$10 Million Available for Forest Conservation from CAL FIRE

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) is announcing up to $10 million in funding for Forest Legacy Program Grants to conserve and protect environmentally important privately-owned forestland. The solicitation for these grants is two-part:

  • First, a pre-application must be submitted, which will be ranked and scored
  • Second, successful pre-applicants will be invited to complete a full application that will be considered for funding

The pre-application is due April 16, 2024. Invitations to complete a full application will be made by May 7, 2024, with the full application period open until June 7, 2024. A field visit by CAL FIRE staff to the potential project properties is required.


What is the purpose of the Forest Legacy Program?

The purpose of the Forest Legacy Program is to protect environmentally important forest land threatened with being converted to non-forest uses. Protection of California’s forests through this program ensures they continue to provide benefits such as sustainable timber production, wildlife habitat, recreation opportunities, watershed protection and open spaces. Intact forests also contribute significantly to the storage and sequestration of carbon. Under this competitive grant program, CAL FIRE purchases or accepts donations of conservation easements or fee titles of productive forest lands to encourage their long-term conservation. 


Who is eligible to apply?

Eligible properties include those with working forest and rangelands that are managed for the production of forest products and where traditional forest uses are maintained. Landowners who wish to participate may sell or transfer particular rights, such as the right to develop the property or to allow public access, while retaining ownership of the property and the right to use it in any way consistent with the terms of the easement and management plan.


What are the project requirements?

Priority is given to lands that can be effectively protected and managed and that have important scenic, recreational, timber, riparian, fish and wildlife, threatened and endangered species, and other cultural and environmental values. CAL FIRE regularly partners with other funding agencies to select high value landscapes for conservation easement projects.

All projects are evaluated on four main characteristics:

  1. Importance – Does the land provide important economic, habitat, watershed, water supply, recreational, scenic, historical/cultural benefits?
  2. Strategic Value – How does the property relate strategically to other properties adjacent or in close proximity to it?
  3. Threat – How is the property threatened by development or conversion to other uses?
  4. Readiness – To what degree has due diligence been completed?

What costs are involved?

Project costs covered by the Forest Legacy Program includes purchase of interests in lands, appraisals, land surveys, closing costs, establishing baseline information, title work, purchase of title insurance, conservation easement drafting, and other real estate transaction expenses. Also included are funds spent in order to facilitate donations of land, to a qualified and willing entity, for Forest Legacy Program purposes.

The Full Grant Guideline can be found here.

For more information on this grant or how to apply with Morrison’s assistance, please contact the Morrison Grants Team by email at grants@morrisonco.net or call us at 530-893-4764.


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