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May 19, 2014 2:13 PM by Faye DeHoff

Public encouraged to propose projects to improve forest lands

TUCSON - The public is encouraged to propose projects designed to improve Coronado and Tonto National Forest lands and the rural economies of local counties.

Project funding will be made available through Title II funds under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act re-authorized as part of HR 527 Helium Stewardship Act. Completed project applications must be submitted electronically or post marked by 5:00 p.m. on May 30, 2014.

Title II funds are authorized for projects that protect, restore, and enhance fish and wildlife habitat; improve the maintenance of existing Forest Service infrastructure; protect and enhance ecosystems on the national forests; and restore and improve land health and water quality. The projects have objectives that may include maintenance or obliteration of forest service roads, trails, and infrastructure; improvement of soil productivity; improvements in forest ecosystem health; restoration and maintenance of watersheds; control of noxious and exotic weeds; and reestablishment of native species.

Projects funded under title II must be on national forests or benefit the resources on national forests. The funds are made available to Pima, Maricopa, Cochise, Santa Cruz and Pinal counties which receive federal funds based on the percentage of land in federal ownership, timber receipt payments, and per capita income. Over $250,000 will be available for Resource Advisory Committee recommendations.

"The work of the Resource Advisory Committee to review and recommend Title II Projects will benefit forest health, recreation, and fish and wildlife habitat on the national forest in addition to enhancing local economies. Our strengthened partnership with county officials and community members is a valuable part of our work under the Secure Rural Schools and Communities Act," said Forest Supervisor Jim Upchurch, Coronado National Forest.

Project application forms are available at the Coronado National Forest website at: <http://www.fs.usda.gov/coronado/>, from Coronado National Forest Supervisor's Office, 300 W. Congress, Tucson, AZ 85701, or Tonto National Forest Supervisor's Office, 2324 E. McDowell Road, Phoenix, AZ 85006.

Applicants for Title II funds are encouraged to submit their forms electronically. E-mail Title II applications to Jennifer Ruyle at: jruyle@fs.fed.us . Proposals may also be mailed to Coronado National Forest Supervisor's Office in care of Jennifer Ruyle.

Individuals, non-profit organizations, and local governments can submit Title II project applications. The funds for approved projects will be available for 2014 implementation.

Additional information concerning Title II projects is available at the national Forest Service website: www.fs.usda.gov/pts/ <http://www.fs.usda.gov/pts/> . Applicants may also contact Jennifer Ruyle, Coronado National Forest at (520) 388-8351.

The USDA Forest Service is an equal opportunity employer and provider.

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