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For Release: Thursday, October 3, 2019

DEC Accepting Applications for Urban Forestry Projects

$1.2 Million in Grants Available to Increase Number of Public Trees and Strengthen Community Forest Programs Statewide

State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced up to $1.2 million in grant funding is available for urban forestry projects across New York. Grants are available for tree planting, maintenance, tree inventory, community forest management plans, and for educating those who care for public trees.

"Urban and community forests help improve our air and water, save energy, mitigate the negative effects of climate change, and enhance quality of life for New Yorkers living in the city and the suburbs," said Commissioner Seggos. "New York State is committed to protecting and enhancing the state's urban forests and the grants announced today are a valuable tool to support local projects to develop and manage these resources."

Eligible applicants include municipalities, public benefit corporations, public authorities, soil and water conservation districts, community colleges, not-for-profit organizations, and Indian Nations or tribes. Awards will range from $11,000 to $75,000, depending on municipal population. Tree inventories and community forest management plans do not require a match. Tree planting, maintenance, and education projects have a 25 percent match.

Funding for these projects is provided by the State's Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) and is administered by the Urban and Community Forestry Program in DEC's Division of Lands and Forests. Supported by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's record $300 million sustained investments in the EPF, as well as partnerships with communities, environmental groups, and civic organizations, New York has significantly improved the health of community forests. Looking forward, Governor Cuomo recently announced (leaves DEC website) that in next year's State of the State address, he will introduce an aggressive nation-leading habitat initiative called "Revive Mother Nature." Revive Mother Nature will support critical environmental restoration efforts, like the urban forestry projects being sought today, to help increase fish and wildlife habitat while also making communities more resilient in the face of climate change and severe weather.

DEC regional urban foresters are available to provide applicants with technical assistance. DEC staff will review 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 economic impact.

DEC's Urban and Community Forestry Program will host a webinar on Oct. 10 at 10:00 a.m. to educate potential applicants on the grants process and answer questions.

Interested applicants must apply for the grant in Grants Gateway. Instructions and application information about the Oct. 10 webinar are available online at the New York State Grants Gateway website. Not-for-profit applicants are required to prequalify in the Grants Gateway system. DEC recommends that applicants start the process well in advance of the grant application due date. Paper or hand delivered grant applications will not be accepted.

The deadline for applications in Grants Gateway is Dec. 4, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. For more information, call DEC's Division of Lands and Forests at (518) 402-9428 or visit DEC's website and search for "urban forestry."

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