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For Release: Thursday, February 11, 2021

DEC Announces Third Round of Annual 'Buffer in a Bag' Program

Free Seedlings Available to Qualified Landowners for Streamside Plantings

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced that the application period for the Trees for Tribs' Buffer in a Bag Program is now open. Private and public landowners who qualify may apply for a free bag of 25 tree and shrub seedlings for planting near streams, rivers, or lakes to help stabilize banks, protect water quality, and improve wildlife habitat.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "The goal of the Buffer in a Bag program is to increase forested riparian buffers across the state by encouraging landowners to undertake small-scale plantings. Streamside plantings help decrease erosion, slow floodwaters, and protect fish and wildlife habitat. Every landowner participating in this program is bolstering DEC's efforts and our partners' work to protect water quality and safeguard our communities from flooding."

To qualify, landowners must have property in New York State with at least 50 feet that borders a stream, river, or lake, and provide photos or a map of the planting location. Previous recipients are encouraged to reapply to continue to build their riparian buffer. Applicants are eligible for one bag of 25 seedlings and recipients are chosen on a first-come, first-served basis. A total of 500 bags will be available statewide for this round of applications.

Landowners in the Hudson River Estuary watershed (PDF) may be eligible for additional assistance with streamside planting projects. For more details, visit the Hudson River Estuary Program's webpage.

Seedlings are provided by DEC's Colonel William F. Fox Memorial Saratoga Tree Nursery and the Trees for Tribs program is supported by the State's Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). Governor Cuomo's proposed 2021-22 Executive Budget includes sustained record funding for the EPF at $300 million.

Visit DEC's website for more information about the Buffer in a Bag application process and requirements. Applications are due by 3:00 p.m. on April 12. Contact with questions and visit Trees for Tribs Program on DEC's website to learn more.

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