Monday, February 26, 2024
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Cal-FIRE Funding Provides New Opportunities for Wood Product Innovation

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Wood Products and Bioenergy Team will offer $16 million in new grants this week. These projects will fund expansion in workforce and businesses involved in creating healthy, resilient forests across the State as outlined in California’s Wildfire and Forest Resilience Action Plan.

The 14 grant offers will go to an array of non-profits, small businesses and manufacturing facilities across California.

Two grants will subsidize transporting low-value forest biomass. Dinuba Energy in Tulare County will restart operations at their bioenergy facility with new capacity to utilize sub-merchantable and cull logs from forest-fuel reduction activities.

Lignum Support LLC will utilize subsidies to recover biomass from forest health and roadside hazard reduction projects that would otherwise be left in the woods.

Three workforce development grants will provide new job training opportunities and forestry outreach.

Future Fire Academy in Placer County will train veterans and justice-involved persons for careers in forestry and firefighting. The CA Association of Resource Conservation Districts will fund 140 individuals from across the State to pursue over 300 forestry-related certificates that will prepare them for higher quality work.

Lastly, the California Forestry Association will partner with communications experts to market forestry and provide equitable forestry education opportunities.

A total of four grants will be offered to small forest operations and milling businesses. Cascade Custom Cutting in Shasta County will receive assistance in purchasing additional in-woods equipment. Forestree Collective in Sonoma County will expand their capacity to mill lumber as will Rath Industries and Tubit Enterprises in Shasta County.

In Tuolumne County, American Wood Fibers will receive assistance in purchasing new technology to process burned and diseased logs into animal bedding products. Kodama Systems will fund development of new software and hardware for high-speed site connectivity and telemetry at remote forest thinning sites.

Mote, Inc. will be offered a grant to further research and develop a biomass gasification facility in El Dorado County that will produce hydrogen and sequester carbon dioxide from regional wood waste.

Similarly, Arbor Energy and Resources Corp will be offered a grant to support engineering design for novel gasification technology in Placer County.

Since January 2022, the Wood Products and Bioenergy Team has awarded $67 million to business and workforce projects that align with the State’s climate mitigation and economic development goals.

“CAL FIRE’s Business and Workforce Development Grants Program offers the most project support of any grant program we researched,” said Eric Martin of the Northstar Community Services District. “The funding is invaluable in stimulating development of projects that support the State’s ambitious goal of treating one million forest acres annually.”

Cal-FIRE’s Business and Workforce Development grant awards are funded with State of California General Funds. The solicitation remains open to new grant applications. Please visit Cal-FIRE’s Wood Products and Bioenergy webpage for details.

Jeremy Couso
Jeremy Couso
SusanvilleStuff.com Publisher/Editor
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