Department of Environmental Conservation

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Urban and Community Forestry Grants

Grants information sessions are being offered in August and September around the state in advance of Round 15. Visit the Activities page for dates and locations near you.

Program Overview

DEC is committed to implementing a successful Urban and Community Forestry (UCF) Program and is dedicated to providing support and assistance to communities in the development of comprehensive projects to create healthy urban and community forests while enhancing the quality of life for urban residents.

The UCF grants program is a reimbursement grant program for communities based on partnerships, volunteers, community groups, and professionals. Eligible project categories included tree inventories and management plans, tree planting, maintenance, and education programming. Funds are made available from the Environmental Protection Fund and are managed and allocated by DEC. Some categories require a 25% match of the grant amount. Grant proposals are evaluated for cost effectiveness, projected benefits, use of recommended standards in implementation, community outreach and education, 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

Eligibility Overview

For the complete eligibility requirements please read the Request For Applications (RFA) when it becomes available for Round 15 in Fall 2019.


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: an organization that is subject to New York State's Not-For-Profit 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 not-for-profit corporation (NFP) community-based organization, 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 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
  2. Community Forest Management Plan
  3. Tree Planting
  4. Tree Maintenance
  5. Education Programming (NFPs and quasi-governmental entities only)

Process Overview

All applications must go through Grants Gateway, 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 are 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.

A question and answer period is open before and during the start of the application period. All questions and their answers from this period are then uploaded into Grants Gateway for all applicants to view.

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

Round 15 for the UCF Grants program is expected fall 2019. Please read and review the RFA when it becomes available to ensure your application meets all requirements. You may view the previous, Round 14, RFA for information only.

Grant information sessions are available to assist applicants with questions and concerns. Visit the activities page to find an information session near you.

Visit Grants Gateway (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).