Thank you to City of Watertown Planner and Council Board Member Mike DeMarco for providing this summary and photos. 

In October 2018, the City of Watertown was awarded a $20,250 tree planting grant through the New York State (NYS) Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Urban and Community Forestry Grant Program. Watertown City Planning staff utilized data found in the City’s recently completed tree inventory and management plan to easily identify available planting sites for the 2019 DPW Bare-Root Tree Planting Project.

2019 DPW Tree Planting Project

  • 55 bare-root trees purchased – DEC funded
  • 73 bare-root trees purchased – City funded (includes 25% City match)

In addition to the bare root project, City staff hired contractors to plant trees in empty downtown tree pits, along a reclaimed street margin on Burchard Street, and enhanced a recently completed sidewalk improvement project, funded through the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG). Per the agreement with NYS, use of this grant was prioritized in areas categorized as the following: low-moderate income, stormwater susceptible, lacking in tree cover, and/or culturally important.

2019 Contracted Balled and Burlapped (B&B) Tree Planting Project

  • 7 trees planted – DEC funded
  • Contracted B&B Tree Planting Project
  • 24 trees planted – DEC funded

In consideration of the City’s discovery of the invasive Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) in October 2019, DEC Urban and Community Forestry Grant Program Coordinators approached Planning staff with a rare opportunity to reallocate tree planting funding to assist with a pilot EAB treatment project. At the time of this communication, the City had suspended all non-essential spending due to concerns associated with COVID-19, however, grant funding could still be used.

Noting this, Watertown Noon Rotary Club decided to reallocate their typical spring tree planting contribution, facilitated through the Northern New York Community Foundation (NNYCF), to the City to combine with DEC funds to protect City owned ash trees from the destructive pest. Given the enthusiasm of the project, a private donor contributed $500 to the Rotary donation. Using the remaining DEC grant funding and Rotary funding, the following trees were treated to protect them from EAB. See the map that follows, which shows the locations of the treated ash trees.

2020 Ash Tree Treatment Project – 57 ash trees treated

  • 42 ash trees treated – DEC grant funded
  • 15 ash trees treated – NNYCF (Rotary) grant funded