Funding supports community tree projects to help protect air quality, water quality & natural resources
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos recently announced grant awards totaling $1.4 million for urban forestry projects across the state to help communities’ inventory, plant and maintain public trees. The grants are part of DEC’s urban and community forestry program, which works to increase public awareness of the importance of trees and helps communities develop and implement comprehensive tree management plans to create healthy forests while enhancing quality of life for residents.
“Healthy community forests provide a host of environmental, economic and social benefits, including wildlife habitat, watershed protection, flood reduction, increased property values, and improved public health,” Seggos said. “Gov. Andrew Cuomo is investing in the health of New York’s communities through the state's environmental protection fund, providing crucial assistance for our state’s vital forests to thrive.”
The 38 projects to receive funding were selected from a total of 154 applications, ranked by cost effectiveness, lasting benefits, use of partnerships, inclusion of outreach and education, and support from local stakeholders. The urban forestry grants complement DEC's ongoing initiatives to address invasive species, climate change, environmental degradation, environmental justice, and urban sprawl. Over the past nine years, New York has funded more than $11.4 million in grants to support projects with a total value of more than $18.3 million.
In Erie County, projects awarded included:
•Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy Inc., $75,000 for tree maintenance
•Cornell Cooperative Extension Erie County, $22,342 for education
•Village of Depew, $25,617 for tree inventory and management plan
Grand Island Supervisor John Whitney and co-chairs Diane Evans (Conservation Advisory Board) and Dick Crawford (highway superintendent) issued the following joint statement: “We are thrilled with the DEC announcement that the Town of Grand Island is the recipient of a $50,000 urban forestry grant.
“This forestry grant will assist the town to develop a tree inventory, increase public awareness of the importance of trees in our community and assist in the removal of dead trees on town properties.
“Many hours of volunteer work through the town’s Conversation Board were used to generate the documentation with the assistance of grant writers Bernie Rotella and Nathan Taylor for submittal.”