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For Release: Thursday, August 17, 2017

DEC Now Accepting Applications for Southern Pine Beetle Community Recovery Projects

Grants Will Help Communities in Nassau and Suffolk Counties Recover in Wake of Southern Pine Beetle

Governor Cuomo Announced $3 Million Commitment to Manage Spread of Invasive Pest in June 2017

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is accepting applications for Southern Pine Beetle Community Recovery grants, Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today. These grants are part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's $3 million commitment to manage the spread of this invasive pest.

Through these grants, communities can receive funding to remove trees that have been infested or killed by the southern pine beetle (SPB), replant impacted areas with native trees and other plants, and conduct forest management activities, such as prescribed burns, that would make the forests less susceptible to SPB attack. These grants are funded by the state Environmental Protection Fund (EPF).

"New York State is committed to managing southern pine beetle populations and helping communities recover from the significant impacts left in the wake of these destructive beetles," Commissioner Seggos said. "These grants complement DEC's ongoing efforts to address invasive species, community resiliency, environmental degradation, and environmental justice, and will help safeguard the vital ecosystem of the Central Pine Barrens."

Grants are 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. Awards will range from $25,000 to $75,000, and have a match requirement of 25 percent. Grant proposals should detail the scope of work to be done and how the project will provide environmental, economic, and/or social benefits to the community. When applicants select projects, consideration should be given to underserved neighborhoods. Applicants are also encouraged to form regional partnerships and submit proposals that help to implement watershed protection and Smart Growth initiatives with green solutions that will have the support of their Regional Economic Development Council.

DEC foresters are available to provide applicants with technical assistance. DEC will review the completed grant applications and select recipients based on established rating criteria including: cost-effectiveness, projected benefits, use of recommended standards in implementation, community outreach, education, support, and regional economic impact.

Senator Ken LaValle said, "In this year's budget, we allocated $3 million in funding to fight the Southern Pine Beetle. It is critically important to halt this beetle before it destroys the trees in the sensitive environmental areas that we have fought so long and hard to preserve. I am pleased that the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation is making the grants available to stop the Southern Pine Beetle from spreading. As we move forward, we will continue to assess the situation as we strive to reduce the beetle's impact on our forests. I urge all entitled entities to apply for the grants as soon as possible."

Assemblyman Steve Englebright, Chair of the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee, said, "By ensuring that these important habitats are restored and protected, we are creating more sustainable communities across New York. I commend Governor Cuomo and all of the local communities involved for their efforts to create healthier and more resilient water bodies along the Hudson River."

Assemblyman Fred Thiele said, "The invasion of the southern pine beetle represents a significant threat to one of the state's most important ecosystems: the Central Pine Barrens. We have worked for decades to acquire more than 50,000 acres of Central Pine Barrens on Eastern Long Island. The health of this resource is critical for our water supply and our rural character. I am pleased that working with the Governor and the State DEC, the State Legislature has provided $3 million to protect public property impacted by this pest by funding sound management practices and restoration of impacted areas."

Applicants may obtain all necessary directions and forms for Southern Pine Beetle Community Recovery Grants on DEC's website. Applications should be submitted through the New York State Grants Gateway and will be accepted until 4:00 p.m. on October 19, 2017. For more information, call DEC at (518) 402-9425.

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