We have been receiving a lot of questions regarding the status of the 2010 Woody Biomass Utilization Grant program. Currently the Forest Products Lab in Madison has received pre-applications and has distributed them to the review team.
The review takes place due the week commencing January 25 2010. Therefore you will not hear if your pre-application has been successful until sometime in February. Please be patient and remember that the time line for the program is in the application materials.
Approximately 200 applications were submitted nationally with around 25 from California. Therefore competition will be tough.
Thanks to the 160+ people that came to our series of grant information workshops across the state. The feedback was very positive and it is likely that we will repeat the workshops in the future to help raise awareness of funding opportunities for those looking to process or add value to woody biomass.
The Forest Service budget for the 2010 Hazardous Fuels Woody Biomass Utilization Grants will be $5m based on the 2010 Interior Appropriations Bill. This is less than the amount anticipated so therefore the competition for the grants will be stronger. Potential applicants should consider how they will compare to others and whether to apply for less than the maximum $350,000 whihc will give the agency better value for money.
Workshops providing information on the 2010 Forest Service Hazardous Fuels Woody Biomass Utilization Grant are planned as follows:
Eureka: October 19, 5.30-7.30pm, Forest Supervisor's Office, Six Rivers National Forest.
Redding: October 20, 4.00-6.00pm, Forest Supervisor's Office, Shasta-Trinity National Forest.
San Bernardino: October 26, 6.00-8.00pm, Forest Supervisor's Office, San Bernardino National Forest.
The workshops are free but we appreciate it if you can register in advance. Registration information for the workshops is here: http://groups.ucanr.org/WoodyBiomass/Workshops
Based on demand there may be another workshop in Nevada City - watch this space for further details.
The program is run by the USDA Forst Service State and Private Forestry Technology Marketing Unit (TMU). All materials are on the TMU website (righthand column of website).
The national program is intended to help improve forest restoration by using and creating markets for small-diameter material and low-valued trees removed from hazardous fuel reduction and forest health activities. These funds are targeted to help communities, entrepreneurs, and others turn residues from hazardous fuel reduction and forest health projects into marketable forest products and/or energy products.
In the past successful grant applicants have typically purchased either harvesting or processing equipment to add value to woody biomass. Check out the 2009 projects list and map to get an idea of successful projects.
There are a number of key changes from previous years:
- Funding amount: potentially up to $10m available – not guaranteed [up from $4m in previous years]
- Individual projects: $50,000 (min)-$350,000 (max) [up from $250,000 max previously]
- Allocation of funds: 50% of funds will target high priority National Forests. The other 50% will target low priority National Forests and other eligible forests [previously targeted National Forests only].
- Pre-application deadline November 20th 2009
- Full application deadline April 2nd 2010
We will post further information here as necesssary. Look out for some grant workshops soon.