 Forest Action Plan Composite Theme and Social Vulnerability layer visible.

From the Colorado Forest Atlas homepage, users should launch the Wildfire Risk Reduction Planner application to create a project area, view and print maps of the project area with the Composite Priority theme overlaid and the Social Vulnerability Index layer visible. The Wildfire Risk Reduction Planner application requires that users create an account with the Colorado Forest Atlas, free of charge, before they are able to access the application. Account requests are usually approved within 1 day of submitting the request.

  • Expand the Reference Layers dropdown on the left menu bar on the Colorado Forest Atlas and turn on the required Social Vulnerability Index layer and any other helpful or relevant layers such as Ownership or County Boundaries. If your project area falls within the cross-hatching, that indicates you are eligible for a 25% match.
  • Next, expand the Explore Map Themes dropdown and under the 2020 Forest Action Plan dropdown turn on the Forest Action Plan Composite. Adjust the Theme Transparency in order to see any relevant Reference Layers. Both the Social Vulnerability Index and Forest Action Plan Composite layers should now be visible on your map along with your project area.
  • Scroll down on the left hand menu to the Print Map Enter a map title (i.e. project name) and description (i.e., FRWRM application map), then click on “Print Map.” A white extent box will appear on your screen. Drag and move the box (if necessary) to center your project and then click the check mark inside the circle on the map to indicate the area surrounding the dashed rectangle is the area that should be printed and then click “PRINT”.
  • The application will then create a map. This may take a moment. A small popup window will appear that includes a “download” link to the PDF map. Double check that the map includes all the relevant layers. Save the map as a PDF for use in your application.

2020 Forest Action Plan Composite Theme

The Composite Priority Map prioritizes areas that address combined Themes of Forest Conditions, Living with Wildfire and Watershed Protection.

  • The Forest Conditions Theme Priority Map evaluates threats such as insect and disease disturbance, canopy fire and land use conversion.
  • The Living with Wildfire Theme Priority Map evaluates wildfire risk including the wildland urban interface, drinking water assets, forest and riparian assets combined with burn probabilities.
  • The Watershed Protection Theme Priority Map evaluates improving and maintaining quality of water and infrastructure by looking at infrastructure and predicted post-fire erosion rates.
  • More information on the 2020 Colorado Forest Action Plan and Themes can be found on the Forest Atlas.

Social Vulnerability Index

Projects located partially or fully in areas identified as having Fewer Economic Resources may match 25% in cash and/or in-kind to 75% grant funds for the total project budget. All other project areas must match 50% in cash and/or in-kind to 50% grant funds for the total project budget. When viewing the Social Vulnerability Index, the project areas within the cross-hatching indicate a project is eligible for a 25% match. Additional information on the Social Vulnerability Index and how areas of fewer economic resources are defined can be found on the Wildfire Risk Reduction Planner application in the Forest Atlas.

Additional risk maps, such as a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) map or other Forest Action Plan theme maps such as Watershed Protection or Forest Conditions, may be included and should be clearly labeled.

Directions for users creating a map with the project area and the Composite Priority layer and Social Vulnerability Index visible
  1. Launch the Wildfire Risk Reduction application.
  2. Navigate to the Analyze Project Areas section in the menu on the left and click the “Manage Project Areas” button. A “Manage Project Areas” menu box will open.
  3. Click the “+” button in the bottom right corner of the “Manage Project Areas” menu to create a new project area. The project area can be created by using the drawing tool within the application or you have the option of uploading an existing shapefile or KML file containing the project area if you already have one. See the Wildfire Risk Reduction Planner User Manual for more detailed instructions. This is available on the Colorado Forest Atlas.
  4. After you’ve created the project area, select the project area within the “Manage Project Areas” box to activate this project area.
  5. Expand the Reference Layers and turn on required Social Vulnerability Index layer and any relevant layers such as Ownership or County Boundaries. Project area within the cross-hatching indicates a project is eligible for a 25% match.
  6. Expand the Map Themes icon and make sure the 2020 Forest Action Plan “Forest Action Plan Composite Map” is enabled.  Adjust the Theme Transparency in order to see any relevant Reference Layers.
  7. Scroll down on the left hand side of the page to the “Print Map” function and click on “Print Map.” Click the check mark inside a circle on the map to indicate the area surrounded by the dashed rectangle is the area that should be printed and then click “Print.”
  8. The application may run a few minutes while creating a map. A Composite Priority map with the SVI layer and project area boundaries will be created.

If further assistance is needed, please reference the user manual on the CO Forest Atlas support page or contact us.

  • Has the applicant made the required contact to either the Colorado Timber Industry Association (CTIA) or the Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) Colorado Wood Utilization and Marketing (CoWood) Program Specialist?

CoWood: Tim Reader, Program Specialist of Utilization & Marketing, (970) 247-5250 or tim.reader@colostate.edu

CTIA: Molly Pitts, Colorado Timber Industry Association, (928) 521- 9476 or coloradopitts@gmail.com

Please enter the date of any correspondence with CoWood or CTIA.

  • Has the applicant contacted forest products or wood utilization businesses or incorporated wood utilization as required? All applicants are required to reach out to wood utilization businesses unless the applicant is utilizing all woody materials.
  • Is there a required plan for utilizing forest products/woody materials generated by the project?

If utilization is not a viable option, applicants must describe what will occur to materials generated from the project. When the applicant utilizes materials, the value and products should be clearly articulated in Sections F. Total Project Budget, G. Budget Narrative and K. Forest Product Utilization of the application.

  • Were county officials consulted for this project? Acceptable county officials may be county commissioners, representatives from the sheriff’s office, county forester or forestry staff or county wildfire coordinators. Attach a required letter of support from a county official.
  • Is there a formal commitment for matching funds? Matching funds confirmation can be communicated through letters of support.
  • By checking this box, the applicant indicates that the contents of the application are accurate to the best of their knowledge and agrees to all contracting requirements including reporting and monitoring requirements described in the Request for Applications.

Minimum required application materials

  1. Completed pdf application with eligibility items checked ‘yes’
  2. Project location map displaying the boundary of the project area on the Composite Priority Map of the 2020 Forest Action Plan and the Social Vulnerability Index
  3. Letter of support from a county official

This section is a summary of project details.

  • Provide the estimated number of homes and critical infrastructure elements that will be affected by this project or future projects using equipment purchases (if applicable).
  • Provide an estimate of acres for area where project planning will occur. This can be measured using the measure tool in the Colorado Forest Atlas Wildfire Risk Reduction Planner. For example, if a CWPP is being developed or updated, estimate the acres within the CWPP boundary area.
  • Provide an estimated number of acres to be treated per year using the purchases (if applicable). Areas that are inoperable, inaccessible, or retained as untreated “reserves” should not be counted toward planned treated acres.
  • Provide an estimated number of acres on federal lands that are included in the project (if applicable). Projects may include federal lands as long as the project maintains continuity (within 1-mile) across a landscape including federal lands and the total number of federal acres is less than the combined total of non-federal acres.
  • Provide the estimated cost per acre for projects using equipment purchase(s).
  • Are the planned project(s) identified through a community-based collaborative process such as a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP), Critical Watershed Wildfire Protection Plan or similar? If yes, please list the plan name(s).
  • List the year that the CWPP or similar plan was complete or revised.
  • Will this or future projects purchase(s) involve an accredited Colorado Youth Conservation or Veterans Corps organization? Type yes or no. Include a description of organization involvement in sections Project Objectives and L. Partners and Supporters.
  • Will this project or future projects purchase(s) result in protection of water supplies? Type yes or no. Sections Project Objectives and H. Project Area Description and Current Conditions should address how the project will protect water supplies such as water quality, water quantity and/or associated infrastructure. Include the proximity to water source(s) and/or infrastructure, the significance of water supply/infrastructure and impact to communities.
  • In the instance of the project being partially funded, is the project still viable with reduced outcomes (i.e., is the project scalable)? Type yes or no and briefly describe scalability.
  • Provide a brief overall summary description of the project. (500 character maximum)

Briefly describe the project objectives. Clearly describe how the project goals align with the specific goals of the Colorado State Forest Action Plan* and specific Community Wildfire Protection Plan or similar plan goals and objectives (if applicable).

