Coalitions and Collaboratives (COCO), a Colorado-based non-profit, has started the Action, Implementation and Mitigation (AIM) Partnership 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 Partnership hopes to increase community resilience, restore fire-adapted ecosystems and create safer conditions for firefighters and communities.
This funding opportunity is open to non-profits, collaborative groups, counties, and fire departments that are working to advance wildfire risk reduction; it is NOT open to homeowner associations, property owner associations, or metro districts. This is, in part, due to the amount of funding available and also due to our desire to offer both financial help and mentoring to applicants that are really in need of assistance to move their programs forward, which will in turn benefit HOAs, POAs, and the local communities they engage with. Please feel free to share this opportunity with other organizations that you know fit the definition above.
The AIM Partnership
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 (FAC LN) 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 challenges associated with wildfire. If you anticipate you will need some mentorship or guidance, please build time into your proposal to accommodate your involvement.
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% non-federal 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 will range from $10,000 – $50,000. Funding will be provided on a reimbursement basis.
ELIGIBILITY AND EXPECTATIONS
● The community and/or project must be considered at high risk from wildfire and be in reasonable proximity to public lands. Applicants are encouraged to work with local federal personnel (USFS/BLM/NPS/BIA) in determining where federal treatments are planned for the wildland-urban interface and how to best coordinate work (funded by this grant or planned for the near future if requesting capacity or assessment/planning funds) on non-federal lands in proximity to federal treatment areas (past or future).
● Proposals must ultimately lead to a meaningful increase in on-the-ground wildfire risk reduction activities.
● The County, community or fire district should have a completed Community Wildfire Protection Plan or Wildfire Risk Assessment covering the project area, or have one underway.
● Organizations or community groups should currently be conducting or planning pre-fire mitigation activities aimed at protecting their communities, watersheds and ecosystems.
● Organizations must be willing to collaboratively work with COCO staff to develop their mitigation projects and proposal for funding.
● Organizations must be willing to share their lessons, challenges and successes with partners such as state and national Fire Adapted Communities Networks.
● Organizations must be able to ensure compliance with all grant reporting requirements and meet project completion milestones and deadlines.
Award Program Criteria
Project proposals must fit within one or more of the following categories:
- 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 can 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 for use of the equipment.
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 Mitigation Coordinator or fuels/forestry staff to increase on-the- ground mitigation activities
● Hiring staff to develop or manage a chipping or slash-disposal program
● Hiring staff to conduct home site assessments
● 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 reduce fire intensity and protect water supplies or other valued resources
● 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.
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
● Projects completed on Federal lands
- 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.
- 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 with an eye toward protecting the WUI. Maps identifying current, recent, and proposed projects should be 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.
- 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
Even if they have 501c3 status, homeowner or property owner associations, metro districts, road districts, etc. are NOT eligible to apply.
- 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.
- Reporting and Monitoring Requirements
Recipients will be required to provide monthly project reporting updates. Upon completion of the project, recipients must report on project implementation outcomes that resulted from utilizing AIM funds or were enabled because of AIM capacity support, including the following that apply to your project:
- 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 and to participate in several AIM Partnership calls and webinars throughout the duration of the project.
How to Apply
Applications are due March 8, 2019, 5:00 PM MDT. We plan to review all applications and make award notifications within approximately one month. All work must be completed within one year of receiving a signed sub-award agreement.
Max pages for submittal – 8 pages. Maps and two letters of support are also required and are not part of the page count. Please adhere to the specified word count limits in each section; applications that do not follow the submittal requirements may be rejected. Any additional materials that are submitted will be removed before being sent to the selection panel.
Applicants should submit the attached application form electronically to:
Questions about project proposals should be directed to Pam Wilson at 970-799-2926 or Jon Bruno at 719-433-6775.
RFP Release – January 18, 2019
Proposal Deadline – March 8, 2019, 5:00 PM
Anticipated award date – Within four weeks of application review
Anticipated project completion date – 1 year from execution of award
AIM Partnership APPLICATION (Round 2)
Name of Project:
Organization (include org name and org type (501c3, fire department, county, etc.):
City / State / Zip Code:
Is your organization a non-profit, fire department, regional or local collaborative, tribe, fire safe or wildfire council?
If your organization does not fit within one of these categories, please explain.
PROJECT PURPOSE: Put an X by applicable purpose(s):
Personnel Capacity _ Equipment Purchase Fuels Reduction Planning __
PROJECT SUMMARY and OBJECTIVES
Provide a short summary of your proposed project, list the project objectives and describe how this project will either increase local capacity for wildfire resilience, or act as strategic seed money to advance fire adaptation efforts. (500 words or less)
IS THE PROPOSED PROJECT LOCATED NEAR OR ADJACENT TO PUBLIC LANDS? YES/NO
Please explain how your project will positively impact the larger area at risk and provide cross-ownership benefit. (250 words or less)
IS THE COMMUNITY OR LANDSCAPE CONSIDERED TO BE AT HIGH RISK? YES?NO
Please provide a map showing wildfire risk from a CWPP or Wildfire Risk Assessment Portal (if your state has one). Please explain what values are at risk and why this area is considered a priority. (100 words or less)
DOES THE COMMUNITY HAVE A CWPP OR COMMUNITY WILDFIRE RISK ASSESSMENT? YES/NO
Is your proposed project one of the recommended actions? YES/NO
Provide a link to the relevant document. Do not send us a copy of the document unless requested. If you do not have a completed CWPP or Wildfire Risk Assessment please explain why your project is a priority. (100 words or less)
AIM Award Share
In-Kind Match (non-federal)
Cash Match Leveraged Federal Match
Please be specific regarding how funds will be allocated. Describe source(s) of matching funds and whether cash or in-kind match has been confirmed. Describe the role of each entity involved in project implementation, any known terms of contracts associated with the project, and your ability to leverage grant funds with other funding sources. Consider attaching bids or contract estimates from industry if available.
