The USDA Forest Service is announcing the availability of $20 million in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act to support projects that will substantially expand and accelerate wood products and wood energy markets throughout the United States. Additional funds from annual agency appropriations will be subject to availability. The intent is to stimulate, expand and support U.S. wood products and wood energy markets to support long-term management of National Forest System and other forest lands while enhancing the economic and environmental health of communities.
Eligible applicants include for-profit entities, state and local governments, Indian Tribes, school districts, communities, not-for-profit organizations, institutes of higher education and species purpose districts (e.g., public utilities districts, fire districts, conservation districts and ports).
Preference will be given to proposals that:
- Create or expand markets for wood and biomass generated by forest health and hazardous fuels reduction projects on National Forest System and other U.S. forested land.
- Support development of domestically sourced timber and U.S. manufacturing of mass timber and other wood products.
- Involve wood products or wood industry partners.
- Support commercial building markets or other markets that use innovative wood products.
- Commit to utilizing domestically sourced timber for mass timber construction projects.
- Bundle or address multiple wood energy or wood products projects.
- Support, benefit or engage communities that are historically underserved, marginalized and adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality (pursuant to Executive Order 13985, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government).
The maximum for each award is generally $300,000; however, the Forest Service may consider awarding more in some cases (see the Wood Innovations website for details). Applicants must contribute matching funds equal to 100% of the Forest Service requested funds (1:1 match).
Application information and forms will be available on grants.gov and the Wood Innovations website. Applicants must be registered with the System for Award Management (SAM), which is located at https://sam.gov/. DO NOT go through a third party that may charge for registration. There is no charge for registering at SAM.gov. This process will take time, so please register immediately.
Deadline: Dec. 15, 2023, at 5 p.m. local time for your Forest Service Regional Coordinator.
Regional Program Contacts: Questions that arise should be addressed to USDA Forest Service Regional Wood Innovations Coordinators. Contact information for the Regional Wood Innovations Coordinators, by state, can be found at the following weblink: USDA Forest Service Regional Wood Innovations Coordinator Contacts.
Please visit the Wood Innovations website for more information and to apply.
For an example of a great Wood Innovations success story in Wisconsin, check out this article about Gundersen Health System’s medical campus in La Crosse. Their combined heat and power (CHP) system turns locally sourced wood chips into renewable energy. “We set out to make the air better for our patients to breathe, control our rising energy costs and help our local economy. We believe we have made more progress on all three than anyone else in the country,” said Dr. Jeff Thompson, Gundersen Chief Executive Officer, Emeritus.