* The 2020 Colorado State Forest Action Plan is required by the 2008 Farm Bill to help guide where the CSFS directs resources to and is available in the Forest Action Plan application on the Forest Atlas.

Describe any local measures that reduce wildfire risk to people, property and infrastructure that the communities have adopted or plan to adopt.

Examples of adoption of local measures:

 

  • Existing Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPPs) or similar plans (current or revised plans less than 5 years old would receive greater preference)
  • Adoption of, or plans to adopt, county or local building codes for wildfire mitigation
  • Wildfire Mitigation Overlay Zoning (if existing would receive higher preference)
  • Participation in Firewise USA® program
  • Demonstrated ongoing citizen outreach and education about wildfire risk
  • Hazard mitigation planning
  • Forest management planning and implementation
  • Existing slash/mulch collection or chipping programs

This section is for matching share only. DO NOT show grant-requested funds in this table.

Matching contributions must be either 50% of the total project cost (grant and match) or 25% of the total project cost (grant and match) if located in an area of fewer economic resources (cross-hatching within the Social Vulnerability Index layer). 

To learn more about areas defined as having fewer economic resources and the resulting Social Vulnerability Index please review report and data layer in the Wildfire Risk Reduction Planner application located on the Forest Atlas

For projects located in areas outside of areas of fewer economic resources (outside cross-hatching area within the Social Vulnerability Index layer), applicants must demonstrate an ability to match requested grant funds for a minimum of a 1:1, or dollar-for-dollar, grant to match ratio. For example, if the total project budget is $100,000 the minimum match would be $50,000 and the grant funding request would be $50,000 (50%).

Proposed projects located within areas of fewer economic resources (cross-hatching in Social Vulnerability Index layer) are required to match the requested grant funds for a minimum of 3:1, grant to match ratio. For example, if the total project budget is $100,000, the minimum match would be $25,000 (25%)

Providing match beyond the minimum requirement is allowed and will result in additional scoring preference for projects that are located outside of fewer economic resource areas (outside cross-hatching in the Social Vulnerability Index layer). Because of this preference, successful applicants that propose additional match must provide the proposed match ratio. For example, if an applicant proposes a $250,000 project with a grant request of $100,000 (40%) and proposed match of $150,000 (60%), the award will reflect the proposed match and the identified $150,000 (60%) match must be provided in order to receive full grant reimbursement.

All matching funds, but specifically in-kind match, must be clearly quantified and justified in Section G. Budget Narrative of the grant application. Applications will be disqualified if sufficient match is not identified.

Contributors
Specify the name of each match contributor and the dollar amount of each contribution. Spell out all acronyms in Section G. Budget Narrative

Cash match (dollars)
Cash match is defined as direct funds made available to the project applicant (or their fiscal agent) for use in achieving work through the proposed project. Cash match could include cash on hand, commitments from lending institutions or contributions from landowners with a signed letter indicating their commitment.

In-kind match
In-kind match includes donated supplies, equipment, staff time or volunteer time/sweat equity directly related to the project. Donated time will be accounted for using current volunteer labor rates of $30.31/hour for 2022.

This section should reflect the entire budget for the proposed project. The grant share column should reflect the state grant funds being requested in this application. The match columns should carry over information from Section E. Matching Contributions of the application. Please ensure that total budget numbers are calculated correctly. All listed expenses should be described in detail in Section G. Budget Narrative

Personnel/Labor
Include expenses directed toward staff time or labor. Grant administration activities such as compiling paperwork for reimbursements and reports cannot be included as part of the grant share, but is considered a cash match. Sweat equity (such as homeowner or volunteer labor) cannot be included as part of the grant share or cash match, but is considered an in-kind match at the volunteer hourly rate of $30.31 per individual.

Supplies/Materials
Include expenses for supplies or rental equipment used to complete project activities.

Contractual Services
Include expenses that will be contracted out to a third-party.

