Rural Sovereignty Grant

Rural Sovereignty Grants

Grant amount: $150,000

Application opening date: Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Application closing date: Friday, March 2, 2018

Please submit applications to:

Public Lands Policy Coordinating Office

5110 State Office Building

Salt Lake City, UT 84114-1107

or email to kathleenclarke@utah.gov


The Public Lands Policy Coordinating Office (PLPCO) received $150,000.00 last year (FY 18) in
an appropriation from the Legislature to be used for Rural Sovereignty Grants.

The Legislature intended the funds be used as a grant program to support rural Utah counties and initiatives challenging federal restrictions and actions that prohibit or harm resource use, access, and development on public (federal) lands.

PLPCO would like to invite counties in Utah to submit a proposal and statement of need to apply for these funds. The proposal and statement of need must identify specific initiatives and efforts the county intends to bring to challenge federal restrictions and actions that prohibit or harm resource use, access, and development on public (federal) lands. The proposal should include:

1) A proposed Scope of Work;
2) Draft budget identifying specific funding needs;
3) A proposed time line for using the funds;
4) Deliverables;
5) Responsible party; and
6) Any other information the county, or its representative, deems essential to assist PLPCO in determining a county’s qualification for receipt of grant funds.

The proposal and statement of need must be sent via email to Kathleen Clarke at

kathleenclarke@utah.gov, or via U.S. Mail to:

Public Lands Policy Coordinating Office
Attention Kathleen Clarke
5110 State Office Building
Salt Lake City, UT 84114

The deadline for applying for all or a portion of the grant funds is Friday, March 2, 2018 before 5:00 p.m.

After the deadline is closed, a selection committee will evaluate the applications. Applications will be evaluated using the following criteria:

• County initiative contains measurable goals and objectives that will result in a challenge to federal restrictions and actions that prohibit or harm resource use, access, and development on public (federal) lands in or around that county;
• Likelihood that initiative challenging federal restrictions and actions will be successful or result in policy or legal change;
• Budget- County must submit a complete budget identifying concrete funding needs;
• Percentage of public land in county seeking funds; and
• County, or its representatives, expertise, competence, and experience challenging federal restrictions and actions that prohibit or harm resource use, access, and development on public (federal) lands in or around that county

If you have any questions regarding the Rural Sovereignty Grants, please contact Braden Sheppard at bsheppard@utah.gov or at (801) 537-9801.

We look forward to working with counties and their representatives with this grant program

PLPCO Director Testifies Before House Committee on Natural Resources

Clarke testimony

PLPCO Director Kathleen Clarke testifying before the House Committee on Natural Resources Photo Credit: Utah Governor’s Office

On May 19, 2015, PLPCO Director Kathleen Clarke testified to the House Committee on Natural Resources that “the relentless efforts to force more standardized and irrelevant mandates on the use of the land not only threatens the conservation of the species, but unnecessarily imposes hardship on the hard-working citizens of the West”. Ms. Clarke testified along with Dustin Miller, Administrator, Idaho Office of Species Conservation; John Swartout, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado; and Ed Arnett, Senior Scientist, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. All of their expert testimonies were offered as part of an oversight hearing titled: “Empowering State Management of Greater Sage Grouse”. Western states have been frustrated with federal efforts that exclude the states and local governments. “Instead of helping cut through the red tape, federal agencies are focusing most of their effort on finding new ways to regulate human activity,” said Director Clarke.

While Mr. Arnett favored both state and federal plans to manage sage grouse, other experts advocated for state and local control. Mr. Miller said, “[t]he State of Idaho holds to the notion that local collaboration, local ideas, and local efforts garner the greatest results.” Ms. Clarke agreed by saying “[t]he state of Utah is committed to the long-term conservation of greater sage-grouse. Over $50 million has been invested over the last 10 years on sage-grouse conservation in Utah.”

Representative Lummis of Wyoming seemed to agree with the experts by stating: “[t]he Administration has spurned this committee’s efforts to improve the law, all while defending a deeply flawed system. Simply trusting that the Administration will fix these problems on its own seems like allowing the fox to guard the hen house.” Representative Bishop from Utah also agreed that states need more influence and authority in managing their resources. “States are using resources wisely to recover species and keep them off the list. We should do more to encourage them” according to Bishop.

To listen to the archived hearing webcast, click here.