Coalitions and Collaboratives, Inc. (COCO), a Colorado-based non-profit, has started the Action and Implementation for Mitigation (AIM) Program to help accelerate fire adapted community concepts and reduce the risk from wildfire in the wildland-urban interface (WUI) across the United States. By increasing capacity and on-the-ground work, the program will increase community resilience, restore fire adapted ecosystems and create safer conditions for firefighters and communities.
AIM is a unique funding opportunity. At COCO, we understand that funding is only part of the picture. If awarded funding, awardees join a partnership of fellow fire and fuel-reduction practitioners. COCO recognizes that different groups are in different places in terms of partners and mentors and will provide training, mentorship and guidance to awardees throughout the term of their grant agreement. If you anticipate you will need some mentorship or guidance, please build time into your proposal to accommodate that.
This funding is available for a wide variety of capacity building activities, including personnel, equipment, planning efforts and wildfire risk reduction work (on non-federal lands only). COCO will be looking to fund a variety of different types of projects across the country. Applicants must demonstrate how their proposal fits into the bigger community wildfire picture, including coordination with federal partners on nearby public lands. Applicants must contribute a 100% match, (cash or in-kind match is eligible). Award funding may range from $10,000 – $50,000. Funding will be provided on a reimbursement basis.
If you know of an eligible organization interested in this opportunity, please share.
The AIM Program is co-sponsored by the USDA Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters.
In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.)
To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
Who Is Eligible?
The organization must have a nonprofit (501c3) status or have a nonprofit or local government fiscal sponsor that may include:
- Conservation District
- Regional and local collaborative efforts
- Fire Safe Councils and/or Wildfire Councils
- Non-profit groups that promote hazardous forest fuel reduction treatment projects in partnership with local, state or private entities
- Fire departments
- City or county government
- Communities at high risk to wildfire in proximity to public lands
- Organizations or community groups currently conducting or planning pre-fire mitigation activities aimed at protecting their communities, watersheds and ecosystems
- Groups seeking mentorship and/or funding to increase local capacity and conduct pre-fire mitigation/risk reduction activities
- Organizations that are willing to collaboratively work with COCO staff to develop their mitigation projects and proposal for funding
- Organizations that are willing to share their lessons, challenges and successes with national, state and/or local Fire Adapted Communities Networks
- Organizations that can provide match in the form of cash or in-kind services (including volunteer hours)
- Organizations must comply with all grant reporting requirements and meet project completion milestones and deadlines
Due to limited funding availability Homeowner and Property Owner Associations (HOA/POA), Metro Districts and other similar homeowner groups are not eligible to apply.
Award Program Criteria
AIM Project proposals must fit within one or more of the following categories. There are example projects listed under each category. AIM funding is intended to help you increase local capacity including activities that will lead to more on-the-ground work. The proposal requires applicants to provide details on how the project will increase mitigation activities from where they are today, and will be expected to report actual mitigation outcomes within the next two years.
COCO recognizes that it is difficult, if not impossible, to complete projects without adequate staffing, whether that be someone to run incentive programs, motivate residents, conduct wildfire risk assessments, or lay out projects. If your proposal is seeking funding for a staff position, please be prepared to articulate how that position will increase your capacity for accomplishing on-the-ground work in the near future, and your plans to sustain that position over time. Examples of personnel projects are as follows:
- Developing training programs for homeowners, fire department personnel specific to mitigation activities (chainsaw training, Mitigation 101, prescribed fire or other pertinent training)
- Developing a mitigation collaborative – paying for facilitators, staff, etc.
- Hiring a WUI Mitigation Coordinator or fuels/forestry staff to increase on-the- ground mitigation activities
- Hiring staff to develop a chipping or slash-disposal program
- Implementation of cross-jurisdictional prescribed fire — for example, hiring of a burn boss to complete burning
Often times the ability to own your own equipment may be a huge boost to a program. If seeking funding for equipment funding be prepared to discuss why it is critical to own a piece of equipment rather than rent or contract for your equipment; also discuss your capacity to maintain it, and what the structure of your program will be. Examples of equipment projects are as follows:
- The purchase of a chipper, forestry equipment or other equipment needed for use during implementation of hazardous fuels reduction treatments, including removal and utilization of slash or other woody biomass (i.e. a wood chipper to be made available to community)
- Equipment for the establishment and operation of neighborhood slash sites
Reduction of Hazardous Fuels
Successful project applicants shall facilitate and implement strategic fuels treatment at a meaningful scale in or adjacent to the zones at high risk to wildfire near public lands. Projects should be designed to limit the potential risk to life, property, infrastructure, water supplies, and other high-valued assets as a result of wildfire. Effective fuels mitigation treatments may be implemented across jurisdictional boundaries, on non-federal land. Successful applicants should consider all elements required to implement treatments on the ground, which includes acquiring necessary permits and consultations. Examples of reduction of hazardous fuels projects are as follows:
- Creating defensible space around homes and structures, based on approved defensible space guidelines
- Reducing fuels beyond defensible space, especially designed to protect water supplies and/or reduce fire intensity
- Removal of useable materials with specific utilization plans; removal of slash including chipping, mulching, grinding, or mechanical removal
- Constructing fuel breaks, based on approved guidelines
- Pile burning projects
COCO recognizes how valuable planning efforts, like Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPPs) and Community Wildfire Risk Assessments, can be, especially when developed in a collaborative manner with a wide array of stakeholders and partners. Applicants with these types of projects should be prepared to discuss their capacity to facilitate such planning efforts, how the effort fits into their overall program of work, and how the planning effort will help to advance their on-the-ground wildfire mitigation efforts. Examples of planning effort projects are as follows:
- Developing or updating Community Wildfire Protection Plans or Community Wildfire Risk Assessments that identify wildfire risk and make specific recommendations on ways to increase capacity, improve wildfire preparedness and define treatment areas
Examples of Projects that DO NOT qualify for this Grant Program:
- Suppression programs or projects (i.e. purchase of fire department equipment and/or fire training)
- Construction of permanent infrastructure (i.e. buildings or road construction)
- Grant writing
- Local, state or federal policy development or advocacy
- Projects undertaken by and benefiting only an individual homeowner
The AIM grant proposal outlines specific details in regards to:
- coordinating with local, state and federal partners
- geography relevant to federal land
- matching funds
- reporting/monitoring requirements
Please refer to the Request For Proposal for more details.
Questions about Matching Funds and Reporting can sent to Maria Petkash.
Questions about anything else can be sent to Ali Lerch.
|Pre-Proposal Application Release||January 6|
|January 9, 10:00 AM MST|
|Pre-Proposal Application Deadline||February 14, 5:00 PM MST|
|Notification of Advancement|
Within four weeks of application review