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.
Reported by Philip C.
Wade, Bainbridge Mayor, Leader of Arbor Date Event
The Village of Bainbridge (pop ~ 3300) is located at the eastern edge of Chenango County, halfway between Binghamton and Oneonta. The Village was awarded up to $1000 in grant monies from the New York State Urban Forestry Council to be used for tree purchase and planting materials for a community Arbor Day Tree Planting event which was held in Bainbridge on Friday, May 25th. It was a very successful event, with participation from the Village DPW crew, Boy Scouts, and the local Jericho Garden Club of Bainbridge.
As a result, seven balled-and-burlapped (B&B) trees of 1.5 to 2” caliper representing six different species were planted around the Village, including the Village Green Park, along Greenlawn Avenue, on Front Street, and on Parsons Street. All species are suitable for Bainbridge’s USDA Hardiness Zone (5a to 6a, depending on microclimate within the Village), and in respect to the local maple sugaring industry, included a sugar maple cultivar (Acer saccharum ‘Fall Fiesta’).
DEC ANNOUNCES $2.24 MILLION IN URBAN FORESTRY GRANTS AWARDED TO PROJECTS STATEWIDE
Funding Supports Tree Plantings and Projects to Protect Air Quality, Water Quality and Natural Resources
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos recently announced $2.24 million in grants for urban forestry projects to protect air quality, water quality, and natural resources across the state. The grants are part of DEC’s Urban and Community Forestry Program, which helps communities develop and implement comprehensive tree planting, management, maintenance, and education to create healthy forests while enhancing quality of life for residents.
Reported by Michael DeMarco, Planner for the City of Watertown and ISA Certified Arborist
October 20, 2018 marked the City of Watertown’s 17th Annual Fall Tree Planting event co-sponsored by the City and Tree Watertown, the City’s street tree advisory board. This year’s event was held at Cosgrove–Sherman St. Park. Historically, this large green space has been used as a sanitary and stormwater sewer corridor, but it is technically categorized as a municipal park.
Significant funding for urban forestry at the state level comes from the U.S. Forest Service (USFS); see the role that the USFS plays with urban forests here. It’s important to get to know our national leadership, like newly sworn in USFS Chief Vicki Christiansen.
Vicki Christiansen serves as Chief of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service in Washington, D.C., after serving as Interim Chief since March 8, 2018. In her 36-year career in natural resource and wildland fire management, she brings a wealth of experiences and skills that demonstrate a commitment to the core values of the Forest Service. This includes conservation, service, interdependence, diversity, and safety. She works daily to live up to these values in every facet of her leadership and service. She demonstrates them as she leads a workforce of more than 25,000 permanent employees who steward 193 million acres of national forests and grasslands; support the world’s largest forestry research organization; and work with states, tribes and the public to sustain all forests so they can benefit all citizens, today and in the future.
Prior to serving as Chief, she worked as Deputy Chief for State and Private Forestry, where she oversaw Fire and Aviation Management, Tribal Relations, Forest Health Protection, Cooperative Forestry, Grey Towers National Historic Site, and Conservation Education.
DEC Announces $525,000 in Grant Funding Available to Improve Water Quality Through Tree Planting Projects
DEC Announces $525,000 in Grant Funding Available to Improve Water Quality Through Tree Planting Projects Streamside Plantings Improve Wildlife Habitat, Protect Water Quality and Increase Resiliency New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the first round of statewide competitive grants for the Trees for Tributaries Program, designed to support riparian tree planting projects for communities across the State. Approximately $525,000 in grant funding is available to help plant trees and shrubs along streams to improve wildlife habitat, water quality and storm resiliency.
DEC Honored with 10-Year Achievement in Sustainable Forest Management Status for Forest Certification
Student and State Arbor Day Poster Contest Winners Announced
Highlighting Albany’s 16th Year as a Tree City USA
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced $2.2 million in grants for tree planting and community forestry projects across New York. In honor of National Arbor Day, Governor Cuomo proclaimed Arbor Day in New York State along with the joint grant announcement from the State Departments of Environmental Conservation, Agriculture and Markets, and the Office of General Services. The 2018 New York State Arbor Day Proclamation can be viewed here.
Testimony Submitted for FY 19 Budget
The SUFC Policy Working Group recently submitted testimony to the House and Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittees urging support and funding for U.S. Forest Service, EPA, and National Park Service programs related to urban forests. The Working Group also submitted testimony to the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee to maintain the Fiscal Year 2018 funding levels for four line items under the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Plant Health program.
Thank Congress for Increased Funding to U&CF
The FY 18 budget had good news for urban forestry. Funding for the U&CF and other forestry programs was increased in some instances, and otherwise kept level. It’s not too late to head to social media to share your appreciation, especially to members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, with the FY 19 process already underway. [The House members from New York who served on that committee are José Serrano, Nita Lowey, and Grace Meng.]
The SUFC is composed of city planners, educators, landscape architects, non-profit leaders, scientists, arborists, foresters, nurserymen and women, and many other professionals who care for, monitor and advocate for trees and our urban forests as a whole.
Calls, emails, letters, and in-person visits to federal legislators by advocates for Urban and Community Forestry have paid off! You’ll recall President Trump’s proposed FY 18 Budget zeroed out funding for UCF. Citizens and UCF advocacy groups sprung into action to educate our representatives in Congress about the myriad quantifiable benefits of the urban forest, and Congress responded.
The 2018 omnibus appropriations package passed by Congress and signed by the President on March 23, 2018 reinstates funding for USDA Forest Service State and Private Forestry programs, including $28.5 million for Urban and Community Forestry. This is is actually $500,000 more than was funded in 2017, although not the $31 million requested by the National Association of State Foresters (NASF) for FY 2018.
Now it’s time we roll up our sleeves and advocate for our urban forests once again, as the President’s FY 19 Budget proposal once again zeroes out funding for UCF. Thank you to all of you who made your voice heard on behalf of our nation’s urban forests. It’s a muscle we must continue to exercise.
Special thank you to Region 2 NY ReLeaf folks who took leadership on strategic legislative visits and to Danielle Watson at the Society of American Foresters for her regular briefings on the budget process.
I am pleased to announce that Manuel A. Alarcon, a senior at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF), was awarded the Helen Sternberg Cutler Memorial Scholarship in Urban Forestry for 2018. He will be graduating with a BS in Forest Resources Management. He is exactly the kind of recipient to honor the memory of my mother, Helen Cutler, who was always planting trees in urban environments.