Forest biomass grants offered for NE Oregon projects

Forest biomass grants offered for NE Oregon projectsHave an idea for using woody biomass from northeastern Oregon forests to produce heat, electricity or fuel? You may be eligible for grant funding from the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) to help with your project. ODF has $60,000 in federal grant funds to award to applicants whose projects would help restore overgrown forest timber stands by putting this excess woody material to work in a cost-effective manner.

Marcus Kauffman, ODF’s biomass resource specialist, said the grant opportunity provides public funds to explore the economic and technical feasibility of new biomass utilization projects.

“We seek to encourage the construction of new biomass heating, co-generation and biomass manufacturing facilities here in the region with these grant dollars,” he said. “There is a clear relationship between fuel buildup in our forests and severe wildfires. Fuels-reduction activities and woody biomass utilization can help break that link.”

Provided to ODF by the U.S. Forest Service, the grant funds can be used by private and public entities to pay for feasibility studies, and the design and engineering of forest biomass projects. Individual awards of as much as $20,000 and up to 75 percent of project costs may be made.

Projects must be located in northeastern Oregon (Union, Baker, Wallowa, Umatilla and Grant counties). The deadline for submitting grant applications is Feb. 1, 2013. Submission must be made online through the Oregon Procurement Information Network (ORPIN), www.orpin.oregon.gov. The grant reference No. is: ODF 2079-12. More information about the grant can also be found at that website.

Technical questions about the grant should be sent to: Marcus Kauffman, mkauffman@odf.state.or.us. Questions about the application process should be sent to: Patricia Morgan, pmorgan@odf.state.or.us.

The grant is one of the nation’s first to demonstrate concrete actions toward a national Cohesive Wildfire Strategy. The strategy aims to:

  • Restore and maintain resilient landscapes
  • Create fire-adapted communities
  • Improve response to wildfire

By fostering stronger markets for woody biomass, Kaufmann said, ODF is hoping to help stretch scarce fuels-reduction dollars and provide additional jobs for rural communities in northeastern Oregon.

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