US Forest Service offers $12.5M under Wood Innovations Program

By Erin Voegele | November 17, 2022

The USDA on Nov. 17 announced that the U.S. Forest Service is now accepting applications for $12.5 million in available funds under the Wood Innovations Program. Applications are due Dec. 20.

The agency said the $12.5 million aims to provide financial assistance for owners of facilities that purchase and process byproducts from forest restoration projects including thinning, wildfire resilience activities and habitat management. Owners must identify how their work will use byproducts from areas of high or very high risk of severe wildfire or insect and disease infestation based on the high priority firesheds identified in the Forest Service 10-year Wildfire Crisis Strategy or by using the Wildfire Risk to Communities and National Insect and Disease Risk maps.

An additional $8 million is being offered through the Temporary Bridge Funding Opportunity Program. That funding is available to states and tribes to support the establishment of temporary bridge rental, loan or cost-share programs to protect water resources and reduce water quality degradation during forest-related operations. The funding is to help states and tribes create a program that provides portable skidder bridges, bridge mats or other temporary water crossing structures to loggers and others working in forests areas. These bridges will minimize damage from trucks and other equipment in forested areas, especially sensitive wetlands.

Funding for both programs was made available by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

“We are working to increase economic opportunities for rural and tribal communities adjacent to national forests and grasslands,” said Forest Service Chief Randy Moore. “Our tribal, state and wood processing partners are working in the woods every day to improve forest health and protect water resources. Today’s investments will expand these opportunities and provide much needed financial resources to restore and conserve our forests.”

Additional information is available on the U.S. Forest Service website