Urban forestry grants totaling $966,489 are being awarded to communities and organizations across New York, state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. The New York State Urban and Community Forestry Program provides technical assistance to communities through local DEC Urban Foresters and ReLeaf volunteers. Financial assistance is available from the state through competitive cost-share grants.
“Urban forestry initiatives are key to promoting clean air, clean water, energy savings, habitat creation, and improved quality of life for New York residents,” Commissioner Martens, said. “These grants build upon our goals to improve the environment across the state and will have a lasting impact by creating cleaner, healthier communities for both current and future generations to enjoy.”
Funding for the grants comes from the state’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) to support a variety of projects involving community tree planting, tree inventories and management plans, as well as green infrastructure projects such as rain gardens and green roofs. A total of 62 recipients from cities, villages, towns and not-for-profit organizations across the state have been chosen.
Quick Start grants of $1,000 each were awarded to 15 communities to help fund the creation of local tree planting programs and Arbor Day celebrations. The grants provide funding for trees, soil, labor and materials needed to complete the projects. Awards will be matched by funds ranging from in-kind services, donations, and project-related purchases such as garden tools and additional trees.
Recipients were chosen from 163 applicants based on criteria that included the contributions the projects will have on the local environment. In addition to environmental and forestry components, reviewers considered how projects would contribute to environmental justice by factoring in population density, relative economic status, and outreach to underserved communities. Applicants were encouraged to form regional partnerships and submit proposals that help implement watershed protection and Smart Growth initiatives with green solutions.