Grant funding available for prescribed burning in E. Texas
COLLEGE STATION – Texas A&M Forest Service is now accepting grant applications through Sept. 30, to offset the cost of prescribed burning on private lands for Central and East Texas landowners.
A collective total of $488,715 in grant funds are available for eligible landowners having prescribed burns conducted on their property by certified and insured prescribed burn managers.
Last year, the programs provided $353,916 to landowners for a total of 13,100 acres of treatments.
“While parts of Texas are dealing with dry fuels and wildfire conditions and others are beginning the recovery phase of a major hurricane, it is also time for landowners to begin planning for the next prescribed burn season,” Texas A&M Forest Service Fuels Coordinator Andy McCrady said. “It is important for land managers to look ahead at what areas have the heaviest undergrowth and consider planning prescribed fire operations in those locations at a time when weather conditions are moderate.”
Prescribed fire is an effective and controlled method to reduce wildfire risk by eliminating brush, weeds, dried vegetation and downed trees.
Most of the available funds are set aside for wildfire hazard mitigation and the applications that get selected in these programs will be those that protect the most homes and communities.
Some of the programs also focus on habitat restoration because prescribed fire also benefits native species of plants and animals, watershed health, reduction of invasive plants, and restoration of soil nutrients.
“Anyone interested in learning more can find an interactive map on our webpage to navigate to their property and research their eligibility,” McCrady said. “The application process is entirely online as well and allows landowners to work directly with the professional burn contractor of their choice to complete the application, burn plan and map requirements.”
A total of $233,702.88 of funding is available for property owners within 10 miles of a national forest in East Texas, through the Community Protection Program-Prescribed Fire Grant.
A total of $143,742.50 is available to 43 eligible counties with a city- or county-wide Community Wildfire Protection Plan, through the State Fire Assistance for Mitigation Central and East Texas-Prescribed Fire Grant.
A total of $61,269.91 is available for prescribed burning in priority East Texas watersheds, through the Neches River and Cypress Basin Watershed Restoration Program-Prescribed Fire Grant.
Treatments will help improve water supply and quality, control invasive species and enhance wildlife habitat by restoring ecosystem function.
This year, up to $50,000 is available through the Texas Longleaf Conservation Assistance Program-Prescribed Fire Grant for burn treatments on private land in East Texas to enhance longleaf pine ecosystems.
This cooperative program is available in select counties, including Cherokee County, throughout the year.
For details follow the link on the Texas A&M Forest Service’s prescribed fire grants webpage.
Texas A&M Forest Service does not conduct the prescribed burns.
Grant recipients will select a certified and insured prescribed burn manager to reimburse costs from $15 to $30 per acre, depending on program eligibility.
Application deadline for these grants is Friday, Sept. 30.
Apply online at texasforestservice.tamu.edu/cppgrant/.
Learn more by visiting the Prescribed Burning Board at texasagriculture.gov/Home/ProductionAgriculture/PrescribedBurnProgram/PrescribedBurningBoard.aspx.
Please support the Cherokeean Herald by subscribing today!