Current law authorizes 2 grant programs relating to forest management: One relating to wildfire risk reduction that is administered by the department of natural resources, which is financed by a one-time transfer of $1 million from the general fund, and one relating to landscape-scale forest health that is administered by the state forest service located within Colorado State University, which is financed by annual transfers of $1 million from the severance tax operational fund that ended on July 1, 2016.
Section 1 of the bill repeals the grant program administered by the department of natural resources, and section 4 transfers it to the state forest service, renamed as the 'forest restoration and wildfire risk mitigation grant program'. Section 4 also adjusts the composition of the technical advisory panel and specifies that the panel is no longer subject to sunset review. Sections 2 and 3 realign the funding for the new grant program and the healthy forest and vibrant communities fund by allowing $50,000 that had been allocated to the department of public health and environment relating to the air quality impacts of prescribed fire to be used for any authorized purpose of the healthy forests and vibrant communities fund and extending funding for the consolidated grant program for 7 years. Section 2 also allows the forest service to use the existing unencumbered balance of the forest restoration and wildfire risk mitigation grant program cash fund for community watershed restoration purposes. Section 3 also extends the funding for 2 related forest programs for 7 years. Section 5 makes the bill effective on July 1, 2017.
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)