[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 189 (Thursday, October 1, 2009)]
[Notices]
[Pages 50763-50767]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-23644]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service


Request for Proposals for Hazardous Fuels Woody Biomass 
Utilization Grant--Forest Restoration Activities on All Priority 
Forestlands

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

ACTION: Request for proposals.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, State and 
Private Forestry, Technology Marketing Unit, located at the Forest 
Products Laboratory, requests proposals for projects that increase the 
use of woody biomass that is removed during hazardous fuels treatment 
projects on both public and private forestlands. The Hazardous Fuels 
Woody Biomass Utilization (WBU) Grant Program is intended to improve 
the effectiveness of forest restoration activities by creating and 
expanding markets for small-diameter material, low-value trees, and 
woody biomass removed during hazardous fuel reduction and forest health 
activities. These funds are intended to assist communities, 
entrepreneurs, and others turn low-value woody biomass materials from 
forest restoration activities into marketable forest products and/or 
energy products.

DATES: Pre-application Postmark Deadline: November 20, 2009. Full 
Application Postmark Deadline: April 2, 2010.

ADDRESSES: All pre-applications and full applications must be sent to 
the following address: U.S. Forest Service, ATTN: Patricia Brumm, Grant 
Officer, Forest Products Laboratory, One Gifford

[[Page 50764]]

Pinchot Drive, Madison, WI 53726-2398. Detailed information regarding 
what to include in the pre-application and full application, 
definitions of terms, eligibility, priority forestlands, and Federal 
restrictions are available at http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/tmu (under 
Hazardous Fuels Woody Biomass Grants), and at http://www.grants.gov. 
Paper copies of the information are also available by contacting the 
U.S. Forest Service, S&PF Technology Marketing Unit, One Gifford 
Pinchot Dr., Madison, Wisconsin 53726-2398, 608-231-9504.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For questions regarding the grant 
application or administrative regulations, contact Patricia Brumm, 
Grants and Agreements Specialist, 608- 231-9298, pbrumm@fs.fed.us; for 
program and technical questions, contact Susan LeVan-Green, Program 
Manager, 608-231-9504, slevan@fs.fed.us.
    Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) 
may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1-800-877-8339 twenty-four 
hours a day, every day of the year, including holidays.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: To address the goals of Public Law 110-234, 
Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, Rural Revitalization 
Technologies (7 U.S.C. 6601), and the anticipated Department of the 
Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriation Act of 2010, 
the Forest Service is requesting proposals to address the nationwide 
challenge of dealing with low-value woody biomass material removed 
during hazardous fuels reduction and forest health activities. The 
Hazardous Fuels WBU has a pre-application requirement. Upon 
notification, selected pre-applicants will be asked to complete the 
requirements for a full application. Goals of the grant program are to:
     Reduce forest management costs by increasing the value of 
biomass and other forest products generated from hazardous fuels 
reduction and forest health activities.
     Create incentives and/or reduce business risk for 
increased use of woody biomass from priority forestlands identified 
either by the Forest Service or through local Community Wildfire 
Protection Plans (or equivalent documents) as forestlands and other 
areas at high risk from wildfires and in need of hazardous fuels 
reduction work.
     Implement projects that target and help remove economic 
and market barriers to using small-diameter trees and woody biomass.
     Produce renewable energy from woody biomass, including the 
use of new technologies.
     Build infrastructure to use woody biomass around lands 
associated with hazardous fuels treatment where no or limited 
infrastructure exists.

Grant Requirements

1. Eligibility Information

    a. Eligible Applicants. Eligible applicants are State, local, 
tribal governments, school districts, communities, non-profit 
organizations, businesses, companies, corporations, or special purpose 
districts (e.g., public utilities districts, fire districts, 
conservation districts, or ports). Only one application per business or 
organization will be accepted. If applicants have received a Woody 
Biomass Utilization Grant after July 1, 2008, they are not eligible. 
Construction projects involving a permanent building or infrastructure 
item, such as roads, are not allowed with these Federal funds; however, 
construction funds can be part of the non-Federal cost share. Proposals 
must not include the use of this grant funding to prepare bids for 
Forest Service contracts or agreements.
    b. Cost Sharing (Matching Requirement). Applicants shall 
demonstrate at least a 20% match of the total project cost. This match 
must be from non-Federal sources, which can include cash or in-kind 
contributions.
    c. DUNS Number. All applicants shall include a Dun and Bradstreet 
(D&B), Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number in their full 
application. For this requirement, the applicant is the entity that 
meets the eligibility criteria and has the legal authority to apply and 
receive a WBU grant. For assistance in obtaining a DUNS number at no 
cost, call the DUNS number request line (1-866-705-5711) or register 
on-line at http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform.
    d. Central Contractor Registration (CCR). The applicant 
acknowledges the requirement that prospective awardees shall be 
registered in the Central Contractor Registration database prior to 
award, during performance, and through final payment of any grant 
resulting from this solicitation. Further information can be found at 
http://www.ccr.gov. For assistance, contact the CCR Assistance Center 
(1-866-606-8220).

2. Award Information

    At least $4 million is anticipated for granting under the 2010 WBU 
program. Individual grants will be not less than $50,000 or more than 
$350,000. Grant funding will be divided into two parts. Half of the 
funds will be allocated for projects on USDA Forest Service National 
Forest (NF) priority forestlands. The remaining funds will be allocated 
for projects on non-priority NF lands and other eligible lands. NF 
priority forestlands are defined by historical high fire suppression 
costs and high fire probability coupled with high housing density. A 
map and list of NF priority forestlands can be found at http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/tmu under Hazardous Fuels Woody Biomass Grants.
    The Federal Government's obligation under this program is 
contingent upon the availability of 2010 appropriated funds. No legal 
liability on the part of the Government for any payment may arise until 
funds are made available to the grant officer for this program. The 
maximum time for a grant award is three years from the date of award. 
Written annual financial performance reports and semi-annual project 
performance reports must be required, as well as annual reporting of 
green tons removed and utilized. The grant funds are taxable income and 
a Form 1099 Miscellaneous Income, will be sent by the Forest Service to 
the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Awardees are expected to follow all 
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements 
regarding safe working practices and all applicable State and Federal 
regulations pertinent to the proposed project.

3. Application Review Process

    a. The first step requires the applicant to submit a pre-
application. Pre-applications are evaluated on criteria discussed in 
Section 4. All pre-applications must be screened to ensure compliance 
with the administrative requirements as set forth in this Request for 
Proposals (RFP).
    b. Pre-applications not following the directions for submission 
must be disqualified without appeal. Directions can be found at http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/tmu under Hazardous Fuels Woody Biomass Grants.
    c. A review panel from Federal and State agencies judges the pre-
applications. Panel reviewers independently evaluate the pre-
applications according to the criteria and point system.
    d. In the second step, successful pre-applicants are invited to 
revise their application and complete the requirements for a full 
application. Unsuccessful pre-applications are removed from further 
consideration. In either case, a letter of notification is provided to 
each applicant. More

[[Page 50765]]

detailed financial information for the eligible applicant is required 
in the full application. The full application is evaluated for 
technical merit and financial viability of the proposed project. The 
reviewers discuss rank, and make recommendations to the Forest Service 
national leadership officials, who make the final decision on the 
selected projects.
    e. Full applications not following directions for submission must 
be disqualified without appeal. Directions can be found at http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/tmu under Hazardous Fuels Woody Biomass Grants.

4. Evaluation Criteria and Point System

    Full points will be given if there are no technical or budget 
problems, the assembled team is highly qualified and competent, and 
there is significant impact on increasing the amount of green tons 
removed and utilized from hazardous fuels reduction projects on 
forestlands. If there are minor deficiencies, which could limit 
success, midway points are given. If there are major deficiencies, 
which could render the project unsuccessful, minimum points are given.

a. Impact on Forests for Hazardous Fuels Reduction: Total Points 25

     Project work is located on NF priority forestlands (see 
link for Forest Service priority map and list http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/tmu). A letter of support from either the Forest Supervisor or District 
Ranger shall be included. Proposals missing this letter are 
disqualified. 6 points maximum.
     Project work is conducted within non-priority NF lands and 
other eligible lands identified as at risk communities and having a 
local Community Wildfire Protection Plan (or equivalent documents). For 
non-priority NF lands and other eligible lands, a letter of support 
from either the Forest Supervisor/District Ranger for NF lands or the 
State Forester where the project work takes place must be included. 
Proposals missing this letter are disqualified. 6 points maximum.
     Project work increases the quantity of material removed 
and utilized, measured in green tons. 7 points maximum.
     Capacity to utilize woody biomass removed during hazardous 
fuels reduction and/or forest health activities is retained, expanded, 
or created where capacity is limited or non-existent. 6 points maximum.

b. Public Benefit for All Forestlands: Total Points 20

     Improves efficiency or develops cleaner technology to 
harvest, process, or use woody biomass for energy, products, or 
biofuel. 4 points maximum.
     Reduces per acre cost for hazardous fuels reduction. 8 
points maximum.
     Local jobs and business vitality are clearly retained, 
created, or expanded. 8 points maximum.

c. Technical Approach and Work Plan: Total Points 20

     Approach is technically feasible, and description is 
complete. Start and end dates are identified. Timeline is clear. Key 
tasks are identified, timely, reasonable, and linked to the budget 
summary. 7 points maximum.
     Potential for expanding, replicating, or sustaining the 
project beyond the grant period is documented. 7 points maximum.
     Plans and methods to evaluate and monitor grant activities 
are documented. Resources to conduct evaluation and monitoring plans 
are identified. 6 points maximum.

d. Budget Summary: Total Points 15

     Budget summary (SF 424A) and budget summary justification 
clearly support and link to tasks and timeline for the project. 10 
points maximum.
     Non-federal match and leverage of other resources are 
documented. 5 points maximum.

e. Qualifications and Experience of Applicant: Total Points 20

     Technical expertise and experience of the principals is 
sufficiently documented to demonstrate the ability to successfully 
implement the proposed project. 10 points maximum.
     Management team is qualified to implement project and meet 
evaluation, monitoring, accounting, and reporting requirements of this 
grant program. 10 points maximum.
    Additional criteria for full application:

f. Detailed Financial Information: Total Points 25

     Table 1--Expanded project budget and justification of 
budget line item assumptions are clearly presented. 10 points maximum.
     Project financial feasibility including supply costs, 
product pricing, processing costs, and a detailed financial analysis is 
thoroughly documented. 5 points maximum.
     Documentation of organization's finances provides clear 
understanding of entity's financial status (see http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us.tmu under Hazardous Fuels Woody Biomass Grants for 
detailed description of requirements). 10 points maximum.

5. Pre-Application Information

    a. Pre-Application Submission. Pre-applications must be postmarked 
by November 20, 2009 and received no later than 5 p.m. Central Standard 
Time on November 27, 2009, no exceptions. One paper copy and an 
electronic version must be submitted to Patricia Brumm, Grant Officer, 
at the address listed in the ADDRESSES section. The electronic version 
submitted to Patricia Brumm should be on a USB flash drive or compact 
disc (CD). No emails will be accepted. Applications may be submitted 
electronically through http://www.grants.gov.
    b. Pre-Application Format. Each submittal must be in PDF format, 
with a minimum font size of 11 letters per inch. Top, bottom, and side 
margins must be no less than three-quarters of an inch. All pages must 
be clearly numbered. Paper copy shall be single sided on 8.5- by 11-
inch plain white paper only (no colored paper, over-sized paper, or 
special covers). Do not staple.
    c. Pre-Application Content. Forms for the Project Summary Table, SF 
424, 424A, and Budget Table 1 can be found at http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/tmu under Woody Biomass Grants.
    i. Order. Assemble information in the following order:
     Project Summary Table (one page limit);
     Application for Federal Assistance SF 424 and Budget 
Summary SF 424A;
     Project Narrative (five page limit);
     Budget Summary Justification in support of SF 424A (two 
page limit);
     Appendices.
    Qualification and description of principals and management team.

2. Letters of Support

    ii. Project Narrative. The project narrative must provide a clear 
description of the work to be performed and its impact on Federal and 
non-Federal forestlands. The NF priority forestland (see link for 
Forest Service priority map and list http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/tmu) must 
be identified by name. For all priority and non-priority NF forests, a 
letter of support must be submitted from the District Ranger or Forest 
Supervisor. For other eligible lands, the applicant shall identify the 
Community Wildfire Protection Plans (or equivalent document) that 
identify the hazardous fuels reduction activities and shall submit a 
letter of support from the State Forester where the project takes 
place. The project narrative is limited to five

[[Page 50766]]

pages, and excludes Project Summary Table, SF 424 and SF 424A, budget 
summary justification, and letters of support.
    The project narrative should address the following:
     Describe geographical location where project takes place. 
Indicate if project is in an area identified as a NF priority 
forestland (see link for Forest Service priority map and list http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/tmu) or under a local Community Wildfire Protection 
Plan (or equivalent document).
     Describe condition of the forest or non-priority NF lands 
and other eligible lands. Provide the Fire Regime Condition Class 
(http://www.frcc.gov), and the consequences of not doing hazardous 
fuels treatments, and/or forest health treatments.
     Report current handling and disposal practices for 
material removed because of hazardous fuels reduction activities.
     Describe how the woody biomass will be used if a grant is 
awarded. Include a discussion of potential markets.
     Anticipate outcomes and measures of success for this 
project.
     Document the reduced per acre cost for hazardous fuels 
reductions and/or forest health restoration on both Federal and other 
eligible lands.
     Discuss how the project will increase the green tons 
removed and utilized.
     Indicate intangible benefits. Examples of tangible and 
intangible benefits are listed on the Technology Marketing Unit's Web 
site at http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/tmu (Hazardous Fuels Woody Biomass 
Grants, under Directions--General Information) or at http://www.grants.gov.
     Explain how the project will improve efficiencies for 
harvesting or processing woody biomass, particularly what cleaner 
technologies will be used.
     Show how the project will retain, create or expand local 
jobs and provide opportunities for using woody biomass in geographical 
locations where currently there is no or limited infrastructure.
     Provide a project work plan, including start and end 
dates, key tasks, previous project feasibility studies (as 
appropriate), and timelines.
     Identify individuals responsible for implementing and 
ensuring project success.
     List long-term benefits of project and the length of time 
the benefits and impacts are anticipated.
     Describe expansion capability, such as potential to expand 
the application to additional forest treatment areas or to create 
higher valued uses.
    iii. Further Pre-application Information. A full description for 
each project narrative bullet can be obtained from the Technology 
Marketing Unit's Web site at http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/tmu (under Grant 
Application Directions, Hazardous Fuels Woody Biomass Grants) or at 
www.grants.gov, or by calling the telephone number in the FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT section, or by writing to the address in the 
ADDRESSES section of this notice.

6. Full Application Information

    USDA Forest Service will request full applications only from those 
applicants selected in the pre-application process.
    a. Full Application Submission. Full applications must be 
postmarked by April 2, 2010 and received no later than 5 p.m. Central 
Standard Time on April 9, 2010. No exceptions. One paper copy and an 
electronic version must be submitted to Patricia Brumm, Grant Officer, 
at the address listed in the ADDRESSES section of this RFP. The 
electronic version submitted to Patricia Brumm should be on a USB flash 
drive or compact disc (CD). No emails will be accepted. Applications 
may be submitted electronically through http://www.grants.gov.
    b. Full Application Format. The full application follows the same 
format requirements as for the pre-application.
    c. Full Application Content. Forms for the Project Summary Table, 
SF 424, SF 424A, AD 1047, 1048, 1049, certificate regarding lobbying 
activities, and SF 424B can be found at http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/tmu 
under Hazardous Fuels Woody Biomass Grants, as well as a detailed 
description of the required financial information.
    i. Order. Assemble information in the following order:
     Project Summary Table (one page limit);
     Application for Federal Assistance SF 424 and Budget 
Information SF 424A;
     Project Narrative (ten page limit);
     Budget Summary Justification in support of SF 424A (two 
page limit);
     Detailed Financial Information;
     Appendices.
    1. Qualification and description of principals and management team.
    2. Letters of support.
    3. Other Federal funds.
    4. Equipment descriptions and quotes.
    5. Required certificates: AD 1047, 1048, 1049, certificate 
regarding lobbying activities, and SF 424B.
    ii. Project Narrative. The project narrative must provide a clear 
description of the work to be performed with revisions providing more 
detail than presented in the pre-application. The impact of the 
proposed project on both Federal and other eligible lands must be 
described. The NF priority forestland (see link for Forest Service 
priority map and list http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/tmu), must be identified 
by name. For all NF forests, a letter of support must be submitted from 
the Forest Supervisor or District Ranger. Letters of support must be 
updated for the full application. For other eligible lands, the 
applicant shall identify the Community Wildfire Protection Plans (or 
equivalent documentation) that identifies the hazardous fuels reduction 
activities needed. A letter of support must be included from the State 
Forester where the project takes place. For these letters, the 
applicant can submit a letter of support that was submitted with the 
pre-application. The project narrative is limited to 19 pages, and 
excludes the Project Summary Table, budget summary justification, 
qualifications and letters of support, as well as any required 
certification forms.
    The project narrative must address the same issues as listed under 
the pre-application in this RFP but must include the following 
additions:
     Describe environmental documentation and permits, if 
applicable, and positive and negative environmental consequences to the 
forestland with and without project.
     Discuss any reduction in green house gases and water 
pollution, improvements in wildlife habitats, and adoption of new 
cleaner technologies.
     Explain evaluation and monitoring plans and how these 
would be implemented to evaluate degree of success.
     Provide accountability procedures to ensure all 
requirements of this grant are achieved.
     List the socio-economic impacts of this grant if awarded, 
such as jobs retained, expanded or created.
     Identify current capacity in the geographical location of 
the project and how this grant will contribute to retaining, expanding 
or creating infrastructure to use woody biomass.
    iii. Detailed Financial Information. Detailed financial information 
is requested to assess the financial capacity of the applicant. All 
financial information remains confidential and is not accessible under 
the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552, (b)(4)). If the applicant 
has questions about how confidential information is handled, they 
should contact either Susan LeVan-Green at slevan@fs.fed.us or Patricia 
Brumm at pbrumm@fs.fed.us. The

[[Page 50767]]

financial information should provide a general overview of current, 
historical and projected (pro forma) financial performance. Prepare the 
required financial information documentation in accordance with 
Generally Accepted Accounting Practices (GAAP). Strong applications 
have benefited from the use of a certified accountant to develop this 
information. Applicants should refer to http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/tmu 
under Hazardous Fuels Woody Biomass Grants for the financial 
information required for the full application.

7. Appendices

    The following information must be included in the appendix of the 
pre-application and the full application:
     Qualifications and Description of Management Team: 
Qualifications of the project manager and key personnel should be 
included. Discuss management team's knowledge and experience as it 
applies to project. Document how the management team is qualified to 
implement project and meet evaluation, monitoring, accounting, and 
reporting requirements. Explain in detail how the management team will 
ensure the success of the project.
     Letter of Support and Biomass Availability Is Required: 
This letter must describe forest management plans on Forest Service NF 
and how the proposed project will help meet forest management 
objectives. For other eligible lands, this letter must describe 
Community Wildfire Protection Plans (or equivalent documentation) and 
how the proposed project will help meet those objectives. The number of 
acres at risk, timeframes, available volumes, and opportunities for 
applicant to access these volumes are suggested issues to address in 
these support letters. These letters must be submitted with both the 
pre-application and full application. For Forest Service, NF lands, the 
letter must be signed by either a Forest Supervisor or District Ranger 
from the project location. For other eligible lands, the State Forester 
shall sign the support letter.
     Letters of Support From Partners, Individuals, or 
Organizations: Letters of support must be included in an appendix and 
are intended to display the degree of collaboration occurring between 
the different entities engaged in the project. These letters must 
include commitments of cash or in-kind services from all partners as 
listed in the SF 424 and SF 424A. Each letter of support is limited to 
one page in length.
     The following information is only required in the full 
application:
     Federal Funds: List all other Federal funds received for 
this project within the last three years. List agency, program name, 
and dollar amount.
     Equipment Quotes: If requesting equipment, applicant shall 
include two quotes for each piece of equipment requested. If awarded a 
WBU grant, final receipts for all equipment purchased must be submitted 
to the Grant Officer.
     Administrative Forms: AD 1047, 1048, 1049, SF 424B and 
certificate regarding lobbying activities are standard forms that need 
to be included and are required before a grant can be awarded. These 
forms can be accessed at http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/tmu under Hazardous 
Fuels Woody Biomass Grants, Forms.

    Dated: September 24, 2009.
John Phipps,
Associate Deputy Chief, State and Private Forestry.
[FR Doc. E9-23644 Filed 9-30-09; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-11-P