AGRICULTURE SECRETARY SCHAFER AWARDS MORE THAN $4.1 MILLION FOR USE IN WOODY BIOMASS DEVELOPMENT
Federal grants support the Healthy Forests Restoration Act, reducing wildfire risk and providing economic incentives to rural communities
WASHINGTON, DC, March 7, 2008 -- Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer today announced the award of $4.1 million to help 17 small businesses and community groups find more innovative uses of woody biomass from national forests in new products and renewable energy. The grants will help create markets for small-diameter woody material, damaged and other low-valued trees removed to reduce the risk of fire hazard, insect infestation or disease.
"The renewable use of shrubs and underbrush removes unhealthy overgrowth in our National Forests and creates local opportunity for new products and energy sources," said Schafer.
USDA's Forest Service selected 17 small businesses and community groups for grants ranging from $170,000 to $250,000. The recipients must provide at least 20 percent of the total project cost, while a total of $6 million in non-federal matching funds range from $65,590 to more than $1.3 million per project.
The Forest Service's State and Private Forestry, Technology Marketing Unit, at the agency's Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin will administer the grant program. Recipients were among 92 applicants requesting more than $20 million in funding support: