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2018 Urban and Community Forestry (U&CF) Grant Program

Grants to Mississippi Nonprofits, Agencies, and Schools
for City and Community-Based Forestry Projects

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Mississippi Forestry Commission (MFC)

Deadline Date:

08/15/18 Postmarked


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Grants of up to $20,000 to Mississippi nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and educational institutions for the development of self-sustaining, long-term community and urban forestry programs. Funding is intended to provide training, planning, and continuing education, demonstration projects, and assistance to local and regional organizations.

Primary emphasis of the U&CF program is to provide technical assistance through state forestry organizations to support U&CF planning, training and continuing education, demonstration projects, and assistance to local and state governments and nonprofit, volunteer organizations in developing viable and continuing U&CF programs. All Federally funded projects shall meet the Congressional authority established and which accomplish the national U&CF program goals, and specific objectives identified in State U&CF Strategic Plans/State Action Plans. Funds are provided for states to sub-grant to participating organizations, to build statewide program development, and for state program institutional capacity.

Federal Program Objectives:

Priority should be given to projects that maximize leveraging of federal funds, target the national U&CF program goals, stimulate U&CF activity and program development, and create involvement of volunteers.

National U&CF Program Goals Include:
1. Mitigate and adapt to climate change
2. Protect and improve air and water quality
3. Conserve energy
4. Reduce the impacts of land use change, fragmentation, and urbanization on forest landscapes
5. Improve community health and well-being
6. Build urban forest resilience and mitigate the impacts of invasive pests and catastrophic events.

Climate Change: State partners are encouraged to further focus program educational and technical assistance and outreach efforts on helping localities improve the resilience of their urban and community forests in response to climate change stresses. Several of the areas where program partners can provide assistance to communities include strategic tree planting and active management of the urban forest to 1) increase carbon sequestration, 2) reduce energy consumption and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, 3) reduce the forest’s susceptibility to insect and disease, 4) improve the forest’s ability to contribute clean water quality and quantity, and 5) generate bio-fuels from urban wood waste products to off-set fossil fuel usage.

Regional U&CF Program Guidance Include:

The focus of activities conducted within this program area should include the following:
1. States are encouraged to conduct larger statewide significant projects.
2. Address urban forestry issues and opportunities in major metropolitan areas.
3. State programs should focus on accomplishment within the 6 national program goal areas.
4. State programs should focus on implementing goals and objectives outlined in their state forest action plans.
5. State programs should also be focused on developing their communities’ capacity to manage urban forest.
6. Tree planting (site specific) demonstration projects are allowable however; the total percentage of funds dedicated to these types of projects must be agreed upon between the states and Regional Office. States must indicate their preferred percentage in their grant narrative.

States must use funds to focus on activities as indicated above. All activities must be consistent with the U&CF program authority and standards.

State Program Objectives:

The following Priority Issues and Strategies will be specifically emphasized to help meet Mississippi Urban and Community Forest Program objectives:

Priority Issue: Forest Sustainability
-Strategy 1.6 – Encourage land use planning.

Priority Issue: Resource Markets
-Strategy 2.3 – Evaluate opportunities for non-traditional markets and ecosystem services.

Priority Issue: Forest Health
-Strategy 4.4 - Invasive species awareness and management

Priority Issue: Stewardship Education – All Strategies
-Strategies include creating and utilizing partnerships, establishing funding and final delivery of urban and community forest management throughout the state and with extra emphasis in priority areas identified in the Forest Action Plan.

Priority Issue: Wildfire Fuel Reduction
-Strategy 6.4 – Identify high fire risk areas.

Priority Issue: Climate Change –
-Strategy 7.4 – Conserve/Protect urban carbon stores

Priority Issue: Wildlife
-Strategy 8.4 Land use practices
-Strategy 8.7 Encourage conservation of natural habitats.

Current Mississippi Urban and Community Forest Program objectives are listed below:

1. Increase awareness of the importance of trees and urban forest management in the urban Current Mississippi Urban and Community Forest Program objectives are listed environment.
2. Work to ensure a healthy urban environment and livable cities in Mississippi through urban forest management.
3. Increase technical expertise in urban and community forestry practices and provide education and training opportunities to urban forest managers, tree care providers, consultants, foresters, and volunteers on urban and community forest management and proper tree care.
4. Develop self-sustaining urban and community forestry programs at the local and state levels.
5. Encourage partnerships in support of urban and community forestry in Mississippi.
6. Seek funding opportunities for implementing urban and community forestry programs in Mississippi.

