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, you will be joining a partnership of fellow fire and fuel-reduction practitioners who will not only receive funding but who will also learn together. COCO recognizes that different groups are in different places in terms of partners and mentors. COCO will connect awardees, as appropriate, with the Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network and other strategic partners, to provide training, mentorship and guidance along the way. If your project is awarded you will have the opportunity to participate in the AIM Partnership, to learn from and share with others who also face the challenges associated with wildfire. 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 activities, including capacity building for personnel or equipment, planning efforts, and wildfire risk reduction work (on non-federal lands only), and we expect the competition for funding to be quite high. COCO will be looking to fund a variety of different types of projects across the country. Applicants must show how their project proposal fits into the bigger wildfire preparedness picture, and are encouraged to coordinate with federal partners on nearby public lands projects. Applicants must contribute a 100% match, (cash or in-kind match is eligible) for a 1:1 grant to match ratio. Funding will be provided to a wide array of organizations. Award funding may range from $5,000 – $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?
- Communities that are 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 conduct pre-fire mitigation and 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 their national, state, and/or local Fire Adapted Communities Networks
- Organizations with non-profit status, fire departments, regional and local collaboratives, fire safe councils, etc
- Organizations that can provide a match, in the form of cash or in-kind services (including volunteer hours)
- Organizations that can ensure compliance 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
Project proposals must fit within one or more of the following categories:
I. Project Purpose
A. Capacity Building – Personnel
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.
B. Capacity Building – Equipment
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.
C. 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.
D. Planning Efforts
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 qualifying project elements within the four categories above include:
♦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
♦ Creating defensible space around homes and structures, based on approved defensible space guidelines
♦ Constructing fuel breaks, based on approved 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
♦ Developing Community Wildfire Protection Plans or Community Wildfire Risk Assessments that identify wildfire risk and make specific recommendations on ways to improve wildfire preparedness and define areas in need of treatment
♦ 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
♦ Implementation of cross-jurisdictional prescribed fire — for example, hiring of a burn boss to complete burning
♦ Pile burning projects
These projects are just examples. Please remember that the funding is intended to help you increase activities that will lead to more on-the-ground work. As a funded project, you will be required 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.
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)
♦ Local, state or federal policy development or advocacy
♦ Projects undertaken by and benefiting only an individual homeowner
II. Coordination Efforts
Applicants must coordinate proposed projects with relevant county, state, or federal officials to ensure consistency with county-level wildfire risk reduction planning. The application should identify which officials were consulted, and the outcome of those discussions. Attach to the grant application two letters of support for your project — at least one must be from a local official (BOCC, Emergency Manager or Fire Chief); the other should be from a key partner who understands how the project will benefit your program and move mitigation efforts forward in your area.
III. Geography Relevant to Federal Land (informational)
Applicants must identify if their proposed project will take place in close proximity to, or adjacent to, U.S. Forest Service (USFS) or other public lands projects that are planned and/or previously treated completed with an eye toward protecting the WUI. Maps identifying current, recent, and proposed projects are available through your local USFS/BLM/NPS/Tribal offices. A map showing identified wildfire risk for your project area is also critical. Your local state forest service office or federal land manager may be able to assist you with developing maps if you do not currently have that capability.
IV. Eligible Organizations
The organization must have its nonprofit (501c3) status, or have a nonprofit or local government fiscal sponsor that may include:
♦ 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
V. Matching Funds
All applicants will be required to demonstrate an ability to match 100% of requested grant resources. The match may be in the form of a private or state dollar-for-dollar match or in-kind support for the project. In-kind support must be clearly quantified and documented. In-kind funds include donated supplies, equipment or time. For efficiency, donated time should be accounted for using a $25.00 per hour rate, and must have documentation such as sign in sheets. COCO will assist funded organizations in creating a system to manage this documentation if you do not currently have that capability.
VI. Reporting and Monitoring Requirements
Upon completion of the project, successful applicants must report on project implementation, including:
♦ Number of acres treated
♦ Number of homes/properties treated or protected
♦ Cost per acre to treat
♦ Number of partnerships created or enhanced
♦ Amount of woody material generated
♦ Number of jobs created
♦ Use of any forest products generated
♦ Map of project area
♦ Before and after pictures
♦ How activities or outcomes increased from baseline conditions, i.e. 20% more homeowners or 5% more HOAs engaged, increase in the number of slash sites from 0 to 2 or increase in chipper program participants from 20 to 75, increase in slash chipped from 100 tons to 250 tons, etc.
Awardees will also be asked to share their story or lessons learned.
|Request For Proposal Release||September 3|
|September 10, 10:00 AM MST|
|Proposal Deadline||October 11, 5:00 PM MST|
|Anticipated Award Date||Within four weeks of application review|
How to Apply
THE FALL 2019 APPLICATION PERIOD IS CLOSED.
The fall 2019 Action, Implementation and Mitigation (AIM) Application was available online from September 3 – October 11. Though this year’s AIM fall funding opportunity has passed, another round of funding will be offered in the spring of 2020. Until then, for a deeper dive into the grant, check out the webinar The AIM Team offered on September 10. You can access this informational webinar HERE.