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Cost-Share Grants

A new round of urban forestry grants will be available in 2016. You may use the below documents from the previous round to plan for the next application period. If you would like to receive a notice, send your email or street address to be added to the contact list.

Previous Grant Related Documents

View Request for Applications (PDF, 363 KB)

Letter to Grant Applicants
Face Page (PDF, 670 KB)
Standard Terms and Conditions (PDF, 220 KB)
Attachment A-1: Program Specific Terms and Conditions (PDF, 105 KB)
Attachment D: Payment and Reporting Schedule (PDF, 650 KB)
Signature Page (PDF, 590 KB)

Previously Awarded Grants

Please note: Any questions about previously awarded grants should be directed to the contact below. See the FAQ's on this page for answers to the most commonly asked questions.

General Overview

DEC is committed to providing support and assistance to communities in comprehensive planning, management, and education to create healthy urban and community forests, and enhance the quality of life for urban residents through its Cost Share Grant program.

At least $500,000 in grants will be available to municipalities, public benefit corporations, public authorities, school districts and not-for-profit organizations that have a public ownership interest in the property or are acting on behalf of a public property owner. Communities may request from $2,500 to $50,000, depending on municipal population.

Eligible project categories include tree inventories and management plans; tree planting, maintenance and invasive pest detection survey, and $1,000 Quick Start Arbor Day Grants. Funds are made available from the Environmental Protection Fund and will be managed and allocated by DEC.

Eligible U&CF projects may include any eligible U&CF activity (as described within this application), must be located on public properties or rights-of-way, and must be equally matched by local resources. Applications must indicate if the proposed project complements other federal, state, and/or municipal projects, and how the project will impact environmental, social, and/or economic issues. Applicants should give appropriate consideration to under-served neighborhoods within their urban areas when selecting sites for projects.

Applications must:

  1. Describe the methodology that will be used to achieve the project
  2. Include an itemized budget that details all relevant project-related expenses including eligible matching funds when required.
  3. Include information on the cost effectiveness of meeting project objectives and deliverables.
  4. Present a timetable for completion. Be postmarked or delivered by 4:00 pm of the date the application is due December 5, 2013.
  5. Address proprieties outlined in the Forest Action Plan
Kids planting a tree

How to Apply

Applications are available using the links at the top of the page or by contacting Urban Forestry, Division of Lands and Forests at (518)402-9425 or email.

DEC foresters are available to provide applicants with technical assistance. DEC staff will review the completed grant applications. Recipients will be chosen based on the established rating criteria including: cost effectiveness; project budget; projected benefits; use of recommended standards for implementation; community outreach and education; local support and regional impact.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do we comply with acquiring Regional Economic Council Recommendation?
There are two options available to comply with the Regional Economic Council recommendations. Option 1 - There is a form in the application that can be completed by a council member from your area that states your project is in line with their Strategic Plan. Option 2 - You can review your Regional Economic Council's Strategic Plan and attach a supplemental narrative to the application describing the economic benefits of the proposed project and how the project aligns with the strategies of the regional economic plan. Please state the page and paragraph of the Strategic Plan your proposal compliments. You can find a list of the council members and their strategic plans at: (See link in right-hand column). Click on your area on the map and search for Strategic Plan.

2. Are there any trees that are not acceptable for street tree planting?
Yes. Any species of ash tree is not acceptable for street tree planting due to the recent discoveries of the Emerald Ash Borer in New York State. This invasive insect is extremely harmful to all species of ash trees, and can result in probable tree mortality. Work with your DEC forester for a comprehensive answer to this question.

3.. Can Quick Start Arbor Day funding be used for a 2012 or prior Arbor Day event?
No. As grants will not be awarded until after Arbor Day 2012 is past, and expenses that are incurred prior to the contract period are ineligible for funding, these grants will be used to plan and hold events as soon as the contract start date is established.

4. Can other State funding be used as match?
No. Federal or other State funding will not be considered as eligible match.

5. Will our application lose points because costs for everything, including trees, equipment, and labor are much higher in our geographic area than in other parts of the State?
No. DEC Foresters in our Regional offices will be participating in application evaluations to help us determine if a budget is reasonable for the location of the project.

