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.
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:
The tree collections of cemeteries and memorial parks make a significant contribution to urban forests. Recently we learned more about the Certified Level 2 urban arboretum that is Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn as part of the blog profile of Green-Wood Director of Horticulture and Curator Joseph Charap. White Haven Memorial Park in Pittsford is a Certified Level 1 Arboretum, soon to be applying for Level 2 Certification.
The 170-acre White Haven Memorial Park in Pittsford is a park for all people. Walkers and runners are welcome, bicyclists and hikers are welcome, dogs are welcome. Birders can come do their early morning thing, including observing Eastern bluebirds in the Park’s dedicated nesting area. The entrance sign even says “Geocachers welcome.” One need not have a loved one buried there to enjoy the beautiful natural assets of White Haven—including formidable horticultural assets.
There are more than 150 different tree species in the developed areas alone, with dozens more species yet to be inventoried in the Park’s 70-plus acres of forest. The oldest and largest tree is a red oak (Quercus rubra) in the center of the developed Park. Director of Horticulture Gary Burke is partial to a large shagbark hickory (Carya ovata) and Park President Andrea Vittum loves the large Nootka cypress (Cupressus nootkatensis).
Other interesting specimens include Kentucky coffeetree (Gymnocladus dioicus), Katsura tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum), Japanese snowbell (Styrax japonicus), tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica), yellowwood (Cladrastis kentukea), American fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus), goldenchain tree (Laburnum anagyroides), paperbark maple (Acer griseum), and six different kinds of beech trees. There are five mature ash trees in the developed collection that are being micro-injected to project the trees from Emerald Ash Borer. Newly planted trees get trunk protection via corrugated plastic tubes, to protect the tender cambium from rutting bucks.
In Remote Sensing and Assessment of Urban Forests with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles from the Jan/Feb 2017 issue of City Trees, author and UAVs (drones) expert Dan Staley defines terms and lays out the potential uses of this rapidly evolving technology for urban forestry inspections. He explains “how UAVs can be used for remote sensing of urban forests for risk assessment, visual inspections, pest detection, inventory data enhancement, and rapid response after disasters, among other tasks.”
Funding Will Help Support Tree Planting and Other Urban Forestry Projects Statewide
Read on to find out about the awardees and their projects
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced grant awards totaling $2.3 million for urban forestry projects in communities across New York. The Urban Forestry grants are funded through the state Environmental Protection Fund and are part of New York’s ongoing initiatives to address invasive species, climate change and environmental justice.
“These investments will help improve the quality of life in New York neighborhoods by supporting the replacement of trees impacted by invasive pests,” Governor Cuomo said. “Every New Yorker deserves access to clean air, and through these urban forestry grants, we are promoting the benefits of planting new trees to support a better, healthier New York for all.”
Grants were made available to municipalities, public benefit corporations, public authorities, school districts, soil and water conservation districts, community colleges, not-for-profit organizations, and Indian Nations. 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.
With the assistance of consultant Jerry Bond from Urban Forest Analytics LLC, the City of Batavia recently completed their first comprehensive Tree Management Plan. It was funded through Round 12 of the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) Cost-Share Grant program, administered by NYSDEC.
City of Batavia Director of Public Works Matt Worth was Bond’s point person for the Plan creation process. Worth says, “A Plan was put together which consolidated several segmented sets of data and put it into an electronic format which the field supervisors are becoming proficient in managing. The overall Plan provides guiding strategies for increasing the sustainability of Batavia’s urban forest as the City moves through the next 20 years. Many of these strategies were easily implemented, and streamlined our decision making in regards to the City’s urban forest.”
Over the last five years, a number of complementary inventories of Batavia’s public trees have been made. A full inventory of street trees was completed in 2014 by Cornell University’s Student Weekend Arborist Team (SWAT) under the local direction of Fred Cowett and the general oversight of Prof. Nina Bassuk. In October of 2016, Jerry Bond of Urban Forest Analytics LLC conducted a sample inventory to estimate the maintenance needs of a large number of trees left unrated by SWAT, and to confirm the status of the street tree resource more generally. In June of 2016, Bond did a full inventory of the City’s park trees.
Village Green and the Red Hook Town Tree Commission are pleased to share these urban forest management plans. Longtime Red Hook environmental advocate Brenda Cagle shares some background with us.
The Town of Red Hook Forestry Management Plan is an example of a volunteer-created plan for a small community (pop. 8240). The Red Hook Town Tree Commission created the plan in 2013 after the completion of a street tree inventory conducted by the Hudson Valley Specialized Weekday Arborist Team (SWAT) and funded by a NYSDEC Cost-Share Grant. This plan is very readable and informative. Colorful and inspiring pictures are sprinkled throughout and keep the reader’s attention. In addition to guidelines for budgeting, planting, maintenance and outreach, the plan includes the entire street tree inventory, a master tree list, tree planting instructions, and a resource page.
The Village of Red Hook Forestry Management Plan (2004) is an another example of a volunteer-created plan for a small community (pop. 1961). In September, 2003, a street tree inventory was conducted by what was then called the Cornell Community Forestry Outreach Team. Village Green, the Village of Red Hook’s tree committee, created the forestry management plan the following spring. Some of the inventory findings—such as the lack of species diversity and the need for immediate maintenance or professional consultation—formed the basis of the plan. The Village used the plan to prioritize tree maintenance work and make informed planting choices. A second street tree inventory, funded by NYSDEC Cost-Share Grant dollars, was conducted in 2009. The results showed greater species diversity and lower maintenance needs, illustrating the value of having and plan and following it. This Village of Red Hook Plan would be most useful to those who have recently completed an inventory.
Can you tell us about your childhood influences that foreshadowed getting interested in conservation, trees, and urban forestry? Brenda Cagle: Growing up in West Virginia in the Ohio Valley surrounded by those beautiful hills must have been the beginning, for I can’t remember a time when I didn’t feel connected to trees, hills, or nature in general. It’s kind of a spiritual thing like watching a fire burn or looking at the ocean. Anyone who grows up there learns this first line to the state song: “Oh the West Virginia Hills, how majestic and how grand.” (Go Mountaineers!!)
When and how did you first get involved with NYSUFC? In what ways have you participated, and what has your involvement meant to you? BC: I first joined NYSUFC in 2003 and became a board member in 2006 probably at Mary’s urging—don’t we all? I co-chaired the Region 3 ReLeaf Committee for several years with our regional forester, Lou Sebesta. It has definitely been a two-way street participating as a volunteer. I have been able to share our experiences in Red Hook with other communities as well learn from all the other members, professional and volunteer alike. Of course, I believe that Region 3* rocks! Friendly regional competition only brings us together. *[Region 3 is Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester counties.]