North Carolina forestry officials are seeking to raise awareness of two financial assistance opportunities available to schools, government entities and not-for-profit organizations through the federal Inflation Reduction Act signed into law last August.
The funding is available in two rounds — one immediate and the other upcoming — through the Urban and Community Forestry Financial Assistance program.
The program supports projects “that support equitable access to trees and the benefits they provide,” according to the North Carolina Forest Service.
Funding is available for:
public schools, colleges and universities
incorporated homeowners’ associations
501(c)(3) not-for-profit organizations
Applications for projects costing at least $100,000 are due to the U.S. Forest Service by June 1. The application period for less costly projects — where assistance will be available through the North Carolina Forest Service — has not been established yet.
This application period likely will open before the end of the year, NCFS Urban Forestry Coordinator Andy Pleninger said.
“Implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act’s forest-related provisions is well under way,” Pleninger said. “Entities and organizations that would like to have large projects considered for assistance can apply now to the U.S. Forest Service or, for smaller projects, wait just a few months to submit applications to the North Carolina Forest Service.”
The assistance program supports projects that help communities as follows:
Urban forestry is the planting, maintenance, care and protection of tree populations in urban settings
In community forestry, the local community plays a significant role in forest management and land use decision-making by themselves with support from government and change agents
Disadvantaged communities (tribal governments, counties and census blocks) that are within designated “distressed” jurisdictions, including many that are in northeastern North Carolina
Alton Perry, director of the Sustainable Forestry and Land Retention Project that partners with the Forest Service, said many communities that can benefit from the funding available through the Inflation Reduction Act are unaware that it exists.
“The assistance available through the IRA to expand sustainable forestry projects and practices can have a tremendously positive impact across our state,” Perry said. “I hope those entities and organizations contemplating steps to advance urban and community forestry will take advantage of this great opportunity.”
Details on the IRA funding through the Urban and Community Forestry program can be found at this link