An important goal of Mississippi’s Urban and Community Forestry Program is to inspire or enhance local or statewide urban and community forestry programs with emphasis on increasing local capacity, volunteer involvement, planning, training and continuing education. Projects that demonstrate use of funding to provide the largest impact will receive priority. Grantees are encouraged to do projects of state-wide significance such as training, publications, or research that could be used to provide information on a state- wide basis. First-time municipal applicants and municipalities seeking Tree City USA status are also given priority for funding. Tree planting and demonstration projects will have the lowest priority for funding.

The Mississippi Forestry Commission maintains sole discretion to fund a project of merit.

Eligible Projects:

Eligible Projects must meet Federal and State Program Objectives. Projects must be consistent with the comprehensive plan of the city or county where the project will take place. The Urban and Community Forestry Grant Program is intended to support new initiatives, programs, projects, staff positions or activities not currently being funded through other sources. The Urban and Community Forestry Grant Program is not intended for the purpose of beautification tree plantings. A maximum of 15% of the Federal funds awarded (Urban and Community Forestry Grant Program dollars) is allowable for plant material and tree planting.

Projects will benefit from having clearly stated goals, well-thought-out budgets, and well planned scheduling that utilizes volunteers, creates local partnerships, promotes development of local community forestry programs, has a long-term focus and benefits and/or has an educational or technology transfer component. The program is designed to support new and innovative initiatives or expand existing programs that would not occur without grant funds. It is not intended to substitute for current funding levels. Some project examples, which support the program’s objectives, are offered as a guide below.

Examples of Eligible Projects:

The following list includes examples of projects that can be funded. Tree planting projects related to the proposal are an allowable expense for up to 15% of the federal funds.

Urban & Community Forestry Program Development:

Grant funding may assist with:
-Creation and training of a Tree Board
-Development of a Tree Ordinance or Tree Conservation/Preservation Ordinance
-Conducting a Hazard Tree Evaluation
-Holding a Public Meeting on the Benefits of Trees

Urban & Community Forestry Program Improvement:

To encourage improved management of a community’s forest. Priority will be given to projects that enhance a local government’s ability to maintain a comprehensive urban management program. Grant funding may assist with:

A. Professional Staffing* – Full or part- time employment of an urban forestry professional to assist in community forestry program establishment, development and improvement. A draft position description and qualifications must be submitted with the application.

Examples include, but are not limited to:
a. Staffing of certified arborists, consulting foresters or landscape architects
b. Educational seminars and workshops for industry professionals
c. Forming student chapters of professional organizations
d. Internships

*Organizations seeking funding for the first time for professional staff positions will be eligible for a grant up to $20,000. Organizations seeking funding for a second time for professional staff positions will be considered. Second-year funds will generally be limited to awards of $10,000, based on funding availability. All funding for staff positions is expected to be used as seed monies to help establish or build local program capacity. Applicants are strongly encouraged to identify and secure other future sources of funding to maintain staff positions.

B. Conducting a Tree Inventory and Analysis – Projects designed to inventory public trees on streets, parks, school campuses, etc. The applicant must demonstrate that the inventory will be tied to its tree maintenance activities as well as plans for future tree planting. A management plan should accompany or be developed after an inventory. The purchase of inventory software and field data recorders is allowed using grant funds; however the purchase of a desktop or laptop computer may not.

C. Conducting a Resource Assessment - The assessment of local natural resources either on public or private properties (includes parks, rights-of-way, cemeteries, residential & commercial areas and college campuses). A resource assessment will result in a document or database containing specific, standardized information on groups of trees, other natural resources, and other features (such as the built environment) in the community. For example:

-A satellite imagery or aerial photography study that documents community tree cover and identifies current vegetative cover types and land uses. The study may include an analysis of the change in tree cover over time.
-A GIS study that identifies sensitive land areas (forested areas, floodplains, steep slopes, problem soils, etc.) and overlays parcels, landownership, zoning district, and utility and street rights-of-way.
-An i-Tree Eco analysis, or similar type of analysis, using randomly located plots to model the environmental services provided by a community’s forest.
-A survey of public property to identify available tree planting locations including community street rights-of-way, park land, and other public properties.

