The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will welcome applications from local units of government within Minnesota that assist communities in managing ash for emerald ash borer (EAB) on public land, with $1.6 million available in general fund and Heritage Enhancement Account fund dollars to fund two-year projects. There is no minimum to the dollar amount applicants can request. The maximum amount that will be funded is $100,000.
All local units of government within Minnesota are eligible, including cities, counties, regional authorities, joint powers boards, towns, Tribal nations, and parks and recreation boards in cities of the first class.
Priority will be given to:
- Communities who have staff, who plan to certify their staff during the grant period, or who will contract with companies with staff with professional tree care credentials (such as Minnesota Tree Inspector, International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborist, etc.).
- Projects removing and replacing ash trees that pose significant public safety concerns.
- Projects that benefit underserved populations and areas of concern for environmental justice (communities with higher populations of low-income residents, or people of color, including tribal communities, or both). Please reference the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's interactive environmental justice map for more information. Applicants should describe how the proposed project activities benefit these communities.
- Public tree inventories
- Developing a management plan that includes an EAB component
- Tree and stump removal and tree replacement
Applications must include a 25 percent match of total project funds. Match can be in-kind, cash match, or both.
DNR's Urban & Community Forestry Team will review and evaluate grant applications, and prioritize proposals. The UCF Grants Steering Committee will recommend projects and award amounts. DNR will review all committee recommendations and is responsible for final award decisions. Grantees will be notified by Monday, August 30, 2021. If selected, grantees may only incur eligible expenditures after the grant contract is fully executed.
- Application Available: Monday, July 12, 2021
- Application Deadline: Monday, August 9, 2021
How to Apply
- Thoroughly read through the Request for Applications
- Download and complete the Application
- Download and fill out the Attachment A Budget Form
- Download and fill out the Attachment B 3-Year Tree Maintenance Plan (if planting trees)
- Provide a Species and Stock List from which trees will be planted (if planting trees)
- Submit your EAB Management Plan, if already completed (communities must have adopted or will adopt an EAB management plan through this grant process)
- Can you provide guidance on submitting a successful application?
Make sure to follow the guidelines in the Request for Applications, and address the scoring criteria in your application responses. Refer to this 2020 webinar from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture for more helpful guidance on submitting grant applications.
- If our overall project is larger than the DNR grant fund maximum, do we indicate the replanting species list, number, location, etc. for the portion we are requesting grant funds for, or the entire project?
- Please clearly demonstrate your entire project. You will be required to report on match-funded trees, and will need to show that all match has been spent before the project is finished
- Why are you requiring #20 containerized stock and not allowing B&B trees? If the cost is the same, can we spend the money on B&B trees instead of containerized trees?
In previous grant opportunities we allowed reimbursement of up to #15 containerized or 1-2" bareroot trees; we have increased reimbursement in this opportunity up to #20 containerized after receiving feedback that some communities were unable to purchase their desired/planned species in #15 stock.
B&B stock is not eligible for reimbursement in this grant program, due to the additional cost, care, and skill often needed to properly plant B&B trees. This is especially the case when trees are sold with excessive soil over the root collar flare; stem girdling roots may be present and trees may be planted too deeply. While this may be mitigated in your community by knowledge and proper planting techniques, it may not be the case for other communities across the state. Since a primary goal of our tree planting grant program is to see trees planted with our funds alive and well into the future, we have made the decision to not reimburse for B&Bstock.
- I manage a homeowners association. We wanted to reach out to see if Homeowners Associations are eligible to apply for this grant.
- All applications for this grant program must come from a local unit of government. I recommend reaching out to your municipality if you are looking to propose a project.
- I didn't see a spot to put in-kind time for volunteers in this project. I decided to add a row to the Budget spreadsheet showing the anticipated value of the time volunteers would spend on the effort. Is this okay?
- You are free to add additional lines as needed. There is some nuance regarding including volunteer labor as in-kind match. Volunteer services furnished by professional and technical personnel, consultants, and other skilled and unskilled labor may be counted as cost sharing or matching if the service is an integral and necessary part of an approved project or program, and if the labor would have to be paid for if not donated.
- Is my municipality eligible to apply if we don't currently have EAB present?
- Yes, all local units of government across Minnesota are eligible to apply.
- Is stump grinding for the purpose of opening up planting locations an eligible project expense?
- As long as the stumps are ash stumps, this is an eligible expense. As with all projects, explain why these sites are a priority area.
- If we receive grant funding we set up specific pay codes in our payroll system for work that is dedicated to a certain grant. This is to help us track both hours and money spent on a project. There would be about 6 City staff working on this project but the work would be done within their 40 hour work weeks. My question is would our time/money spent working on this grant be considered cash match or in-kind funding?
- If staff are project-dedicated, it is the only project they work on, and/or they were hired for this specific project. It's most likely that your staff wages will be in-kind match, because they will work on other projects as well, and not be dedicated solely to this grant program work.
- Can grant money be used to assist private residences within the City to remove infested ash trees from their property?
- The Legislature has stipulated that this funding be used on public lands only, so tree work on private property is not an eligible expense.
- I would like to propose we use the grant funds for removal and stump grinding. We would plant replacements (one-for-one) with separate budgeted dollars. I think it would be more efficient to manage them as separate contracts. Is that an okay approach?
- Through the grants that we offer, we require that each tree removed be replanted, and the only way for us to monitor and manage this is to make it a requirement of the grant. Grant applicants can structure their budgets however they choose to make this feasible for them; for example, grantees can use grant funds for removal, and cover the costs of tree planting with match funds. However, to make sure that replanting occurs at a 1:1 minimum, both removals and planted trees must be incorporated into the grant application and budget in order to be eligible for funding.
- Will we need a council resolution to be submitted with this grant?
- Council resolutions are not needed on our end as a part of this grant.