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DEC accepting applications for urban forestry projects

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Thu, Dec 22nd 2016 02:35 pm

Grants will enhance green space in cities throughout state

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is accepting applications to fund urban forestry projects that will enhance landscapes and provide green spaces in urban areas across the state, Commissioner Basil Seggos announced.

"Trees and green space are an important part of a community, especially in densely populated urban areas where such resources are limited," Seggos said. "Gov. Cuomo and members of the State Legislature understand the benefits of community and urban forests for protecting our air and water and improving quality of life. These grants are a valuable tool to support local projects to develop and manage these resources." 

This year, the Environmental Protection Fund is investing $2.3 million in tree planting, maintenance grants, tree inventory and community forestry management plans. Grants are available to municipalities, public benefit corporations, public authorities, school districts, soil and water conservation districts, community colleges, not-for-profit organizations, and Indian nations or tribes. Awards range from $11,000 to $75,000, depending on municipal population. Tree inventories and community forestry management plans have no match. Tree planting and maintenance projects have a 25 percent match.

Urban forestry grants complement DEC's ongoing initiatives to address climate change, environmental degradation, environmental justice and urban sprawl. Over the past five years, DEC has funded more than $4.6 million in grant projects that have a total value of more than $10 million. 

This year's grant proposals should detail the scope of work and how the project will provide environmental, economic and/or social benefits in the community. When applicants select projects, consideration should be given to underserved neighborhoods, as well as environmental issues of local concern. Applicants are also encouraged to form regional partnerships and submit proposals that help to implement watershed protection and initiatives with green solutions that will have the support of their Regional Economic Development Council.

DEC foresters are available to provide applicants with technical assistance. DEC staff will review completed grant applications and select 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.

The Department of Environmental Conservation's urban forestry program will host a webinar at 2 p.m. Jan. 5 to educate potential applicants on the grants process and answer questions. To register for this webinar, go to: https://meetny.webex.com/meetny/j.php?RGID=rb01dbcfb520aee2a273dd76ab2f8c20d.

Applicants may apply for the grant in the "Grants Gateway." Instructions and application are available here: https://grantsgateway.ny.gov/IntelliGrants_NYSGG/module/nysgg/goportal.aspx.

Paper or hand-delivered grant applications will not be accepted. The deadline for applications on the "Grants Gateway" is 3 p.m. March 1, 2017. For more information, call DEC at 518-402-9425.

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