Resource assessments should be developed by professional staff with experience in conducting inventories and/or assessments. The inventories and assessments must be conducted using industry- standard data collection, data analysis and data presentation techniques and protocols. Volunteers involved in the inventories and assessments must be trained and proficient in the industry standard protocols and techniques.

D. Development of Management Plans or Street Tree Master Plans - A management plan will result in a detailed document or set of documents, developed from professionally-based resource assessments/inventories, which outlines future management of the community’s trees and forests. A management plan addresses the systematic planning, planting, protecting, conservation, storm damage mitigation, and/or maintenance of community trees. The plan should reflect the goals and objectives established by the City Forester, a local tree board, and/or City Council. A current tree inventory/resources assessment is generally a prerequisite for a management plan. For example:

-Urban Forest Master Plan based on a satellite imagery study and GIS analysis, or other inventories and assessments, which sets goals for tree canopy cover in residential and commercial areas, recommends areas for reforestation, recommends areas for preservation, promotes community education and outreach efforts, and recommends tree maintenance policies for City or County properties.
-Street Tree Planting and Maintenance Plan based on an inventory of trees and open spaces in street rights-of-way. These types of plans include information such as a prioritized list of tree pruning and removals, a prioritized list of replacement and new tree plantings, a recommended yearly budget, and a recommended list of tree species for replanting.
-Regional Watershed Management Plan whose resource assessment includes specific analysis and management recommendations for the community’s trees and forest resources. The plan includes management recommendations for vegetative buffers and invasive species in the community including areas for preservation and restoration.
-City Parks Vegetation Management Plan based on an inventory of park trees and invasive plants that includes a plan for the removal of invasive species, abatement of tree hazards and reforestation.
-Hazard Tree Reduction and Replanting Plan based on a survey of community commercial or residential rights-of-way.

E. Revising an Existing Tree Ordinance/Policy – Projects to revise an ordinance will be eligible. The ordinance or policy should address the establishment of municipal authority over public trees and set maintenance and management standards. A specific department or staff personnel should already be in place and assigned to enforce and implement policies on the local level. The ordinance or policy may also address issues such as tree preservation during development, watershed preservation or buffer requirements, natural area preservation, reforestation and building restrictions, etc.

F. Professional Certification – Projects that promote level of professionalism within community forest management program. Proposals may include the costs associated with ISA certification.

Non-Profit Program Development Organizations must qualify as non-profits under state and federal guidelines. If your organization has not participated in this program in the past please provide information about your organization’s mission, structure and past activities in regard to urban and community forestry.

-Staffing and Administration – Part-time staff personnel to assist with administration, program development, volunteer coordination, etc. These funds should be viewed as start-up funds and not be relied on in subsequent grant cycles for continuation of the position.
-Volunteer Training and Coordination
-Publications and Communication – Projects which develop publications, exhibits, videos or websites that increase public awareness and understanding of the benefits of urban forests.

Tree Planting Projects:

The proposal must demonstrate how the project will help develop or enhance a community forestry program. The following is required when any tree planting funds are requested:

1. Include tree planting as a separate component in the narrative section under Strategy:
-List the number of trees to be planted by species and size - caliper, container, bare root, B&B (a
species list is required and must be approved by the grant administrator).
-Outline strategies for the tree-planting component, including personnel and volunteers
involved, their roles and their qualifications.

2. Include a site plan map or drawing showing the location of trees to be planted at the site. Include species, spacing between trees, and existing features such as other trees, buildings, roads, sidewalks, and utility lines, etc. Include a general vicinity map or description.

3. Develop a maintenance plan for the first 3 years following planting. Indicate who will be responsible for supervising and implementing the maintenance plan and their qualifications.

Standard care and maintenance is to include supplemental watering as needed, replenishing mulch, seasonal inspection of all trees, early corrective pruning if needed, insect and disease control as needed, and removal of any guys, stakes, wraps and supports no later than one year after planting. If trees die during this period, they must be replaced with comparable trees at the applicant’s expense. At the end of three years at least 90% of the trees must be living and vigorous. No grant money may be used to replace trees that have died.

Additional Tree Planting Priorities and Considerations:
-The use of volunteers in tree planting is highly encouraged.
-Cost efficient projects – planting smaller caliper trees that are a convenient size for volunteers to acquire, transport, handle and plant by hand will receive priority.
-The planting of small or ornamental or non-native trees is considered a low priority.
-Tree planting without a well-planned education, public awareness, demonstration or volunteer component is a low priority.

