December 7, 2016 -- Endowment-Supported Report on Thermal Efficiency of Biomass Boilers Released, Feedback Sought
The Biomass Thermal Energy Council (BTEC) announced its release of the first American test method for the thermal efficiency of commercial-sized biomass boilers. This includes boilers that use as a fuel stock solid biomass, including pellets, chips, briquettes, and cordwood. The standard is available on BTEC's website and will now be validated through laboratory testing by an EPA-accredited third-party testing laboratory. Work on the project is supported by the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, the West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund, and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources.
“All-too-often we don’t share experiences that lead to our failures as well as successes, thus dooming others to repeat our mistakes,” said Owen. “At the Endowment we’ve made a commitment to be as open as we can about our own journey so as to help others along the way. This short book is just another example of that commitment.”
To further mark this decade of impact on the nation’s forested communities, the Endowment produced the second in a series of three “birthday commercials” narrated by America’s first Forest Service Chief, Gifford Pinchot. Pinchot—played by reenactor Gary Hines—notes the links between the birth of Canada and the birth of the Endowment.
November 16, 2016 -- Request for Proposals: Mapping the South’s Protected Forests of the Future Project
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, Inc. (Endowment) today announced availability of a new Request for Proposals (RFP) entitled Mapping the South’s Protected Forests of the Future. The Endowment and the USDA Forest Service Southern Region (R8) are co-funding the project. Proposals are due to the Endowment on Friday, December 30, 2016. Up to $100,000 is available for this project.
“Currently protected forest lands are fairly well known as a result of programs such as the National Conservation Easement Database and the Protected Areas Database U.S.,” said Carlton Owen, the Endowment’s President and CEO. “What is less well known, however, are projections for the extent and location of working forest and other types of retention in the future, should current conservation initiatives succeed as planned.”
“We are pleased to partner with the Water Environment & Reuse Foundation on this project to better understand the potential benefits of forests and trees as an effective, affordable, desirable, and practical means to meet or help meet stormwater regulatory requirements,” said Peter Stangel, the Endowment’s Senior Vice President.
November 9, 2016 -- New NRCS Partnership Promotes Voluntary Conservation
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, Inc. (Endowment) today announced a new Memorandum of Understanding with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). The partnership will provide $7,520,000 to landowners in Mississippi, Georgia, and North Carolina for conservation easements and habitat restoration projects. Projects will focus on working forest lands, including longleaf pine, and will enhance restoration of Threatened and Endangered Species. Funding is also provided for projects that help preclude the potential listing of other species.
In Georgia, for example, RCPP funding will be used to help implement the Gopher Tortoise Initiative, led by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. This bold collaborative of government agencies, not-for-profit organizations, and businesses seeks to protect prime gopher tortoise habitat and preclude listing of the species in the eastern portion of its range. Should the gopher tortoise be federally listed as Threatened or Endangered, there would be significant impacts to landowners. RCPP funding will support voluntary, proactive measures to help keep this from happening.
The Department of Defense Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration Program is providing matching funds for selected projects that will protect the military mission by helping remove or avoid land-use conflicts near installations and by addressing regulatory restrictions that inhibit military activities.
November 2, 2016 -- New Report is Roadmap to Protecting Water Resources
The World Resources Institute (WRI) has released a new report that identifies 10 lessons for successful watershed investment programs. Protecting Drinking Water at the Source is a collaboration with the Colorado State University Colorado Forest Restoration Institute. The work is based on an analysis of 13 case studies from across the U.S. and was funded through a Conservation Innovation Grant from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment), which provided matching funds.
“Healthy, well-managed forests play a critical role protecting drinking water sources,” notes Peter Stangel, the Endowment’s Senior Vice President. “The U.S. Forest Service estimates that about two-thirds of the fresh water in our nation flows through forested watersheds. This new report provides practical, proven guidance for developing and implementing successful watershed protection programs in both forests and other cover types. “
The Endowment’s President and CEO, Carlton Owen, co-authored the forward, along with Andrew Steer, WRI’s President and CEO; Robert Bonnie, USDA Undersecretary for Natural Resources and the Environment; and David LaFrance, CEO of the American Water Works Association.
November 1, 2016 -- 2017 Enviva Forest Conservation Fund Request for Pre-Proposals
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment) today released a new Request for Proposals for the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund. Up to $500,000 is available for 2017 grants to protect bottomland hardwood and other wetland forests in northeast North Carolina and southeast Virginia.
This is the second year of a $5 million, 10-year program launched by Enviva Holdings, LP (Enviva) and the Endowment in 2015. Not-for-profit organizations, government agencies and tribes are eligible to apply for grants. The deadline for proposals is March 1, 2017. The RFP and additional materials are available on the Endowment’s website.