Equipment
Include anticipated expenses incurred on the direct purchase of equipment.

Indirect Costs
Include a wide variety of items not specifically broken out in the budget known as facilities and administrative costs such as costs for utilities, telephone, copying, accounts payable, payroll, purchasing agent’s time and routine administrative services.  Indirect costs paid by the grant may not exceed 10% of the grant total.  Additional indirect costs (beyond 10%) may be used as match but must be documented with an established rate.

Anticipated project revenue
List anticipated cost offsets or revenues generated from the utilization of forest products or woody biomass. Any revenue generated by the project must be explained clearly in the budget narrative and be factored into the grant request.  For example, if the cost for treatment is $3,000 per acre but utilization will decrease the cost to $2,500 per acre; show the $500 per acre as revenue, request funding based on the $2,500 per acre and explain the reasoning in Section G. Budget Narrative

Describe the budget line items listed in Sections E. Matching Contributions and F. Total Project Budget. Clearly explain how specific project costs were estimated. For example, equipment costs should be supported by bids, known costs from recent research or other means. Also explain per-hour labor rates. Describe the role of each entity involved in project implementation and the nature of in-kind contributions. Clearly explain any anticipated project revenue or cost-savings, how revenue is factored into the grant request, intended use of any revenue generated and how it will further the objectives of the program. For example, will the revenue allow more acres to be treated? Describe any opportunity to leverage grant funds with other funding sources. Be as specific as possible when explaining how the funds will be allocated. Attach bids or contract estimates from industry if applicable.

Describe the area(s) and current conditions of locations where planning efforts, capacity building and/or projects using equipment purchase(s) will take place. The project area description should include geographical or legal description, forest type, land ownership breakdown (including acres) and the communities in which projects will take place including population, number of homes and structures, utilities and other values at risk. Project locations should be focused on specific areas and not too broad in scope. For example, county-wide descriptions and maps are too broad.

Discuss the general current forest conditions, such as species composition, tree density, health, etc. Address how future projects identified in planning efforts or utilizing purchase(s) will reduce hazardous fuels and/or improve forest condition and to what extent.

Attach a detailed and clear 1-page map that indicates specific planned treatment areas and displays the Social Vulnerability Index from the Colorado Forest Atlas Wildfire Risk Reduction Planner

Describe how increased staffing, community and partner engagement, prioritization and planning efforts, and/or requested purchase of equipment will enhance local capacity to implement and maintain hazardous fuels reduction, slash disposal and related wildfire mitigation or restoration activities.

Planning efforts should include specific and measurable activities, such as the number of stakeholder outreach and engagements, the target audience and expected outcomes, such as development, mapping and prioritization of fuels reduction projects.

                                        

Proposals to support staffing should describe the position(s) and responsibilities and how efforts will support long-term capacity for planning and implementation of fuels and forest restoration activities.

Projects that include purchases of equipment should describe any related training and safety measures to address safe use of purchase(s). If possible, quantify the annual anticipated use of equipment. 

Applicants may be required to submit a more detailed description prior to a grant award from the CSFS.

Explain the strategic nature of any planning areas or planned projects that will use equipment purchase(s). Identify if the proposed projects or planning areas are adjacent to or in close proximity to other planned or previously treated forest areas on state, municipal, private or federal lands. Explain whether the projects will be implemented across land-ownership boundaries, are within a priority area identified in a completed Community Wildfire Protection Plan or FEMA Hazard Mitigation Plan, and/or are part of a larger landscape-scale treatment effort. Describe the benefits the project will have to the respective community or residents. Explain how the proposed project will serve as a catalyst for future forest management projects.

Describe plans for utilizing forest products/woody material from planned project sites or incorporating utilization into planning and project development efforts. Name the specific product(s) if applicable. Visit Colorado Wood Utilization and Marketing (CoWood) and/or Colorado Timber Industry Association (CTIA) for further information on wood utilization. Contact CoWood representative Tim Reader at (970) 247-5250 or tim.reader@colostate.edu or CTIA representative Molly Pitts, at (928) 521-9476 or coloradopitts@gmail.com for information on incorporating wood utilization into projects. List the names and dates of communications with any businesses that have been contacted regarding wood utilization. If any partnerships with industry are planned, provide those details also. Attach current bids or contract estimates from industry (if applicable).

Describe coordination that will occur with participating groups/organizations and include partner contributions to the project. Specify conversations with county officials, including names, dates and locations, and describe how an accredited Colorado Youth Conservation or Veteran Corps organization, if any, will be included in the project. Include letters of support from relevant organizations as attachments along with formal commitments from financial institutions, landowners and/or industry.

Provide a timeline for the project including project beginning and end dates as well as project milestones with specific targets for completion.  All projects funded in this cycle must be completed by March 31, 2027.

Explain how the proposed project will be sustained over time to maintain and/or enhance capacity. 

Projects that include planning and staffing should describe how plans will be used over time and how position(s) will be supported beyond the life of the grant. If the project includes project identification and prescription development, describe the commitment to implement projects after completion of grant.

If equipment purchases are requested, describe how equipment will be cared for and used beyond the life of the project. The expectation is that equipment will be used and maintained by the awardee for a minimum of five years following the grant. Clearly address who will maintain purchase(s), what will be done and how, when this will be accomplished and how often, etc.

  1. Project Relation to Forest Action Plan and Local Actions10 pts
    (Section D)
    Are the objectives of the project clearly defined and do project goals align with specific goals in the Colorado State Forest Action Plan? Does the project fit into the goals of a specific Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) or other similar collaborative plan?

  2. Budget – 10 pts
    (Sections E, F & G)
    Review both the budget breakdown and the accompanying narrative. Are expenditures clear, and have utilization revenues been considered and explained? Do costs seem reasonable and/or justified for the proposed work? Does the budget provide effective leverage for other funds or in-kind contributions?

  3. Project Area Description and Current Conditions – 10 pts
    (Section H)
    How well are potential project areas defined? Consider any maps included: 2020 Colorado Forest Action Plan Composite Priority map, other Forest Action Plan theme maps, CWPP maps, etc. Do the maps align, and what priority value are the projects located? Are the projects likely to be effective in reducing risk to identified values?

  4. Capacity Building – 10 pts
    (Section I)
    Has the applicant been persuasive and provided details about how the project activities will lead to increased capacity and future on-the-ground actions? If equipment is being purchased, has the applicant addressed long-term use of the equipment? Are there specific and measurable activities described?

  5. Strategic Value of Project – 5 pts
    (Section J)
    How do planned projects fit into the overall landscape? Are project areas adjacent to, or in close proximity to, other planned or previously treated areas? Are federal treatment areas applicable? Will the projects achieve results at a meaningful scale or contribute to future forest management treatments?

  6. Forest Product Utilization – 5 pts
    (Section K)
    Has the applicant made an effort to include wood utilization and do utilization plans appear to maximize the possibilities? Has the applicant corresponded with any wood products businesses? Are details provided?

  7. Partners and Supporters – 5 pts
    (Section L)
    Does the project maximize the use of partners and supporters? Are partner contributions clearly articulated? Review letters of support including those from the county level (required).

  8. Timeline – 5 pts
    (Section M)
    Is the timeline organized with clearly defined beginning and end dates, project milestones and specific targets completed at specific times? Does the proposed timeline seem achievable?

  9. Maintenance /Sustainability – 5 pts
    (Section N)
    Is there a clear plan to maintain and sustain efforts to increase capacity? If staffing is included, are the positions supported beyond the life of the grant? For planning projects, does the applicant address how the plan will be used over time? If equipment is purchased, is there an appropriate plan to maintain the purchase(s)? Does the maintenance plan include details of who will accomplish maintenance tasks, how the work will be funded and how often maintenance will occur? Does the maintenance plan cover a minimum of five years for the purchase(s)?

  10. Additional Consideration/Preference – 5 pts

    Additional points will be given to applications that demonstrate:

    • Additional leverage of resources and collaboration
    • Adoption of local measures to reduce wildfire risk
    • Partnership with Youth or Veterans Groups
    • Protection of water supplies