Washington, DC (February 11, 2014) – As part of the recently passed omnibus funding bill, called the Consolidated Appropriations Act for FY 2014 (H.R. 3547), Congress has provided $14 million for a new Landscape Scale Restoration Program. This new program, part of the U.S. Forest Service’s State and Private Forestry budget, creates new opportunities for ACTrees members to apply for urban-forestry project funding from the Forest Service, in addition to the existing Urban and Community Forestry Program.
The Forest Service has been developing this Landscape Scale Restoration Program for several years. It’s part of a major “Redesign” process for State and Private Forestry, the branch of the Forest Service that houses the Urban and Community Forestry Program. The other two Forest Service branches are the National Forest System and Research and Development.
In its FY 2014 budget proposals to Congress, the Forest Service requested $20 million for the new Landscape Scale Restoration to help states and communities work collaboratively across boundaries and on a landscape scale to achieve restoration outcomes.
The new program builds on State Forest Action Plans—another part of the Redesign process—enabling state forestry agencies and partners to target forest landscapes recognized as high priorities for restoration treatments. It also allows local partners to integrate the functions of several current State and Private Forestry programs, including Urban and Community Forestry, Forest Health Management, Forest Stewardship, and State Fire Assistance.
ACTrees members have a great opportunity to pursue funding for urban and community forestry projects that meet the objectives of this new Landscape Scale Restoration Program. In its report accompanying the Consolidated Appropriations Act, Congress expressed support for the new Program and directed the Forest Service “to provide a report on expected performance and accountability within 90 days of enactment of this Act.”
ACTrees staff is working with Forest Service officials at the national level to learn more about the agency’s report to Congress. We will express our interest in and support for the Landscape Scale Restoration Program and urge officials to ensure that urban and community forestry projects receive strong recognition within the Program.
As ACTrees members, please contact Forest Service and state forestry officials with whom you work to express interest in this new program, to inquire and learn more about it, and to ask what you can do to begin developing potential urban and community forestry projects for support through this program.
Text of the Consolidated Appropriations Act—H.R. 3547 (Within the consolidated legislation, look for Division G: Department of Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2014. Then look for Department of Agriculture, Forest Service.)
House report language accompanying H.R. 3547 (For Forest Service language, see page 39 following. For Forest Service budget tables, see page 89 following.)