$1 Billion Available for Urban and Community Forestry

The Forest Service has announced that it is making up to $1 billion available in Inflation Reduction Act funding for Urban and Community Forestry competitive grants. These grants will fund investments that increase equitable access to urban tree canopy and associated human health, environmental and economic benefits in disadvantaged communities; broaden community engagement in local urban forest planning; and improve community and urban forest resilience to climate change, pests and storm events through best management and maintenance practices.

Grants will range from $100,000 to $50 million. Applications are due through Grants.gov no later than June 1, 2023.

What are the funding priorities?

Urban and Community Forestry (UCF) is a covered program under USDA’s Justice40 Initiative established through Executive Order 13985. To advance the mission of Justice40, proposals that deliver 40 percent of the benefits of IRA investments through established partnerships with local organizations working to support disadvantaged communities experiencing low tree canopy and environmental justice will receive priority consideration.

USDA is a partner on the Interagency Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Promoting Equitable Access to Nature in Nature-Deprived Communities, which seeks to reduce the number of people without access to parks and nature in their communities. The America the Beautiful Initiative supports the prioritization of locally led conservation and park projects in communities that disproportionately lack access to nature and its benefits

Who is eligible to apply?

Entities eligible to apply for funding under this Notice of Funding Opportunity include:

  • State government entity
  • Local government entity
  • Agency or governmental entity of the District of Columbia
  • Agency or governmental entity of an insular area (as defined in section 1404 of the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 (7 U.S.C. 3103)
  • Federally Recognized Tribes, Alaska Native Corporations/villages, and Tribal organizations as defined in 25 USC 5304 (l) and operating within the United States, or its territories
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Public and State-controlled institutions of higher education
  • Community Based Organization

What lands are eligible for funding?

Eligible applicants may apply for funding for a project to be conducted on non-Federal lands such as:

  • State and local government,
  • Homeowner associations,
  • Private lands, and
  • Tribal/Alaska native corporation (includes Trust lands)
  • Lands owned or administered by the federal government are not eligible for this funding opportunity except for lands held in trust for Native American Tribes and individuals (hereinafter Trust lands).

What are eligible funding use?

Examples of eligible activities include projects that:

  1. Foster individuals, groups, and organizations in the communities served to become engaged participants in urban forest planning, planting, and management, especially those in disadvantaged communities that do not have adequate resources to install or maintain green infrastructure or are underrepresented.
  2. Protect, enhance, and expand equitable urban tree canopy cover to maximize community access to human health, social, ecological, and economic benefits particularly in disadvantaged and nature-deprived communities experiencing low tree canopy cover, extreme heat and frequent flooding. Improve and increase access to parks and nature in communities.
  3. Encourage long-term urban forest planning, assessment, and management.
  4. Encourage proactive and systematic maintenance and monitoring of urban trees and forested natural areas to improve forest health; assess risk to forests from pests, disease, and adverse climate impacts; and formulate adaptive management strategies to improve forest resilience.
  5. Advance the use of tree and forest inventories, monitoring, and assessment tools in priority areas, including monitoring and measurement of extreme heat.
  6. Improve preparation for severe storms and the recovery of damaged or deteriorated landscapes to more healthy and resilient conditions.
  7. Protect, enhance and increase access to watersheds in urban and developing areas with a focus on conserving and managing forest patches, and green stormwater infrastructure.
  8. Provide paid training experiences for urban forestry crews to establish and maintain urban forests into the future. Support youth employment opportunities, including workforce development and training for the creation and maintenance of green jobs and economic opportunities for planning, planting, and sustainably maintaining trees and forests, including training and retaining urban arborists, and producing and using urban forest products.
  9. Develop paid on-the-job training opportunities, including pre-apprenticeships and apprenticeships, to expand workforce development pathways for green careers in urban and community forestry.
  10. Address exotic invasive pest species that adversely impact urban forests.
  11. Work across jurisdictional boundaries, leveraging ideas and resources to increase capacity to provide equitable access to benefits across the larger landscape and at a greater geographic scale.
  12. Aid in planning, goal setting, and skill sharing with other professions such as urban planners, engineers, educators, recreational and public health officials.

Examples of project activities that are NOT eligible for funding under Urban and Community Forestry Authorities include:

  1. Research: Basic research as defined in 2CFR 422.1, “Systematic study directed toward fuller knowledge or understanding of the fundamental aspects of phenomena and of observable facts without specific applications towards processes or products in mind.” Note: Technical transfer, education, and outreach activities associated with applying research can be included in the application.
  2. Construction and capital improvements. Examples of construction include facilities, infrastructure, roads, new buildings, culverts, and boardwalks.
  3. Land acquisition (conservation easement and fee simple) projects.
  4. Cost-share, reimbursement, and other types of payment provided directly to private landowners. However, Urban and Community Forestry funding (and match) may be used to perform work on private lands; for example, an eligible entity could pay for trees to be planted on private lands with permission of the landowner.
  5. Small business start-up funding.
  6. Equipment purchases are rarely approved and will be reviewed prior to grant award. Equipment rental should be considered as an alternative. Equipment is defined as an article of nonexpendable, tangible personal property having a useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more per unit.

What are the cost sharing or match requirements?

All federal grant funds are to be matched at least equally (dollar for dollar) with non-federal match which may include allowable and allocable in-kind contributions (i.e., personnel salary, fringe, and indirect costs; services, materials, supplies, equipment donations; and volunteer assistance), and private and public (non-federal) monetary contributions. Cash match is from the applicant’s budget, such as personnel salary, fringe benefits, travel, equipment, and supplies, or cash provided by another party. The source of the cash match cannot be derived from another Federal award or grant. The required match may be waived at the discretion of the Secretary of USDA for proposals that deliver 100 percent of the funding/program benefits to disadvantaged communities.

The full Notice of Funding Opportunity can be found here

For more information on this program 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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