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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 16

Round 16 is now open. Approximately $3 million in Urban and Community Forestry (UCF) grants is available from the NYS Environmental Protection Fund for tree inventories, community forest management plans, tree planting and tree maintenance. The Request for Applications (RFA) (PDF) outlines deadlines, eligible applicants and projects, application scoring, and a list of local DEC urban foresters who can provide technical assistance to applicants. Some key dates include:

  • 4/28/23 - Application period begins
  • 5/4/23 - Grant information session. View a recording of this information session.
  • 6/21/23 - Deadline for submitting UCF1 - Tree Inventory and Community Forestry Management Plan applications
  • 8/16/23 - Deadline for submitting UCF2 - Tree Planting applications, and Tree Maintenance applications

DEC's Urban and Community Forestry (UCF) Program held an informational webinar for the anticipated release of Round 16 UCF RFA. A recording of the March 29 pre-RFA webinar is available for review. A PDF of the PowerPoint presentation is also available for review.

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 Round 16 Request For Applications (RFA)(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, colleges and universities, 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 must be implemented in New York State 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.

UCF projects must be one of the following four project types. Each project type has different program objectives and requirements. Tree inventory and community forest management plan are the only two projects that may be combined in one application.

(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 and goals 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

CFMP examples:

(3) Tree Planting

(4) Tree Maintenance

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 reviewers, resulting in a final average score for the application. A final score that is 50% or greater of total points is required to be considered awardable.

Grantees are notified of awards by email. 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

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

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

Region 1: Suffolk

Region 1: Nassau and 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

Region 5: Clinton, Essex, Franklin

Region 5: Saratoga, Warren, Washington

Region 6: Herkimer, Oneida

Region 6: Lewis, Jefferson

Region 6: St. Lawrence

Region 7: Oswego, Onondaga (north)

Region 7: Cortland, Tioga, Onondaga (south)

Region 7: Cayuga, Tompkins

Region 7: Broome

Region 7: 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

Tree Planting in Disadvantaged Communities after Ash Loss

This grant is now CLOSED.

See the Request For Applications (RFA) (PDF) for detailed information. The December 9, 2022 information session is now available to view. This is a special grant opportunity made possible in part by federal and state funds. (Information on Round 16 of the regular Urban and Community Forestry Grant will be updated below as dates are finalized.) Up to $350,000 will be available for Tree Planting in Disadvantaged Communities after Ash Loss. The November 9th information webinar was recorded. (Please note that the presentation starts at about 14 minutes in to the recording.) Eligible applicants include: Municipalities, Indian nations or tribes, and 501(c)(3) not-for-profit (NFP) corporations.