6. Can a town, county, or partnership of municipalities with a population over 65,000, qualify to apply for the larger grant amount for "large cities"?
Please check the list in the RFA to see if your community is eligible for the large community category.

7. Can tree planting or other projects be done on property owned by a not-for-profit?
No. Projects must be located on public property or rights-of-way.

8. Is a community receiving funding from a prior grant year eligible to apply again?
Yes, provided it is not for the same activities of the same project.

9. Are SUNY colleges and universities eligible for the Urban Forestry Grants?
No. State Agencies are not eligible applicants for this grant.

10. If we want to apply for a tree planting grant for projects in two different sections of the Village, should we apply for each section separately, or on one grant application?
You should apply for one tree planting grant and give descriptions of both areas within your Village in which you will be planting. However, if the dollar amount of the project exceeds the maximum in the small community category, multiple applications will be accepted. Be sure to include photos of both sites as well.

11. If a municipality wants to hold an arbor day celebration in partnership with another municipality on the same property or location, will they have to file separate applications?
Yes, all parties involved will have to file separate applications indicating the separation of duties or tasks to be completed by either party so that there is no duplication of effort.

12. Does everyone applying for an Urban and Community Forestry grant need to submit documentation of ownership?
No, only not-for-profit organizations. Not-for-profits must be able to document adequate ownership rights in and to the subject property, and that the ownership or use of the subject property is of a public nature. A duly licensed attorney is to provide an opinion of counsel certifying that the applicant has title or other property right or license in and to the property, that such right allows use of a public nature, and the right to undertake the project.

13. If a "Free Library" is incorporated as a 501.c.3 (not-for-profit) agency, its property is not technically publicly owned, but is dedicated for "free and open access" and receives public funding support, would they be an eligible grant recipient for projects on the library's property?
Not-for-profits acting on behalf of a public ownership interest in the property or acting on behalf of a public property owner may apply. Such an interest may be outright ownership (fee simple), or a lesser interest such as development rights, an easement, or a long-term lease. The application must include letters of support from all participating partners, and/or municipalities stating that they will participate in the project. Not-for-Profits who submit applications must be able to document adequate ownership rights in and to the subject property, and that the ownership or use of the subject property is of a public nature. A duly licensed attorney is to provide an opinion of counsel certifying that the applicant has title or other property right or license in and to the property, that such right allows use of a public nature, and the right to undertake the project.

14. Can a city, village or town agency(s), such as DOT or DEP, apply for a grant under the "municipality" category?
Yes, they can apply and do the work.

15. Can the resolution portion be fulfilled by a letter of support from a city, village or town agency(s)'s, DOT or DEP, commissioner?
No, a resolution will need to be passed by the city, village or town agency(s) commissioner's board or decision panel. A sample Resolution is included in the application/instruction packet.

16. What pay rates can we use for volunteer/donated labor?
There are two different volunteer/donated labor rates. One rate is for unskilled labor. Unskilled labor would be work performed by professional or skilled laborer outside their expertise and must be computed at minimum wage.The other rate is for donated labor by skilled or professional laborers performing work aligned with their expertise. Their rates are computed at the job rate within the recipient's county. You may use the prevailing wage rates from the U.S. Department of Labor's website at: (An active link to the Department of Labor is located in the right column of this page.)

17. Our Town is considering applying for one or more of the U&CF grants. However, we would like to know what the definition of an "under-served neighborhood" is before we make a final decision.
There is a definition of the term "under-served" found in the application/instructions. It is under "What types of projects are eligible for funding? Tree Planting..." page 5, which states "... appropriate consideration to under-served urban neighborhoods (all potential neighborhoods whose demographic, geographic, or economic characteristics impede or prevent their access to adequate canopy cover and other benefits of trees)" and also under "Tree Maintenance...".

Contact for previously Awarded Grants

Debra Gorka, Forester
Lands and Forests
270 Michigan Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14203
FAX 716/851-7005

More about Cost-Share Grants: