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Trees for Tribs

A Program of the State Tree Nursery at Saratoga

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

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 8,751 volunteers in planting more than 101,416 trees and shrubs at 614 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.

click to donate to help plant trees

If you are not able to plant trees, you can still take part in reforesting our streams and forests by donating to support tree plantings across New York State for the future of our natural resources. Simply click the Donate to Help Plant Trees button to make your donation today.

Trees for Tribs 2018 Events

Saturday, April 14, (9 AM - 12 PM) - Oatka Creek Park in Hamlet of Garbutt, Town of Wheatland

Oatka Creek Watershed Committee will sponsor a Trees for Tribs planting area maintenance event at Oatka Creek Park. Meet at 9 AM at the Fishermen's Parking Area off Union Street in Hamlet of Garbutt, Town of Wheatland, in Monroe County. Contact: Peter Lent at lent@frontiernet.net. In May 2016, more than 60 volunteers planted 1500 trees & shrubs in this riparian area to supplement the tree canopy that was dominated by ash trees that were significantly infested with Emerald Ash Borer. We will inventory live and dead plants, reset tubes and stakes on live plants and remove tubes, stakes, mats, and flags for dead plants.

Friday, April 27 (9 AM - 4 PM) - DEC Region 3 Office in New Paltz

Trees for Tribs is teaming up with the Hudson Valley SCA to put 3,000 bareroot plants into pots for future plantings.
If you are interested in volunteering for this event or would like more event details, please contact Alex Curtze at alex.curtze@dec.ny.gov.

Saturday, May 19, 2018 (8:30 AM - 4 PM) - Town of Caneadea, Allegany County

Trees for Tribs is teaming up with Allegany County Soil & Water Conservation District and the Genesee RiverWatch to plant more than 1,000 trees and shrubs along the Genesee River. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Pete Lent (Genesee RiverWatch): lent@frontiernet.net

Statewide Riparian Opportunity Assessment

The goal of the Statewide Riparian Opportunity Assessment is to support the identification and prioritization of riparian sites for restoration or protection, in support of Trees for Tribs to improve wildlife habitat, water quality, climate resiliency, and to provide flood protection during storm events. The assessment products can also be used for related conservation work, including: conserving and restoring native fish and wildlife biodiversity and habitats, improving water quality, and enhancing community resiliency and ecosystem integrity. The results have been packaged into a suite of tools that conservation practitioners, watershed stakeholders, and others can use to inform their decisions about where to perform riparian restoration and protection work in their region. The webpage for the assessment, linked above, includes a recorded webinar about the assessment, and how to get started using it. Site-specific knowledge is imperative and field validation is a necessary step before actual implementation of conservation actions by those who use these tools.

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 of new york state showing watersheds in the trees for tribs program including Genesee, Susquehanna, Mohawk, Champlain, Hudson Estuary, and Croton

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

Trees for Tribs Documents

Related Information

Our Statewide Partners


More about Trees for Tribs:

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