USDA Forest Service grants bring $900K to support wood product innovation, wildfire safety in Missouri

ROLLA, Mo., — Two projects in Missouri were selected to receive funding through USDA Forest Service’s Community Wildfire Defense and the Wood Innovations, Community Wood and Wood Products Infrastructure Assistance Grant Programs with a total of $898.450 being awarded.


The Waynesville Rural Fire Protection District received $250,000 for community wildfire defense. This grant will help develop a community wildfire protection plan (CWPP) for Pulaski County. CWPPs are collaborative planning efforts intended for providing the community a way for reducing their wildfire risk and building resiliency to the impacts of wildfires.


CWPP’s help communities implement the three goals of the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy. The goals of the strategy are:

  • Restore and maintain landscapes that are resistant to fire-related disturbances
  • Create communities where people and infrastructure can withstand a wildfire without loss of life or property
  • Improve wildfire response.


Funding for this CWPP development grant comes from the Community Wildfire Defense Grant Program, which is designed to assist communities (including Tribal communities), nonprofit organizations, and state forestry agencies with planning for and mitigating wildfire risks. Across the nation, this work helps to protect critical infrastructure and confront the nation’s wildfire crisis. The funding supports developing or revising these plans as well as completing projects that are identified in these plans.


The second grant went to Specialty Lumber Solutions for their Missouri Community Biochar Production Project. This $648,450 grant was made possible through the Wood Innovations, Community Wood and Wood Products Infrastructure Assistance Grant Programs. The Forest Service supports entities across the public, private and nonprofit sectors through these grants. Funded projects will increase demand and create new uses for sustainably sourced wood. Such projects include converting heating systems in schools to sustainable biomass boilers, installing cutting-edge equipment in sawmills and processing facilities to increase efficiency, supporting innovative housing using mass timber and more.


These projects are part of the $42 million in grants announced by USDA Forest Service this week to support healthy forests and a healthy forest products economy across the Forest Service’s Eastern Region—which spans from Missouri to Maryland, to Maine, to Minnesota. Its footprint includes the District of Columbia and 20 states in the Northeast, mid-Atlantic and Midwest. These states have a wide variety of forests and forest management needs. A total of 59 projects in the Eastern Region received Forest Service funding through multiple competitive grant programs: the Forest Legacy Program, the Community Wildfire Defense Program and the Wood Innovations, Community Wood and Wood Products Infrastructure Assistance Grant Programs.


Mark Twain National Forest manages 1.5 million acres of land in Missouri. Across Missouri more than 14 million acres are forested. Forests serve as one of the economic drivers for rural communities in Missouri and as a place for people to recreate, recharge, and relax.  Finding innovative ways to utilize material removed from sustainably managed forests and protecting forested communities from the potential of destructive wildfires will one day benefit people living in and around Mark Twain National Forest and the millions of privately owned forested acres across the state.