Because AIM funding is federal funding, you may not use federal funds for your match. Additional leveraged Federal resources add value but are not necessary to receive this funding. (150 words or less)
PROJECT AREA DESCRIPTION
Provide an overview of the project area. Identify vegetation types, fuel types or hazard rating and the relative wildfire risk to the communities, ecosystem, or other values at risk. (400 words or less)
Describe the following: the project/activity, the role of key players, and anticipated outcomes as related to the grant purpose criteria and budget, the project area (including a legal description), the project’s land ownership breakdown, the community in which your project will take place (including population, number of homes and structures). If the project relates to a utility, describe the utility service area, population served, and infrastructure and/or water supplies protected. In addition to the project description, provide a Scope of Work that clearly describes tasks in the project, giving consideration to the questions posed below. This discussion ties directly back to the purpose of your project (i.e. don’t talk about Equipment if you are not proposing purchasing equipment). (500 words or less)
Please include a detailed and clear one-page PDF map that indicates the treatment area, with location description, if applicable.
SCOPE OF WORK
For Capacity — Personnel: Discuss the amount of hours the person will work, what those hours will be spent on, how that position will increase your capacity for accomplishing on-the-ground work in the near future and whether you are leveraging other funding for the position.
For Capacity — Equipment: Describe how the proposed equipment purchase directly supports and expands on-the-ground opportunities to reduce hazardous fuels and how it will be maintained beyond the life of the project.
For Fuels Reduction Projects: This should be more specific than the project description. Include how many treatments will be applied to the area and what kind of treatment will be used (i.e. removing vegetation (bull hogging, hand treatment, etc), burning slash, piling slash, chipping, reseeding, etc) and the acreage. Also explain how this project aligns with the active, proposed or past projects on nearby lands, public or private.
For Planning Efforts: Describe the area to be covered by the CWPP or Community Assessment and the roles of key players (time, meeting support, facilitation, technical expertise or other contributions). Explain your past successes with similar planning efforts, if applicable, and how those planning efforts helped to increase the ability of the residents, fire department, county, or non-profits to complete mitigation efforts.
Outline the proposed timeline for the project including major milestones and the anticipated outcomes and key milestones that will define project completion. Add more lines as needed. (200 words or less)
Date Major Milestone Anticipated Outcomes
STRATEGIC VALUE OF PROJECT
How will this project increase mitigation activities or create broader collaborative landscape risk reduction efforts in a strategic way over time? Explain the strategic nature of the project including: For mitigation projects, whether the project will be implemented across land ownership boundaries; if it is within a priority area identified in a completed Community Wildfire Protection Plan, Wildfire Risk Assessment or FEMA Mitigation Plan; if it is part of a larger landscape‐scale treatment effort; if it addresses a specific environmental consideration, and/or if it is in geographic proximity to public lands that have been recently treated or are in the queue for treatment. For capacity building projects, include outreach or engagement or other strategic value of the new capacity and how you anticipate this capacity will lead to increased action on the ground. (250 words or less)
WHY ARE YOU REQUESTING FUNDING?
Clearly describe why this funding is needed and how it will help to grow or enhance your program — in essence, describe how this project fits into the overall vision for your organization. If your project would occur, at least in part, without this funding, discuss how this funding will enhance your project. Explain how this funding may/will help you to leverage other resources (such as a County contribution to a position, or by increasing the ability of residents to dispose of slash). (200 words or less)
COLLABORATION, PARTNERS AND SUPPORTERS
Identify the private, local, tribal, county, state, federal and/or non-governmental (501c3) organizations that will contribute to or participate in the completion of this project. Describe briefly the contributions each partner will make (i.e. – donating time/equipment, technical assistance or funding) and whether you have a firm commitment from the partner(s). (250 words or less)
MEASURES OF SUCCESS
This funding is intended to increase mitigation activities from the level they are at today. How will you measure the short and long-term success of the project? How will you know that you have increased on-the-ground wildfire risk reduction activities? Please describe your monitoring and assessment process. (200 words or less)
MAINTENANCE AND SUSTAINABILITY
Clearly demonstrate how this project will remain effective over time by clearly outlining commitments, monitoring measures, future funding, environmental factors and outreach. (250 words or less)
● 2 letters of support — one must be from a county official like the Board of County Commissioners, Emergency Manager or local fire chief and the other should be from one of your key local partners like USFS, State Forestry, BLM etc.
● Project Map(s) and Wildfire Risk Map
● For mitigation projects, bids may be included and will not count against your page total.
Applications should be submitted electronically as one document to
firstname.lastname@example.org by March 8, 2019.