“Given the success of the inaugural year of the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund, we are very excited to invite applications for the 2017 program,” said Carlton Owen, the Endowment President and CEO. “The four grants awarded in 2016 were critically important to help protect more than 2,000 acres of sensitive, bottomland and wetland forests. Well-managed, working forests also are being protected from conversion to non-forest uses.”
October 26, 2016 -- New Members Added to Board of Directors; Officers Elected
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) announced today the election of Board members and officers for 2017 at the organization’s semi-annual meeting held this year in Greenville, South Carolina. The Board welcomes Jeffery Hearn and Mark Emmerson to serve three-year terms.
October 13, 2016 -- Healthy Watershed Grant Consortium Program Grows
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, Inc. (Endowment) today released the 2017 Request for Proposals for the Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program. Additional grant funds are available in 2017-2018 through a new partnership with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Up to $2 million is available for the 2017 Healthy Watershed Consortium grant cycle. NRCS joins the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Endowment as Healthy Watershed Consortium Grant Program funders. The program’s focus is to accelerate the strategic protection of healthy freshwater ecosystems and their watersheds across the country. The deadline for proposals is February 1, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
“We are delighted to welcome NRCS as a partner in the Healthy Watersheds Consortium,” said Peter Stangel, the Endowment’s Senior Vice President. “NRCS brings tremendous watershed protection expertise and experience to the Consortium. NRCS funding will allow us to support even more projects over the next two years.” NRCS Committed $1.5 million to the Consortium through a Cooperative Agreement with the Endowment.
October 5, 2016 -- Endowment Announces Staff Opening: Finance Director
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment) today announced the addition of a staff position in its Greenville, SC, headquarters. The role—Finance Director—will report to the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and aid the Endowment with financial accounting, federal and private award administration, and annual audit procedures as the organization works to keep America’s forests healthy and productive for the full range of their environmental, societal and economic benefits.
“The Endowment has always made a commitment to keep a lean, talented staff to accomplish our broad body of work,” says Endowment President and CEO Carlton Owen. “As good stewards of our funds, we have maintained a small staff size despite our growing programmatic portfolio. With a substantial increase in projects and programs—including exciting new Federal partnerships—it is vital that we grow the team, especially in the area of finance.”
The Finance Director will engage with the CFO, Program Officers, and other Endowment staff to ensure efficient and compliant program administration. The position will ultimately further the Endowment’s mission of advancing systemic, transformative and sustainable change for the health and vitality of the nation's working forests and forest-rich communities.
September 26, 2016--2017 Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Program Challenge Request for Pre-Proposals
The U.S. Department of Defense today announced that it is accepting pre-proposals for the 2017 Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Program Challenge. The Request for Pre-Proposals and the downloadable PDF pre-proposal form are available on the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Community’s (the Endowment) webpage. This information is also available by contacting Peter@usendowment.org. The deadline for submissions is 8 p.m. EST, Friday, November 18, 2016. Up to $10 million is available for one or multiple awards through the 2017 REPI Challenge. Final awards will be announced in April of 2017.
The REPI Challenge seeks to leverage public and private funds for land conservation projects that limit incompatible development or that relieve current or anticipated environmental restrictions on military testing, training, or operations. “The REPI Challenge incentivizes high-leverage land conservation opportunities to maintain compatible land uses and conserve natural resources near Department of Defense installations and ranges,” said Peter Stangel, Senior Vice President at the Endowment.
September 16, 2016 -- USDA Forest Service, Endowment Announce New Round of P3Nano Funding
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment) and the USDA Forest Service (USFS) announced today a new round of funding in its public private partnership (P3Nano) to support collaborative projects designed to advance the commercialization of cellulosic nanomaterial. P3Nano has approximately $2.25 million in funding for 7 to 8 proposals.
“We are excited to build upon the earlier successes of our P3Nano initiative through this new round of funding,” says Endowment President and CEO Carlton Owen. “This exciting public-private partnership allows for innovative and collaborative work, pairing independent scientists with USFS team members. This shared approach has led to significant advances in cellulosic nanomaterial commercialization already.”
To read the full Request for Proposals, click here.
September 15, 2016 -- Secretary of Agriculture Recognizes Work with African American Forestland Owners
In a ceremony held at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s headquarters in Washington, DC yesterday, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, presented the Department’s Abraham Lincoln Award for protecting natural resources to the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities and its USDA partners in the Forest Service (USFS) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
The award, the Department’s highest recognition for service went to the Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention program that has provided direct support to more than 300 families for forest management and resolving heirs’ property problems across three states – Alabama, North Carolina and South Carolina.
In commenting on the award, Endowment President Carlton Owen noted, “We are honored that USDA and the Secretary have singled out this important work as worthy of recognition.”
