How Kingston Used its EPF Grant Dollars–and Advice from the Grant Writers

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.

Who did the grant writing and what was your role specifically?

KD: The tree inventory grant was written as a collaborative effort between myself (Kyla DeDea, Kingston Assistant Planner), Kristen Wilson, Director of Grants Management, and Julie Noble, Environmental Educator for the Kingston Parks and Recreation Department. We worked together on writing the grant and I was listed as Project Manager for the grant.

What strengths of your grant proposal were the ones that helped it be successful?  

KD: I think that the City of Kingston has been successful in this grant as well as many others because of the partnerships that we have within the City and with outside groups and nonprofits. The City of Kingston Tree Commission and the Ulster County Garden Club Memorial Tree Fund are great partners in these applications because of their willingness to assist and their wide range of knowledge on the subject.

I think that the plan for public outreach and education was also a strength in our application. For this application, we were able to utilize outreach plans that were already in place for other projects and tie these together. The City had been working on a Natural Resource Inventory and an open space plan and this work was a great addition to those projects in both public outreach and filling gaps in data collection.

What interesting things or surprises came up in the implementation of the grant-funded work?

KD: I think the most surprising thing to me was that almost 90% of the trees in Kingston were listed as being in “fair” or better condition. I tend to notice the trees that are in need of maintenance or are in severe decline, so it was refreshing to see that Kingston’s tree population was in much better condition than I would have thought. It is also surprising and interesting to see the summaries of what is out there: 3,937 trees, 116 species, etc. (see “Significant Findings” at end of this post.)

Anything else you want to share/give advice about?

KD: My advice would be, don’t stop at the inventory and management plan. I realize that making a statement like this will increase our competition for future funds, but it needs to be said. The DEC has been offering matching grants for maintenance and plantings—a huge resource for municipalities. The City of Kingston was lucky enough to be the recipient of an award to do a large scale maintenance project, and we are so grateful for that opportunity. In the future we hope to apply for money for tree planting and additional maintenance.

Significant Findings from the Kingston Inventory

The July 2018 tree inventory included trees and stumps within City parks as well as trees, stumps, and vacant sites along public street rights-of-way (ROW). A total of 5,237 sites were recorded during the inventory which included 3,937 trees (75.2%), 102 stumps (1.9%), and 1,198 vacant sites (22.9%). Of the inventoried sites, 4,406 (84.1%) are located along street ROWs and 831 (15.9%) are in City parks and open spaces. Analysis of the tree inventory found:

  1. The five most common species found in Kingston are: Norway maple (516 trees: 13.1%); honey locust (396 trees: 10.1%); ornamental pear (326 trees: 8.3%); sugar maple (300 trees: 7.6%); and red maple (219 trees: 5.6%).
  2. The three most common young trees (under 6” DBH) are: ornamental pear (98 trees); crabapple (59 trees); and eastern hemlock (46 trees).
  3. The three most common mature trees (over 25” DBH) are: sugar maple (122 trees); Norway maple (77 trees); and silver maple (77 trees).
  4. A total of 116 distinct species of trees were recorded during the inventory.
  5. 89.6% of Kingston’s tree population is in “fair” or better condition.
  6. The inventoried trees provide approximately $541,095 in annual environmental benefits.
  7. Total Environmental Benefits
  • Energy savings: $232,595/year.
  • Stormwater interception: valued at $57,437/year.
  • Carbon sequestration: valued at $5,471/year.
  • Improved air quality: $42,790/year.
  • Improved property value associated with aesthetics: $202,802.
  1. Total replacement cost for all trees is $16,781,087.

Maintenance recommendations recorded during the tree inventory were removal (4.0%), pruning (71.1%), stump removal (1.9%), and planting (22.9%).

 

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