In February, the City of Syracuse Forestry Division released a draft Urban Forest Master Plan (UFMP), which provides a roadmap to a healthy, safe, and expanding tree canopy for the City. The Plan contains definable and measurable 5-year and 20-year goals.
One major goal is to plant 70,000 new trees in 20 years. To meet that goal, the City will recruit owners of public and private property, including cemeteries, apartments, schools, churches and single-family homes, to plant most of those trees. “A critical part of the initiative is to build on and expand partnerships to implement what is proposed in the Plan,” says Syracuse City Arborist and NYSUFC Vice President Steve Harris.
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:
In 2014, the Town of DeWitt received notification from the NYSDEC that our grant application to fund the creation of an urban forest management plan had been accepted. This was great news—but we quickly learned that writing the grant was the easiest part of the project. We thought that we were ready for a document that spelled out all the details, specifications, and standards. We wanted a document that would tell us specifically what we needed to do. However, we had some work of our own to do before engaging a consultant in writing the Plan.
A quick overview wearing an “Urban Forestry” lens might be helpful to understand our confusion. The Town Code had been revised in 2012 to include a Tree Chapter. This Code chapter established a very basic framework in regards to planting, pruning, and removing trees on Town property and referenced the DeWitt Urban Forestry Management Plan, which had not yet been created. Additionally, the Town Code chapter on trees clearly indicates necessary items that shall be included in the UFMP, like species selection, planting, pruning standard, care, and removal standards. However, in none of our guiding documents was there any justification for why we should manage trees.
These are the four categories: · Tree inventory · Tree management plan · Tree planting · Tree maintenance
Awards range from $11,000 to $75,000, depending on municipal population. Municipalities with populations of 65,000 or greater are eligible for grants up to $75,000. Towns with populations less than 65,000 are able to apply for up to $50,000. For inventory and management plan grants, no match is required. For planting and maintenance grants, there is a required 25% match.
These grants are made available through the Environmental Protection Fund to municipalities, nonprofits, soil and water conservation districts, school districts, community colleges, Indian nations or tribes, public benefit corporations, and public authorities.
A free webinar about the grant application process will be offered on Thursday, January 5th at 2 p.m. Registration is required.
To see the instructions and application, Go to the NYS Grants Gateway then go to Browse Opportunities > DEC > 2016 Urban and Community Forestry Grants Program (Round 13)- Tree Planting or Tree Maintenance Projects.
On our NYSUFC blog you can see examples of what the following municipalities and other entities did with their past cost-share grant dollars, excerpts from their application narratives, and advice they have to offer to new applicants:
Some blog posts resonate long past their original publication date date. Transplanting and a Deeper Look at “Fall Hazards” was one of the top five posts in 2015 and was the second most viewed post in 2016. Former NYC Director of Street Tree Planting Matt Stephens and Taking Root Editor Michelle Sutton coauthored this story questioning commonly held beliefs about “fall hazards,” mostly as it applies to B&B trees, but they also discuss the interaction of the fall season with other production methods, like bare root. Nina Bassuk helped craft the section called “The Five Branches of Transplanting Success,” which should be of interest to anyone planting trees.
Kristy King and NYC Forest Restoration: Dreaming Big for the City’s Natural Areas Many readers wanted to learn about the work of the NYC Natural Resources Group, which manages 5,000 acres of forested natural areas across the five boroughs of NYC, and about Director of Forest Restoration Kristy King. Her dream for NYC: “… that all forested areas are dominated by native species and that invasive species have been managed to the point that natural forest regeneration is occurring and that the public holistically values the natural resources in their area.”
NYSDEC Urban Forestry Intern Jennifer Kotary: Get to Know Her! Many blog readers were keen to know about this dynamic up-and-comer. “My internship research involved in-depth exploration of what communities are doing to protect and build green infrastructure across the state. Via Mary’s [Kramarchyk] assigned projects, I was able to produce tangible evidence that there is quite the statewide collective will to plant and nurture an expanding canopy as well as many career and volunteer opportunities to do so.”
SMA’s 2016 Urban Tree of the Year: Musashino Zelkova generated a lot of buzz. ‘Musashino’ has been a successful and popular street tree for many more years in Japan, proving itself useful as a narrow, upright form of zelkova. It can tolerate drought and heat and is pH adaptable and pollution tolerant. See a list of all the past SMA Urban Trees of the Year here.
Gary Raffel: Get to Know Him! Gary has served the Council in a variety of capacities, including as a board member. “I started Dynamic Tree Systems in 2002, offering general tree care service as well as Plant Health Care and Integrated Pest Management programs. I later wanted to find a niche in the industry and purchased a Tree Radar Unit at a time when there were only three of us in the U.S. and eleven people in the world using the equipment. A few years later I became the company’s international trainer, such that when a new unit was sold I would fly to the particular client and spend a week training them on their new equipment (I still do that, in addition to Dynamic Tree Systems).”
The Council is creating a compendium of urban forest master plans, management plans, and reports. Look to these when crafting your community’s first or updated Plan … and when you do have yours in place, kindly send it our way! We’ll add it to this growing collection of fine templates from around our state.
Note: NYS EPF (aka Cost-Share) Urban Forestry grant funds are available for management plans or master plans, provided these plans include a specific work schedule made up of goals, tasks, and a timeline.
City Arborist Steve Harris of the Syracuse Parks Department—who also serves as our Council’s secretary—is pleased to share the release of the 2016 State of the Urban Forest for the City of Syracuse. Steve is an ISA Certified Arborist and Municipal Specialist and in addition to being active in the NYSUFC is involved with the Society of Municipal Arborists. He has been Syracuse City Arborist since 2010.
The 2001 Syracuse Urban Forest Master Plan was one of the first of its kind. The impetus for that report was to lay the groundwork for a focused response to the devastation caused by the Labor Day Storm of 1998. The US Forest Service Northern Research Station (USFS) and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Onondaga County crafted that plan in cooperation with the City of Syracuse, Syracuse ReLeaf, and SUNY ESF.
Being the home of a world-class research institution (SUNY ESF) and a USFS Research Station dedicated to urban forest change has its benefits. Data gets collected. Beginning in 1999, the USFS established permanent plots in the City to monitor urban forest change. By urban forest, think all trees in the landscape no matter the ownership. Plots were most recently re-measured in 2014. In addition, the USFS worked with the University of Vermont Spatial Laboratory and SUNY ESF to complete an urban tree canopy (UTC) assessment of Syracuse in 2010. (UTC assessments use LIDAR and other spatial analysis tools to identify and measure tree canopy in the landscape.)
Calling all Master Plans! Rochester City Forester and NYSUFC Executive Committee Member Brian Liberti shares the following intro from the most recent Rochester Urban Forest Master Plan. You can also see Ithaca’s Urban Forest Master Plan here.
We’d like to collect as many UF Master Plans from around the State as possible, so that communities can learn from one another. Please send yours to firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of the most distinguishing characteristics of Rochester, New York, is its forest of trees. There are numerous tree-filled parks, and practically every avenue and street in the city is lined with trees. Even the city’s cemeteries, so often barren fields of funerary monuments, are veritable forests.
Our Council blog was viewed more than 14,000 times in 2015! Here are the top five posts:
Sumana Serchan: Get to Know Her! Sumana Serchan is an urban forester with NYC Parks and Recreation. Sumana has a master’s degree in Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a bachelor’s degree in Natural Resources/Conservation from the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources (University of Vermont). She grew up in Kathmandu City, Nepal.
Transplanting and a Deeper Look at “Fall Hazards” NYC Director of Street Tree Planting Matt Stephens and Taking Root Editor Michelle Sutton coauthored this story questioning commonly held beliefs about “fall hazards,” mostly as it applies to B&B trees, but they also discuss the interaction of the fall season with other production methods, like bare root. Nina Bassuk helped craft the section called “The Five Branches of Transplanting Success,” which should be of interest to anyone planting trees.
A New Method for Streamlining Tree Selection in NYCCouncil President and NYC Parks Senior Forester David Moore shares how the City streamlined its system for making tree species selections for 25,000 street tree plantings a year using an ingenious categorization of “biotopes.” A municipality of any size can use this article to think strategically about their tree selection process.
Looking for a template as you craft or revise your community’s urban forest master plan (UFMP)? Ithaca once again leads the way. The newly revised document includes a master plan, tree inventory data, and arboricultural guidelines.
To borrow from the Pittsburgh UFMP, “An Urban Forest Master Plan is a road map, providing detailed information, recommendations, and resources needed to effectively and proactively manage and grow a city’s tree canopy. More importantly it provides a shared vision for the future of the urban forest to inspire and engage stakeholders in the care and protection of trees.”
Ithaca Shade Tree Advisory Committee Chair Nina Bassuk says, “Ithaca’s newly revised UFMP has components that many municipalities might be interested in, including specs for soil, soil volume, and nursery stock. It also has our tree care guidelines for site selection, tree selection, tree protection during construction, tree removal, and even our solar panel policy.” There are meticulously rendered tree planting details for varied circumstances including planting with CU-Structural Soil.
Nina says, “I would also like to point folks to our Community Forestry website, where resources include several management plans and ordinances that might be of interest, and advice on creating master plans.”