July 22, 2016 -- Wood2Energy.org Website Revitalized Via New Partnership
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (“Endowment”) today announced the launch of the revitalized wood bioenergy facility database and mapping tool (www.wood2energy.org). The site is the most comprehensive database of its kind in North America.
The vision for Wood2Energy.org was to develop a database and mapping tool that aggregates facility level data to deliver a unique perspective of the wood bioenergy industry. With separate, clickable layers and simple symbology organizing data by facility type, size, operational status, and additional detailed information for each data point, users have the ability to plot and contextualize data from the macro-level down to the site-level.
To execute on this vision, the Endowment engaged Ecostrat Inc. to develop and manage data delivery using GIS mapping technology to render the very large, complex dataset in a simple, user-friendly way.
July 1, 2016 -- USDA and Endowment Expand Work with African American Forest Owners
New community-based networks in Georgia and Arkansas have been funded through the Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention (SFLR) program, an effort to promote forest health and productivity while stemming the loss of African American-owned rural land.
The SFLR program, a partnership of the U. S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment), the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the USDA Forest Service (Forest Service), currently funds projects in the Carolinas and Alabama. Proposals were sought from lead organizations working with networks of public and private organizations that support forest landowners in multi-county regions with significant African American forest ownership in rural Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, western Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
The partnership will invest more than $4 million over the next four years to restore and secure ownership of threatened African American-owned forestland in the southern U. S. and enhance family wealth by increasing forest landowner income and land asset value through sustainable forestry. Loss of historic African American family land is all-too-common in the region where past discrimination and economic factors have diminished the value and productivity of African American-owned forests. The project will introduce new forestry technologies, create trusted, comprehensive and replicable systems of landowner outreach and support, and develop income steams by connecting forest owners to traditional and emerging forest products markets.
June 14, 2016--Grants to Accelerate Watershed Protection
The new Healthy Watershed Consortium Grant Program’s first-year awards will protect and improve land management on hundreds of thousands of acres of watersheds that provide drinking water and an array of economic and environmental benefits. The nine awards total more than $1.4 million and will benefit organizations and partnerships in seven states. The Heathy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program was conceived by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Water (EPA) and launched in late 2015. EPA co-funds the program with the U. S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment), which manages the partnership.
“These grants will accelerate protection and improved management of watersheds across the U.S.,” said Carlton Owen, the Endowment’s President and CEO. “Protecting watersheds is the first step in ensuring safe, reliable sources of drinking water. Improving management of these lands will benefit wildlife, help maintain rural economies, and reduce threats to communities from floods and the extreme weather associated with climate change.”
The Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program’s goal is to “accelerate and expand the strategic protection of healthy, freshwater ecosystems and their watersheds.” EPA and the Endowment each provide $625,000 annually for grants, and the program is planned to run for at least six years. In this inaugural year, the program received 169 applications requesting more than $37 million.
To read more, including a list of awards, click here.
May 26, 2016--$5 Million Enviva Forest Conservation Fund Announces 2016 Conservation Grants
The Enviva Forest Conservation Fund (the “Fund”), a $5 million, 10-year program designed to protect tens of thousands of acres of bottomland forests in northeast North Carolina and southeast Virginia, today announced the recipients of its 2016 grants.
“We are very pleased to be working with our friends at The Nature Conservancy, Triangle Land Conservancy and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, who will join with the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund to preserve thousands of acres of high conservation value forestland,” said John Keppler, Chairman and CEO of Enviva. “Enviva has always believed there are special places in the forest that should remain so. This year’s inaugural grants from the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund enable leading environmental organizations to protect those special places through forest stewardship, conservation, preservation and the promotion of sustainable harvesting.”
The Enviva Forest Conservation Fund, established by Enviva Holdings, LP (“Enviva”), and administered by the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the “Endowment”), is awarding $500,000 in 2016 to preservation and conservation programs that span more than 2,000 acres of environmentally sensitive bottomland and wetland forests in North Carolina and Virginia. The 2016 Enviva Forest Conservation Fund matching-fund grant recipients are:
The Nature Conservancy North Carolina Chapter, to assist with acquisition of 1,294 acres of forested wetland in the floodplain of the Roanoke River, Washington County, North Carolina. The property will be protected as part of The Nature Conservancy’s Roanoke River Preserve and includes extensive stands of cypress-tupelo and Atlantic white cedar forests;
The Triangle Land Conservancy, to help finance purchase of a permanent conservation easement on 127 acres of bottomland hardwood forest, uplands, and lake area near Raleigh, North Carolina. The lake and wetlands on the property help filter water flowing into the Neuse River, the drinking water source for the Town of Clayton and Johnston County;
The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, to assist with acquisition of 385 acres of hardwood bottomland, cypress-tupelo swamps and 2.6 miles of frontage along the State Scenic Nottoway River in Southampton County, Virginia. Conserving this land will provide water quality enhancement and flood storage capacity, and support a myriad of threatened and endangered flora and fauna; and
The Nature Conservancy Virginia Chapter, to finance a conservation easement donation of a 408-acre floodplain tract along the Meherrin River, Southampton County, Virginia. This project blends working forest uses with limited harvest designations to maintain health and condition of floodplain forest communities.
