Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Trees for Tribs

A Program of the State Tree Nursery at Saratoga

treed buffer along a river
Example of treed buffer along a river

Skip directly to upcoming planting events.

Since 2007, New York State's Trees for Tribs Program has been working to reforest New York's tributaries, or small creeks and streams, which flow into and feed larger rivers and lakes. The goal of the program is to plant young trees and shrubs along stream corridors, also known as riparian areas, in order to prevent erosion, increase flood water retention, improve wildlife and stream habitat, as well as protect water quality. Trees for Tribs has engaged more than 7,600 volunteers in planting more than 66,000 trees and shrubs at 470 sites across New York State.

Trees for Tribs provides landowners, municipalities, and conservation organizations with low-cost or no-cost native plants and free technical assistance. Native bareroot trees and shrubs are provided by the Saratoga State Tree Nursery, which has specialized in reforesting New York State since 1911.
Trees for Tribs focuses on comprehensive watershed restoration designed to protect "green infrastructure," and serves as the first line of defense against storm and flooding events, protecting property, water quality, and fish and wildlife habitat. In addition to planting trees, the program also promotes best management practices for communities and encourages new programs, policies and investments in tributary protection.

How to Get Involved

Volunteers planting tree seedlings

DEC's Trees for Tribs initiative offers low-cost to no-cost native trees and shrubs for qualifying streamside restoration planting projects. Trees for Tribs currently has six watershed Coordinators who can assist with plant selection, design a site planting plan and provide additional technical assistance to ensure your project's success.

Trees for Tribs is accepting applications (PDF, 140 KB) for planting sites in the following coordinated watersheds: Champlain, Mohawk, Hudson Estuary, Croton, Housatonic, lower Genesee, and Chesapeake. Applicants in the Hudson Estuary and Croton watersheds should apply directly to the Hudson Estuary Program and Croton Program (leaves DEC website). Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis with preference given to those received by March 1 for spring planting.

Applications will be filled according to the following priorities:

tree seedlings in a bed at the State Nursery
  • Local non-profit watershed groups, land trusts, and other environmental organizations will be given preference.
  • Project sites located in high profile, public or highly visible areas, such as town parks or adjacent to roads will be given preference.
  • Sorry, plants are not available for:
    • large projects where buffer restoration costs should have been included in the project proposal from the outset, particularly projects involving channel realignment or other major excavation work.
    • state and federally funded riparian buffer programs, which provide cost-share and other funding for planting trees and shrubs.

Species Available

Native tree and shrub species are supplied at no or low cost from DEC's State Tree Nursery in Saratoga. Species planting will be determined on a project by project basis depending on existing conditions. Additional species/plants are available for purchase at the State Nursery's web page. Bareroot tree seedlings are used in the spring. Containerized plugs are typically used for fall plantings.

Where is Trees for Tribs offered?

Map showing watersheds participating in the Trees for Tribs program.

Funding for the Trees for Tribs program is currently available in the watersheds highlighted in the map. Program offerings may vary slightly based on location and staff availability.

Not on the map? Contact the Trees for Tribs Coordinator to determine your program eligibility.

Links to Local Trees for Tribs Programs

Useful Resources

Our Statewide Partners


  • Important Links
  • Contact for this Page
  • Trees for Tribs
    Division of Lands & Forests
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-4250
    518-402-9405
    Send us an email
  • This Page Covers
  • Page applies to all NYS regions