Additional Tree Planting Standards and Requirements:
-Plant materials must, at a minimum, meet the American Standard for Nursery Stock.
-Planting must be performed in accordance with standards described in Watson, G.W. and Himelick,
E. B. Principles and Practice of Planting Trees and Shrubs or an alternate source approved by the
Division of Forest Resources.
-Trees must be planted on non-federal public property.

Information, Education, and Training:

-In-House Training and Continuing Education – Intended to enhance the technical skills of individuals involved in planning, development and maintenance of community forests. Proposals may include costs associated with attending an educational event (registration, travel, and lodging expenses) and/or the purchase of reference materials for self-study.
-Public Education/Workshops – Funds may be used to conduct local seminars, training sessions and workshops regarding arboriculture and/or community forestry topics. Funds may cover brochure development, mailings, speaker fees, audio/visual equipment rental and related costs. Topics include, but are not limited to, growing greener communities, tree care & maintenance, hazard tree evaluation, certified arborist training, tree ordinance development, tree protection methods, etc.
-Youth Programs
-Materials/Brochures for public use/training

Demonstration and Site-Specific Projects:
-Volunteer Nurseries (contact the Program Coordinator directly for information of suitable options for developing a small-scale nursery)
-Urban Stream Restoration/Management
-Technology Transfer

Regional and Statewide Special Projects:

Encourage creative and innovative proposals to address urban and community forestry needs and issues on a regional or statewide scale.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 163348

Estimated Size of Grant:

Requests for funding cannot exceed $20,000.

Term of Contract:

Projects must be completed within one (1) year of finalized grant agreement.

All major activities listed must occur within the grant year, 09/01/18 - 8/31/19, whether funded by the grant or with matching funds and should be represented in the budget.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Funds may be awarded to units of local governments (city, town, county), nonprofit organizations or educational institutions. Other organizations, such as community tree volunteer groups, neighborhood associations or civic groups which are not 501(c)3 are eligible, must apply in partnership with a nonprofit organization or with their local government. All grant recipients must be able to receive grant funds via Electronic Fund Transfers (EFTs).

Funding is for programs, projects, or activities not otherwise currently funded, and cannot be used to substitute for existing funds. Funding is not available for entertainment, food and beverages, or purchase of equipment (including computers, printers, PDAs, landscaping or construction tools and machinery). The Mississippi Forestry Commission reserves the right to reject any and all proposals or to approve partial funding for any and all proposals.

Ineligible projects include, but are not limited to;
-Trail design, construction or maintenance
-Property acquisition and related costs
-Beautification projects
-Tree removal and maintenance
-Construction projects
-Equipment purchases
-Projects that will take place on private property (land not open to the public)

Pre-Application Information:

Urban and Community Forestry Grant Program funds may not exceed 50 percent of the total project cost and shall be provided on a matching basis with non-federal funds. These non-federal funds cannot be used as a match for any other Federal cost-share project. The match may include in-kind contributions, volunteer assistance, and private and public (non-Federal) monetary contributions.

All matching funds must be specifically related to the proposed project. The source of the match, cash and in-kind, must be identified and quantified in the application by enclosing letters of intended support. Funds expended prior to or after the date of the grant agreement cannot be used as match. Funds expended for entertainment, food and beverages, computers, or construction and landscape equipment cannot be used as match.

Costs and third party in-kind contributions counting toward satisfying a matching requirement must be verifiable from sub-recipient records. Documentation of all matching funds must be provided before reimbursement of the grant award will be issued.

In-Kind Contributions include: on-hand supplies, third party donations of supplies or equipment, and the value of time (including fringe benefits) and equipment spent by the Grantee’s employees or volunteers on eligible project activities. Rates for volunteers performing tasks in their normal line of work are calculated at their current job rate. Assistance provided by Federal or Mississippi Forestry Commission employees may not be claimed as part of the local match.

All applications submitted must be postmarked by August 15, 2018. Recipients will be notified by mail of project and funding approval in September 2018.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Email applications to: (Subject: “U&CF 2018 Grant Application”)

Applications submitted via paper mail, courier, or delivery service will also be accepted and should be sent to:

Mississippi Forestry Commission
Attn: Todd Matthews
Urban Forestry & Forest Health Coordinator
660 North Street, Suite 300
Jackson, Mississippi 39202c

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Mississippi