Funding Supports Invasive Species Rapid Response and Control, Research, Lake Management Planning, and Aquatic Invasive Species Spread Prevention Programs.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced more than $2.8 million in grants have been awarded to 42 projects that will reduce the negative impacts of invasive species through control or removal activities, research, and spread prevention. These grants are part of the State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Invasive Species Grant Program and are funded by the State’s Environmental Protection Fund.
Across the state, DEC is using science to determine what actions will have the greatest impact in controlling invasive species. Awarded projects are spread across four categories:
The Village of Massena (pop. ~10,500) is located in Saint Lawrence County, just south of the Saint Lawrence River. Massena Utility CEO Andy McMahon coordinated the Village of Massena’s effort to secure an EPF grant to fund a tree inventory and tree management plan, both conducted by ArborPro.
What was the scope and nature of the work you were applying for? Andy McMahon: The Village of Massena and Massena Electric collectively applied for a UCF grant. The UCF grant was to provide a tree inventory of the community and part of the town as well as a strategic plan for all areas surveyed. In the case of both the Village and electric utility, we are small and well-intentioned but not necessarily well versed in trees and tree care. This grant allowed for an arborist to come in and do an assessment of the types of trees we have in our public spaces and ROWs. The arborist gave us this inventory snapshot of our tree population as well as a strategic plan for what to do next.
Through EPF grants, the community of Akwesasne and the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe Forestry Resources Department performed a tree inventory and created the 2018 Akwesasne Community Forest Management Plan. The Plan presents the tree inventory data and an i-Tree Eco analysis of that data, and it provides direction for the stewards of the community forest in the southern portion of Akwesasne, where the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe lives. Southern Akwesasne covers approximately 10,000 acres, with about 3,000 acres in the urban interface.
Les Benedict is Assistant Director of the Environment Division of the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe and is the point person for the grants with NYSDEC. He spoke with us about aspects of the grant application and implementation processes and offers some suggestions for future applicants.
This Q&A is with Kingston Assistant Planner Kyla DeDea, one of the grant writers for Kingston’s successful EPF Round 13 grant application.
What was the work Kingston needed grant money for?
Kyla DeDea: The City of Kingston applied to hire a professional tree service to conduct a street tree and parkland inventory. The inventory included trees within the street rights-of-way and improved areas of Kingston’s Parks. The inventory also included identification of existing stumps to be removed and identified planting sites for future tree installations. We felt that adding these additional items to the inventory was important to assist in making informed decisions on where to plant new trees.
After being awarded and receiving quotes for the inventories, we were able to utilize the remaining funds to complete a Tree Management Plan. Both the inventories (July 2018) and the management plan (Sept 2018) were done by ArborPro. This was a great benefit to be able to complete both plans under the same grant. It put the City of Kingston in the position to be able to apply for funds to do much needed tree maintenance.
Round 15 of the Environmental Protection Fund grants for urban forestry related activities will open later in 2019. Here on the blog, we continue to showcase work that emerged from successful grants and give advice to future applicants from the folks behind those successful grants.
Prospect Park contains Brooklyn’s largest indigenous forest and sustains more than 10 million visits a year. Its 536 acres include woodland, lawn, wetlands, lake, meadow, zoo, ice rink, athletic fields, and more. It’s managed by the Prospect Park Alliance in collaboration with NYC Parks. Prospect Park Alliance Director of Landscape Management John Jordan had several key roles to play in the preparation of the Alliance’s grant application for Environmental Protect Fund monies, grants that are managed and allocated by NYSDEC.
The Council now has 33 professional Urban Forest Inventories/Mgmt Plans from around New York State collected for your perusal. Most of the inventories/plans were funded by grants from the Environmental Protection Fund (aka cost-share grants), with applications evaluated by NYSDEC staff. This compendium of Plans could be a very helpful resource under any circumstances but especially as you think about your community’s grant application for EPF grants Round 15 later this year.
According to grants administrator and DEC Environmental Program Specialist Michelle Higgins, under Round 14, there were 29 municipalities or not-for-profit (NFP) groups who received funding for Tree Inventory/Community Forestry Management Plans, 8 munis or NFPs who received Tree Maintenance grants, 13 munis or NFPS who received grants for Tree Planting, and 2 Cornell Cooperative Extension agencies (Dutchess and Nassau Counties) who received grants for Education Programming.
Urban Forest Inventories, Management Plans, and Reports:
On April 26, NYSDEC and the NYS Office of General Services (OGS) hosted a ceremony in honor of Arbor Day 2019. The gathering included members of the State Arbor Day Committee and state and local officials, including Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan. A London planetree (Platanus x acerifolia) was planted on the State Street side of East Capitol Park, near the corner of the Capitol Building, to replace one that was lost during a storm. (Each year, a tree is planted ceremonially on the Capitol grounds).
On March 21 in Albany, NYSDEC and community leaders celebrated the commitment of NYS Tree Cities, Tree Line Utilities, and Tree Campuses to our collective urban and community forest. Six New York communities became Tree Cities USA for the first time in 2018: Canton, Lakewood, Middletown, Niskayuna, Orangetown, and Sackets Harbor. To learn more about becoming a Tree City USA, Tree Line USA, or Tree Campus USA, see the Arbor Day Foundation website. The ceremony also honored the winner of the 2019 Arbor Day poster contest.
Here’s an encouraging update from the National Association of State Foresters (NASF) on the status of FY19 federal funding for forests, via the U.S. Forest Service, including urban and community forestry (UFC). This is the funding that critically supports statewide UCF efforts such as those of the NYSDEC UCF program.
Support for UCF nationally is up $1 million from FY18, a validation of Congress’s support for programs like our state’s. The full press release follows. Council members: let’s continue to raise UCF awareness among our representatives at every level as work begins on advocating for federal funding for FY2020.