In celebration of Arbor Day, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced that grants totaling $1.18 million have been awarded to communities across the state to inventory, plant, and maintain public trees. The grants are part of the second phase of grants through DEC’s Division of Lands and Forests’ Urban and Community Forestry Program, which works to increase public awareness of the importance of trees and help communities develop and implement comprehensive tree management plans to create healthy forests while enhancing quality of life.

The 26 projects receiving funds this year were selected during Phase 2 of the Urban and Community Forestry (UCF) Round 15 grants after additional funding was made available. With today’s announcement, a total of $2.6 million is being awarded to 64 projects across the state. The awarded projects were selected from 154 applications, ranked by cost effectiveness, lasting benefits, use of partnerships, inclusion of outreach and education, and support from local stakeholders. The UCF grants complement DEC’s ongoing initiatives to address invasive species, climate change, environmental degradation, environmental justice, and urban sprawl.

Over the last nine years, New York State has awarded more than $12.6 million in urban forestry grants to support projects with a total value of more than $20 million.

Grant recipients listed by region are:

Albany County

Town of Colonie – $60,831; Tree Inventory and Management Plan
Radix Ecological Sustainability Center – $53,000; Tree Planting
Rensselaer County

Village of Castleton-on-Hudson – $21,250; Tree Inventory and Management Plan

Cayuga County

City of Auburn – $23,000; Tree Planting
Cortland County

Cortland County Soil and Water Conservation District – $34,500; Tree Inventory and Management Plan

Livingston County

Town of Geneseo – $15,000; Tree Maintenance
Village of Avon – $50,000; Tree Maintenance

Suffolk County

Town of Huntington – $75,000; Tree Inventory and Management Plan

Ulster County

City of Kingston – $50,000; Tree Planting

Town of Bedford – $50,000; Tree Maintenance
Town of Somers – $35,000; Tree Inventory and Management Plan

Kings County

Gowanus Canal Conservancy, Inc. – $63,000; Tree Maintenance
The Brooklyn Queens Land Trust – $30,940; Tree Maintenance
The Green-Wood Cemetery – $75,000; Tree Planting

New York County

Randall’s Island Park Alliance, Inc. – $40,000; Tree Inventory and Management Plan
The Governors Island Corporation – $45,000; Tree Inventory and Management Plan

St. Lawrence County

Village of Canton – $32,000; Tree Maintenance

Chenango County

Village of Oxford – $50,000; Tree Planting

Chautauqua County

City of Dunkirk – $50,000; Tree Maintenance
City of Jamestown – $31,500; Tree Inventory and Management Plan
Erie County

Town of Amherst – $75,000; Tree Inventory Phase II and Management Plan
Town of Lancaster – $46,000; Tree Inventory and Management Plan
Town of Orchard Park – $33,038; Tree Inventory and Management Plan
Town of Tonawanda – $74,719; Tree Planting
Village of Lancaster – $16,032; Tree Maintenance
Niagara County

City of Lockport – $50,000; Tree Maintenance

Thirty-eight projects were awarded from the same grant round in December 2020.

New York State’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) was created in 1993. The EPF has grown from its original appropriation of $31 million in fiscal year 1994-1995 to $300 million in the Fiscal Year 2022 Enacted Budget – the highest level of funding in the program’s history. Appropriations include $40 million for solid waste programs, $90 million for parks and recreation, $151 million for open space programs, and $19 million for the climate change mitigation and adaptation program. 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. 🌳