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For Release: Thursday, January 5, 2017

DEC Awards More than $513,000 in Grants to Suffolk County Communities Impacted by Southern Pine Beetle

Community Recovery Projects Receive Environmental Protection Fund Grants to Manage Southern Pine Beetle Impacts

Southern Pine Beetle Community Recovery Grants totaling more than $513,000 have been awarded to seven projects in Suffolk County that will assist with recovery efforts from Southern Pine Beetle damage, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. The projects will focus on the removal of dead and infested trees. The completion of these projects will address safety concerns related to an increasing number of dead trees while contributing to DEC's suppression efforts to help protect the Central Pine Barrens. The Central Pine Barrens are vital to protecting water quality, wildlife habitat, endangered species, and recreational opportunities in Suffolk County.

"The cost of managing the negative impacts of the Southern Pine Beetle is a significant hardship faced by the communities of Long Island and other parts of New York State," DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. "Thanks to Governor Cuomo's leadership in providing the grants through New York's Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), the State is offering this critical assistance to alleviate the burden of removing hazard trees and helping to protect the remaining canopy along with the important ecological and economical services these trees provide."

The Southern Pine Beetle Community Recovery Grants are part of New York's ongoing initiatives to address the beetle and provide funding directly to impacted communities. The objectives and goals of the awarded projects coincide with DEC's ongoing active management to slow the spread of the beetle.

DEC staff reviewed 10 completed grant applications and selected seven 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. A full list of Southern Pine Beetle Community Recovery Projects is below:

Recipient County Project Award
Suffolk County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation Suffolk Lakeland and Southaven Hazard Tree Removal $75,000.00
Suffolk County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation Suffolk Sears Bellows County Park Suppression and Hazard Removal $75,000.00
Suffolk County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation Suffolk Southaven Southern Pine Beetle Suppression $75,000.00
Town of Brookhaven Suffolk Suppression of the Southern Pine Beetle $63,869.50
Town of Southampton Suffolk Town of Southampton Highway Department Southern Pine Beetle Tree Removal $75,000.00
Town of Southampton Suffolk Southampton Town Parks Department: suppression cutting and removal of standing dead trees at Red Creek Park and adjacent parkland $75,000.00
Town of Southampton Suffolk Southern Pine Beetle Suppression Cutting at Former Baird Property $75,000.00

Senator Tom O'Mara (R,C,I-Big Flats), Chairman of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, said, "The Southern Pine Beetle recovery project stands as yet another example of how a strong, fully funded Environmental Protection Fund makes economic and environmental sense for communities and taxpayers across New York State, including these communities on Long Island. The EPF provides badly needed assistance to help local communities confront challenges and address them without adding to the burden on local property taxpayers."

New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. said, "The Southern Pine Beetle caused extensive damage to Long Island's Central Pine Barrens. Today's announcement acknowledges New York State and DEC's commitment to building a truly comprehensive management and control program by providing financial relief for municipalities struggling with the repercussion of prior and current infestations."

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