USDA awards $5.5M in grants to conserve community forestsdalbert
USDA awards $5.5M in grants to conserve community forests
Tue, 07/19/2022 – 12:09 EDT
Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded $5.5 million in grants for conservation projects on 11 forests from Alaska to North Carolina.
Grants funded through the Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program provide financial assistance to local governments, Tribal governments, and non-profit organizations. Grantees use those funds to acquire and establish community forests to benefit both rural and urban communities, including helping to mitigate extreme heat. All of the grant projects respond to locally driven priorities and support the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal to increase access and conservation of America’s lands and waters.
“We listened to the needs of these communities and are protecting threatened forests and conserving community values, including recreation access and cultural use of forests,” said Forest Service Chief Randy Moore. “Community benefits include economic growth through more active forest management, cleaner water and healthier forests.”
Grant projects include support for the California’s Potter Valley Tribe to acquire 21 acres of land to restore tribal access for traditional ecological and community uses like plant gathering, fishing and ceremonies.
In Alaska, a grant project will protect more than 300 acres of intact coastal forest, salmon streams, trails and animal habitat just minutes from downtown Anchorage. The project supports recreation and traditional uses for residents in the Anchorage metropolitan area, including a significant American Indian and Alaska Native population.
In total, the 11 grant projects will create or add nearly 7,000 acres of community forests for the long-term benefits of the communities they serve.
Since 2012, the program has permanently conserved 27,500 acres through fee-simple purchases and supported 99 community-driven projects across 26 states and territories.