Grant funding will bring over $160,000 to Olympic National Forest projects.
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources announced that they awarded nine organizations across Washington with a combined $1.6 million in grant funding to help make forests in their communities healthier and more resilient, including to wildfires.
Through the All Lands Forest Restoration Grant Program, DNR awarded about $1.25 million to help these groups plan and conduct forest health treatments, such as the thinning of overly dense forests.
Additionally, through the Building Forest Partnerships Grant Program, DNR awarded $350,000 to help the organizations reach potential partners and the public through outreach activities, such as public meetings, forest field trips, and website development.
In all, the funding will lead to the increased health and resilience of more than 1,400 acres of forest, while surveys and other on-the-ground activities will inform restoration planning on an additional 31,250 acres.
Locally, these grants will help fund the Olympic Forest Collaborative, on the Olympic Peninsula: Awarded $124,750 in All Lands Forest Restoration funding and $39,918 in Building Forest Partnerships funding.
Both grant programs were established by the Washington Legislature in 2018, and Franz secured money in the 2019-21 budget to continue them. DNR awarded its first round of grants through these programs in the fall of 2018, investing $1.8 million in the estimated treatment of more than 1,800 acres of unhealthy forest and the planning necessary to treat up to 120,400 more acres.
The only recipients eligible for these grants are forest collaboratives — a mix of conservation groups, state and federal agencies, tribes, timber workers, and other community members — who are joining forces across property boundaries to improve forest health while also supporting the rural timber economy. In central and eastern Washington, the collaboratives that received grant funding are working in high-priority watersheds identified in DNR’s 20-Year Forest Health Strategic Plan.
DNR awarded its latest round of grant funding as follows: