Chugach Corner: PWS Resource Advisory Committee is accepting proposals

Restoration of a failed structure on Horsetail Falls Trail near Whittier. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service

By Tanya Zastrow and Amanda Williams
For The Cordova Times

The Prince William Sound Resource Advisory Committee is accepting project proposals for review and consideration for funding for Fiscal Year 2022. Individuals, tribes, businesses, nonprofit organizations and government agencies are eligible for funding consideration through grants, cooperative agreements with the Chugach National Forest, volunteers and work programs, or traditional contracting procedures. The deadline to submit proposals is Sept. 30, 2021.

Since 2009 the PWS RAC has invested more than $4.2 million worth of work in local communities that has benefitted National Forest lands in the Prince William Sound RAC Area. The reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act has allowed for another $1.25 million in allocations for local projects on or near the Chugach National Forest.

Project funds, known as Title II funds, are designed to make investments in public lands and create additional employment opportunities through projects that improve the maintenance of existing infrastructure, implement stewardship objectives that enhance forest ecosystems, and restore and improve land health and water quality. These projects are also designed to improve cooperative relationships among the people that use and care for public lands and the agencies that manage these lands.

Submitted projects must have broad-based support with objectives that may include, but are not limited to: road, trail and infrastructure maintenance or obliteration; soil productivity improvements; improvements in forest ecosystem health; watershed restoration and maintenance; wildlife and fish habitat improvements; control of noxious and exotic weeds; reintroduction of native species and hazardous fuels reduction. It is required that 50% of the total available funds be utilized for maintaining, decommissioning, or obliterating roads; or restoration of streams and watersheds.

RAC projects must be located on National Forest System Lands of the Chugach National Forest (outside of the Anchorage and Kenai Peninsula boroughs) or on other nearby lands if the project will directly benefit resources on the national forest.

The newly re-formed and approved PWS Resource Advisory Council will review applications and provide their recommendations to the Chugach National forest supervisor for funding decisions in the fall of 2021. It is strongly suggested that RAC project proposals be closely coordinated early in the process with appropriate Cordova Ranger District representatives and other key partners during the application process. This will help assure submissions meet the purpose of the Act and Title II criteria.

 Applicants for Title II funds are encouraged to submit their forms electronically to Tanya Zastrow at tanya.zastrow@usda.gov. Project application forms, instructions for completing the required form, and previous approved projects are all available on the Chugach NF website cdv.tiny.us/pwsrac. All applicable federal laws apply, such as the National Environmental Policy Act, and contracting/cooperator policies. Applicants are encouraged to consult the Forest Service office for more information. Completed project applications must be submitted electronically or postmarked by 5 p.m. September 30, 2021.

Additional information concerning Title II projects is available online at cdv.tiny.us/title2. Applicants may also contact Tanya Zastrow, RAC Coordinator, Cordova Ranger District at 907-424-4722.

A big thank-you to all previous PWS RAC members. Because of your hard work and willingness to serve, the Forest Service was able to provide funding for 86 outstanding projects to our local communities.

What’s happening on the Chugach

The highly anticipated Copper River Salmon Jam celebration is underway! Come along with Ruby Red and her salmon pals on an exciting scavenger hunt. Explore and discover clues at various locations around town: the U.S. Forest Service office building, Prince William Sound Science Center and the Breakwater Trail. Solve all the clues and win a prize! The scavenger hunt runs from July 13-19.

Follow the link for more information: cdv.tiny.us/scavenger

Tanya Zastrow is coordinator for the Prince William Sound Resource Advisory Committee.