Department of Environmental Conservation

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Urban and Community Forestry Grants

Recipients of DEC Urban and Community Forestry grants should visit our Lands and Forests Grantee Resources webpage for instructions and forms associated with their projects and requirements.

Round 15

DEC announced the winners of Round 15 grants in December 2020.

Applications for Round 15 were due December 4, 2019. A grant information and Grants Gateway training webinar was held October 10, 2019. You can view a recording of the webinar on YouTube (leaves DEC website). View Questions and Answers for Round 15 (leaves DEC website). On this Grants Portal page, type "forestry" into the grant opportunity box, click search, choose one of the grant opportunities, and scroll down to find the link for questions and answers in the right-hand box.

On this page:

Grant Goal and Overview

The purpose of this grant is to improve the health of urban and community forests and to increase the sustainability of forestry programs.

This reimbursement grant program focuses on partnerships, volunteers, community groups, professionals and outreach and education because these are components of strong and sustainable community forestry programs. Eligible project categories include tree inventories, management plans, tree planting, maintenance, and education programming for those who care for community trees. Some categories require a 25% match. Grant funds are available from the NYS Environmental Protection Fund and are managed and allocated by DEC.

Grant proposals are evaluated for cost effectiveness, projected benefits, use of recommended standards in implementation, community outreach and education, local support, and regional impact. Appropriate consideration is given to under-served neighborhoods, as well as environmental issues that could be addressed with green solutions. DEC foresters can provide technical assistance to applicants and assist with tree lists for planting grants.

Kids planting a tree

Eligible Applicants and Projects

For the complete eligibility requirements, project descriptions, timeframe and scoring information please read the Request For Applications (PDF). Following the instructions in this document is essential in submitting a successful application.

Eligible Applicants

For the purposes of this grant program the following entities are considered eligible applicants:

  1. New York municipalities and quasi-governmental entities including: counties, cities, towns, villages, public benefit corporations, public authorities, municipal corporations, soil and water conservation districts, community colleges, and Indian nations or tribes recognized by the State or the United States with a reservation wholly or partly within the boundaries of New York State, or any combination thereof.
  2. Not-For-Profit Corporations (NFPs): an organization that is subject to New York State's NFP Corporation Law and is qualified for tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Federal Internal Revenue Code. An eligible applicant must be a community-based NFP corporation, or a community-based organization may partner with an NFP that will serve as their fiscal sponsor. Eligible NFPs must complete an applicant prequalification process in Grants Gateway. For more information on NFP pre-qualification visit Grants Gateway's Grantee documents (leaves DEC website).

Not Eligible: Academic institutions and foundations supporting the maintenance of academic campuses are not eligible applicants in this round of grant funding, except as allowed under the above definition of "municipalities and quasi-governmental entities. Individuals and unincorporated groups may not apply, but an eligible not-for-profit organization, known as a fiscal sponsor, may apply on behalf of an individual or unincorporated group.

Projects

Projects must be implemented on non-state-owned properties (municipal public property, i.e. street and park trees), privately owned parkland and open to the public (e.g. cemeteries) or alongside a state-owned roadway in a city, town, or village in a location where they provide a public benefit. Projects may be implemented further from a public roadway if within 10 feet either side of a paved or maintained multiple use trail. These guidelines apply to most grant opportunities; tree inventory, management plans, tree maintenance and tree planting.

UCF projects must be one of the following five project types. Each project type has different program objectives and requirements.

(1) Tree Inventory

Completed tree inventories must include the following information:

  • Column headings and description of column content
  • Measurement of tree DBH (diameter breast height) in inches
  • Tree species - genus/species AND common tree names needed
  • Street address location
  • GPS coordinates
  • Location and size of empty and/or potential tree planting sites/stumps appropriates to applicant's current planting and removal patterns
  • Crown condition and/or percentage of crown dieback (excellent to dead rating)
  • Maintenance recommendation (prune, train, remove, etc.)
  • i-Tree ECO summary report of environmental benefits

Tree inventory examples:

(2) Community Forest Management Plan (CFMP)

Completed management plans must be supervised by an ISA Certified Arborist and include the following information customized to each community:

  • A vision for the long-term community forest and a strategy for how to care for community trees
  • The use of the tree inventory which identifies management needs - i.e. pruning rotations, removal implementation, and prioritization of work load
  • The development of budgets and work plans, including timelines and tasks, to meet that vision
  • Urban forest environmental benefit analysis of environmental issues such as: water quality, air quality, reduce urban heat island effect, energy efficiencies, storm water management, and health

CFMP examples:

(3) Tree Planting

(4) Tree Maintenance

(5) Education Programming for those who care for public trees (NFPs and quasi-governmental entities only)

Process Overview

All applications must be filed through Grants Gateway (leaves DEC website); paper applications are not accepted. NFPs must submit pre-qualification documents and be pre-qualified before the application due date. The State reserves 5 business days to review submitted prequalification applications. All applicants are strongly encouraged to submit their applications well in advance of the application deadline. Late applications will not be not accepted.

Please visit the New York State Grants Management website (leaves DEC website) for more information about Grants Gateway and prequalification, or contact Grants Management via email. The Grants Management help desk/hotline can be reached at (518) 474-5595.

All eligible applications submitted by the due date will be reviewed and scored by members of a DEC review team in accordance the scoring criteria described in the RFA. Scores are averaged across multiple reviews in several tiers, resulting in a final average score for the application. A final score that is 75% or greater of total points is required to be considered awardable.

Grantees are notified of awards by email and in an official DEC award letter. Applicants selected to receive a grant award are required to executive a State of New York Master Contract for Grants within 60-90 days from time of award notification. For complete details see the RFA.

How to Apply

Please read and review the RFA for Round 15 (PDF). The PowerPoint presentation (PDF) given at grant information sessions across the state in August and September 2019 is available for anyone who was not able to attend.

All applications must be filed through Grants Gateway (leaves DEC website); paper applications are not accepted. Visit the Grants Gateway login page (leaves DEC website) to create a new account or update your account. Review your account annually to ensure the information is up to date and documents are not expired. Pre-qualification materials for NFPs may be completed before the UCF grants open. Grants gateway provides training materials for those not familiar with the system, including the comprehensive Vendor User Manual (leaves DEC website).

DEC Urban and Community Foresters by Region and County

* Denotes ISA certification

DEC urban and community foresters can provide advice, professional guidance and workplan review as part of this grant process. They also are available as a resource for technical assistance and advice throughout the year.

Region 1: Nassau, Suffolk

Region 2: NYC all boroughs

Region 3: Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Orange, Sullivan, Ulster, Dutchess

Region 4: Albany, Schenectady, Schoharie, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Columbia

Region 4: Otsego, Delaware, Greene

Region 5: Fulton, Hamilton, Saratoga, Warren, Washington

Region 5: Clinton, Essex, Franklin

Region 6: Herkimer, Oneida

Region 6: Lewis

Region 6: Jefferson

Region 6: St. Lawrence

Region 7: Oswego, Onondaga (north)

Region 7: Cortland, Tioga, Onondaga (south)

Region 7: Cortland, Cayuga, Tompkins

Region 7: Broome, Chenango, Madison

Region 8: Wayne, Monroe, Genesee, Orleans

Region 8: Ontario, Livingston, Seneca

Region 8: Chemung, Schuyler, Yates

Region 8: Steuben

Region 9: Erie, Niagara, Wyoming, Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua