The Arkansas Agriculture Department's Arkansas Forestry Commission (AFC) is accepting 2018 Urban and Community Forestry Program grant applications through July 20.

Approximately $34,000 is available in 2018 to fund community projects that develop or improve public tree management and maintenance.

Grant details and an online application are available at www.agriculture.arkansas.gov/community-tree-projects.

The AFC and the Grant Review Committee of the Arkansas Urban Forestry Council will rank grant proposals and award funds based on criteria that includes: 1) how much the proposed project will improve a community's tree management program; 2) proposed implementation plan for the project;

3) proposed level of community involvement; 4) educational components; and 5) proposed tree care and long-term maintenance planning. Communities that participate in the Tree City, USA and/or Tree Campus USA programs will receive additional ranking points.

Examples of eligible projects include:

• Parking lot improvements for stormwater runoff.

• Tree-friendly streets (that allow for root space and canopy growth).

• Improving tree health (including tree maintenance plans, improved soil amendments, additional mulching, professional pruning and restoration, etc.).

• Greenway development planning (including demonstration areas, feasibility studies, maps, etc.).

• Urban stream restoration.

• Communication materials and training (including any materials that increase public awareness of the benefits of urban forests).

The maximum federal cost share of any project is 50 percent of the total expenditures for the project. The non-federal match may be cash, services, or in-kind contributions.

Projects must be completed by April 30, 2019.

For more information about the grant program, contact Krista Quinn at Krista.quinn@agriculture.arkansas.gov or 479-228-7929.

Urban and Community Forestry Grants are made available through federal grant funds from the United States Department of Agriculture.

Since 2013, the AFC has awarded 19 Urban and Community Forestry grants totaling $272,173 to communities and organizations across the state.

The AAD is dedicated to the development and implementation of policies and programs for Arkansas agriculture and forestry to keep its farmers and ranchers competitive in national and international markets while ensuring safe food, fiber, and forest products for the citizens of the state and nation. Visit www.agriculture.arkansas.gov for more.

The Arkansas Agriculture Department offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability and is an Equal Opportunity Employer.