USFS Temporary Bridge Funding Program Guidance for Loggers

Thu June 06, 2024
American Loggers Council

USFS's Temporary Bridge Funding Program is an $8 million multi-year (through 2026) funding program designed to provide access to temporary bridges and/or bridge mats to loggers, forest products manufacturers, and other qualified users through state and tribal agencies (unless designated otherwise by the state agency).

Its primary objective is to preserve water resources during forestry operations that necessitate temporary crossings over streams and other water bodies.

The utilization of logging mats to traverse wet areas and safeguard water quality is deemed an appropriate practice under this program.

How Does It Work?

Competitive grants of up-to $400,000 per year are available to State Agencies (or other parties designated by the State Forester — for example a state logging or forestry association, conservation district or similar organization) to facilitate the purchase of temporary bridges. States will manage the program and develop systems to get temporary bridges and/or mats to users through one of these methods:

  • Rent-to-own program — users (loggers/facilities) rent bridges and pay for a share of the cost of temporary bridges/mats in a rental payment(s) to gain ownership* of and responsibility for the bridges. For example, if a participating State program has a 20 percent rent-to-own requirement, and a logger rents-to own a temporary bridge that cost $15,000, the logger would pay one or more rental payment totaling $3,000 and then own the bridge for their exclusive use.
  • No-cost rental — bridges are rented out to users at no cost for a specific project and then returned to the State after the project is completed.
  • Rental program — bridges are rented to users at a predetermined fee for a project and returned at the end of the project.

***Users who obtain ownership of a temporary bridge of $35,000 or less under a participating State rent-to-own program are exempt from federal interest in the bridge and title remains with the user. Such bridges must be used for the intended purpose of crossing streams and/or protecting water resources.***

Types of Bridges Allowed

State programs will specify what type of bridges are allowed/available. The only real restriction on the federal end is that bridges must be temporary and portable. Bridges may be made of wood or steel and may accommodate short or medium span crossings. A short or medium span bridge has no need of intermediate support. Mats are also acceptable.

  • Short and Medium Span Temporary Timber Bridge
  • Short and Medium Span Temporary Steel Bridge
  • Temporary Metal or Timber Roadway Mats
Why Would I Want a Temporary Bridge, and How Would I Benefit?

Constructing temporary stream crossings can be costly and require placement of large quantities of aggregate, and the investment is tied to a single use. Secondly, larger streams may not be effectively crossed without spanning the stream with a bridge, or crossings may have endangered aquatic species downstream.

Access to a temporary bridge may allow you to be more competitive on tracts that require such crossings, allow you to be more productive and not run out when the stream rises, and reduce expenses related to BMP mitigation work.

Lastly, logging mats are more portable and may provide adequate water quality protection in many cases.

I Want a Temporary Bridge — How Do I Get One?

First, check with your state forest management agency or state association(s) to see if your state has a program in place. If they do not have a program in place, let your state agency know that you are interested. Communicating through your state associations and the American Loggers Council might be an effective method of communicating your interest in the program.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How Do I Report Generated Rental Income? — Rental income generated should be used toward the operation of the temporary bridge program or maintenance of temporary bridges. The income must be tracked and reported on the Financial Status report (SF-425).
  • Who Can Establish a Program Within a State? — State Forestry Agencies or their equivalent forestry agency shall be the lead entity for State grants and should coordinate and collaborate with other State agencies and non-government partners that have an active interest in the use of temporary bridges. These entities may include Soil and Water Conservation Districts, State Timber Associations, State Forestry Associations, State Logger Education Programs, other State government entities, and State Recognized Tribes as appropriate. State Forestry Agencies may delegate the grant recipient authority to a responsible entity within the state. A letter from the State Forester authorizing such action is required. Procurement of the temporary bridges and associated contracting must be done in accordance with the procurement and contracting regulations of each individual participating state. Any non-state government agency applicants would need to be registered in and follow the procurement regulations in 2 CFR 200.
  • Can Funds Be Preapproved and Received in Advance of a Bridge Purchase? — A grant recipient may submit an application for advanced payment 30 days prior to the actual purchase of a bridge. An estimate for the bridge from the manufacturer must accompany the application.
  • How Much Funding Can an Applicant Apply for Under This Program? — Regular funding requests are capped at $400,000 per application but larger funding amounts will be considered if sustainably justified in the application. It is suggested that an applicant discuss requests over $400,000 with WO Bridge Program Manager at
  • Besides a Bridge Purchase, What Other Expenses ARe Allowed? — An applicant may include: De minimis (10 percent) for indirect costs as a percentage of total modified direct costs which exclude equipment costs. — e.g. bridge costs or as specified on a Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA); 15 percent of the total bridge costs for program administration for personnel and travel costs; 10 percent of total bridge costs for maintenance; 3 percent of total bridge costs for education and program marketing.
  • When Can I Apply? — The program has a rolling application period. Proposals are due the last Friday of the month in April, August, and December through 2026.