Two AZ projects are recipients of grants
Flagstaff AZ (April 10, 2015) – Today Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the award of over $9 million dollars to expand and accelerate wood energy and other wood product markets. The federal funds will leverage $22 million in investments from partners, resulting in a total investment of $31 million in 23 states.
“Working with our partners, the Forest Service is promoting deployment of new technologies, designed to convert previously unusable wood, including invasive species, for production of energy and new building materials,” said Vilsack. “This funding also supports forest management needs on the National Forest System and other forest lands throughout the United States.”
“The Forest Service recognizes the need for a strong forest products industry to help accomplish forest restoration work,” said Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “One of the best opportunities for reducing the cost of restoration treatments is to ensure strong markets for the byproducts of these treatments.”
This year over 100 proposals were received for the Wood Innovations grant program, highlighting the expanding use of wood as a renewable energy source and as a building material. The awarded funds will stimulate the use of hazardous fuels from National Forest System lands and other forested lands to promote forest health while simultaneously generating rural jobs.
Two proposals with ties to Arizona are recipients of the 2015 Wood Innovations Grants. Arizona State Forestry Division is receiving $111,000 for their proposal, Round Wood Guardrail Post Demonstration Project. This project involves conducting a demonstration test with a full-size pickup truck on a W-beam guardrail system configured with round wood, ponderosa pine guardrail posts. It will complete the final phase of testing that will allow the AZDOT to use ponderosa pine posts from forest restoration projects in Arizona to maintain and replace the states highway guardrails. It will also support local industries that already have the capacity to produce the product within the states specifications.
Good Earth Power AZ (GEPAZ) is receiving $242,965 for their proposal, Composting Forest Biomass to Reduce Hazardous Fuels and Promote Forest Restoration in the Southwest. GEPAZ Soils is a Division of GEPAZ LLC, and composts otherwise unmarketable slash from thinning operations under the 4 Forests Restoration Initiative in Northern Arizona to create a range of high value soil products that include various grades of compost and mulch. Composting of low value forest biomass from overly dense Southwestern forests promotes forest restoration and reduces hazardous fuels, enhances economic and environmental health, and reduces federal costs of forest management.
For more information on the grant and cooperative agreement program, visit http://www.na.fs.fed.us/werc/wip/2015-rfp.shtm.