March 18, 2016 -- Report Chronicles Failed Hardwood Commodity Check-Off
“You win a few, you lose a few. Some get rained out. But you got to dress for all of them.” Baseball legend Satchel Paige’s quote is especially apropos to a new report released today by the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment).
Lessons From the Attempted Hardwood Check-offreviews the ups, downs, and lessons learned from a more than five-year effort to advance a research and promotion program for America’s hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood segments of the forest products industry.
“A group of executives from the hardwood industry approached the Endowment seeking funds for a ‘grow the market promotion program’ in 2010,” said Endowment President and CEO Carlton Owen. “We welcomed the opportunity to work with them collaboratively, as we have with the softwood lumber and paper & packaging segments of the industry, to develop sustainable means to enhance markets for trees and the wide range of beautiful products that they yield.”
Despite joint investments of more than $600,000 and untold hours of work from a host of industry representatives, the effort was ultimately unsuccessful. The Endowment’s review notes at least five major barriers to success including the highly fractured nature of this segment of the industry and a general anti-government feeling exploited by opponents.
March 17, 2016 -- Protecting Drinking Water through Healthy Forests
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment) hosted a special session at the 2016 Sustainable Water Management Conference to highlight the important role that forests play in protecting drinking water. “Seeing Green: Improving Water Quality and Quantity through Forestry” featured six speakers who highlighted case studies, new opportunities, and successful strategies from across the country. The session was held Wednesday morning, March 9, 2016, in Providence, Rhode Island.
“An estimated two out of three Americans drink water that originates in a forest” said Peter Stangel, the Endowment’s Senior Vice President and session organizer. “Retaining working forests in watersheds, enhancing the health of these woodlands, and creating mechanisms to compensate land owners for providing abundant, clean water is a priority for the Endowment.”
February 29, 2016 -- Greening the Water Utility of the Future
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment) hosted a special session at the 2016 Utility Management Conference to highlight the important role that forests and other types of natural or green infrastructure play in protecting drinking water sources, reducing water treatment costs, and managing stormwater. Four speakers from across the U.S. highlighted case studies and new opportunities to integrate forests and green infrastructure into the “Water Resources Utility of the Future,” the conference theme. The session was held Saturday morning, February 27, 2016, in San Diego.
“TheWater Resources Utility of the Future Blueprint for Actiondocument highlights an important role for green infrastructure, such as well-managed forests,” said Peter Stangel, the Endowment’s Senior Vice President and session organizer. “Our speakers have first-hand experience with both the challenges and benefits of green infrastructure as an important complement to traditional, man-made approaches such as water treatment facilities. They presented a compelling case for the economic and social benefits of green infrastructure.”
February 9, 2016--USDA and Endowment Expand Work with African American Forest Owners
Over the coming three years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Forest Service (USFS), and the U. S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities will invest more than $4 million to stabilize African American forestland ownership across generations and enhance family wealth by increasing income and land asset value through sustainable forestry.
“The involuntary loss of African American family forest and farm land over the past century has been a tragedy for those families and a loss to the economies of rural communities across the Southeastern United States,” said Carlton Owen, the Endowment’s President and CEO. “Working together we see significant opportunities to stem further land loss, increase family income, stimulate local forest-based economies and enhance forest health through sustainable forest management on African American-owned forestland.”
February 8, 2016 -- Partnerships Highlight 2015 Annual Report
Catalyst. Synergist. Collaborator. Facilitator. These are just a few of the roles played by the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment) to benefit working forests and forest-rich communities. Always focused on its charter to “ultimately support the North American forest industry,” the Endowment’s partnerships cross sectors, political lines, and even national borders.
The Endowment today released its 2015 Annual Report highlighting these partnerships and sharing both successes—and failures—of the past year. Focusing on six arenas in which the Endowment has grown partnerships —Government, Non-Profit, Military Lands, Research Institutions, For-Profit, and Canada — the report chronicles the Endowment’s winning model: bringing together uncommon allies to advance a shared vision.
“Had we founded our work on any model other than partnerships,” says Endowment President and CEO Carlton Owen, “the result would be fewer successes, dimmer hopes, and sorely depleted coffers. With this report, we celebrate our partners of all shapes and sizes. We can’t thank each group enough for taking the risk on a start-up organization with only a vision and a promise. This report highlights just a few of the successes and challenges that we’ve faced together.”