Wildfire Hazard Reduction
New Jersey Projects

Total Stimulus Appropriation: $500 Million ($250 Million available for work on state and private lands)
New Jersey’s Portion: Unkown
Allocation Method: Competitive Grant Process
Program Overview
The New Jersey Forest Fire Service is responsible for protecting life and property from wildfire within 3.15 million acres of both private and public land statewide. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Forest Service is administering the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Wildfire Hazard Reduction funds through a competitive grant process for work on state and private lands for hazardous fuels reduction, forest health and ecosystem improvement activities.  Up to $50 million of the $250 million can be allocated for wood to energy grants to create incentives for increased use of biomass from national, state and private forest lands.
The New Jersey Forestry Services has submitted 35 preliminary project proposals totaling $8.5 million, which were due to the USDA on February 19, 2009. The USDA prioritization of projects will be based on multiple factors, including the number of jobs created, job sustainability and timeframe for completion.  The preliminary projects submitted by New Jersey include proposals in all potential areas identified by USDA, including 4 projects for forest health, 17 hazard fuel mitigation and restoration, 9 ecosystem/watershed enhancement, 4 state and volunteer fire assistance projects and 1 wood to energy grant. 
The USDA announced 80% of their project awards on June 2, 2009 and New Jersey received no grants.  The remaining 20% of funds will be announced at a later date.
Federal Requirements and Restrictions
  • Project completion date must be within 24 months of initiation.
Program Eligibility
The USDA provided eight project categories: Forest Health – Cooperative; Hazard Fuels Mitigation; Hazard Fuels Reduction; Hazard Fuels Ecosystem Restoration; Related Ecosystem/Watershed Enhancement; State Fire Assistance; Volunteer Fire Assistance; and Wood to Energy Grants – Non-Federal Lands.
Project Prioritization
Project proposals will be prioritized by USDA based on multiple factors including the number of jobs created, job sustainability and timeframe for completion. 
Important Program Dates
February 19 – The USDA requested each state to submit preliminary project proposals. The New Jersey Forest Fire Service submitted 35 preliminary project proposals totaling $8.5 million.

March 6-13, 2009 – USDA will announce project selections based on preliminary state submissions.

March 23, 2009 – States must submit formal applications to USDA for selected projects. 

June 2, 2009 – USDA announced project awards.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Is New Jersey eligible to receive funding under the Wildland Fire Management category of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act?
A1. Yes, New Jersey forestlands qualify for the ARRA wildland fire management funds being administered by the USDA Forest Service through a competitive grant process for work on state and private forestlands.  New Jersey submitted 35 project proposals.

Q2. How much funding will New Jersey receive under this section of the Act?
A2. Unfortunately, New Jersey was not awarded any funds under the program.  The allocation of funding was based on a nationally competitive process and no New Jersey application was accepted for funding. 

Q3. Who established the eligibility criteria for project submission?
A3. The USDA Forest Service provided eight categories for qualifying projects:  Forest Health; Hazard Fuels Mitigation; Hazard Fuels Reduction; Hazard Fuels Ecosystem Restoration; Related Ecosystem/Watershed Enhancement; State Fire Assistance; Volunteer Fire Assistance; Wood to Energy Grants.

Q4. Who is eligible to receive this funding?
A4. $250 million of the $500 million in funding in this category is targeted for projects on or adjacent to National Forest lands.  $250 million has been allocated for state and private land projects through competitive grants.

Q5. What is the application process and grant award time-line?
A5. The USDA Forest required all proposals to be submitted to their Regional Headquarters by February 19, 2009.  The Forest Service is currently prioritizing projects and will announce their selections when the process has been completed.  Because of the high volume of applications, the date for grant awards has not been announced by the Forest Service.

Q6. How were NJ projects selected for submission to the USDA Forest Service?
A6. Because of the extremely short submission timeframe, the State Forestry Service selected projects on public lands that could be completed within the 18 to 24 month time requirement of the USDA Forest Service.

Q7. How may I obtain additional information on the Wildland Fire Management section of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act?
A7. The USDA Forest Service website has information on this and the other sections of the act that they administer.  Their web address is: http://www.fs.fed.us/.