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DEC announces annual 'Buffer in a Bag' program


Tue, Feb 14th 2023 12:10 pm

Free seedlings available to qualified landowners for streamside plantings

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced the application period for the “Trees for Tribs” "Buffer in a Bag" program is now open. Qualifying private and public landowners 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, combat climate change, and improve wildlife habitat.

"Small-scale streamside plantings help decrease erosion, slow floodwaters, sequester carbon, and protect fish and wildlife habitat," Seggos said. "I encourage New York landowners with waterside properties to participate in DEC's 'Buffer in a Bag' program to bolster the state’s efforts to protect water quality and help safeguard communities from flooding."

To qualify, landowners must have property in New York state with at least 50 feet bordering 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 riparian buffers. Applicants are eligible for one bag of 25 seedlings. Recipients are chosen on a first-come, first-served basis. A total of 350 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 details, visit the Hudson River Estuary Program's webpage.

Seedlings are provided by DEC's Colonel William F. Fox Memorial Saratoga Tree Nursery. The “Trees for Tribs” program is managed by DEC's Division of Lands and Forests and supported by the state's Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). Gov. Kathy Hochul's 2023-24 executive budget sustains the EPF “at a historic $400 million,” DEC stated. “The EPF provides funding for critical environmental programs such as land acquisition, farmland protection, invasive species prevention and eradication, enhanced recreational access, water quality improvement, and an aggressive environmental justice agenda.”

Visit DEC's website for more information about the “Buffer in a Bag” application process and requirements. Applications are due by 3 p.m. April 7. Contact mailto:[email protected] with questions or visit DEC's “Trees for Tribs” webpage to learn more.

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