In celebration of Arbor Day, New York DEC on Friday (April 30) awarded grants totaling $1.18 million for communities across the state to inventory, plant, and maintain public trees.
This included $34,500 to the Cortland County Soil and Water Conservation District, supporting its tree Inventory and Management Plan.
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.
“Trees are vital to our community life, public health, and our environment,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “New York State is proud to celebrate Arbor Day by awarding grants to 26 outstanding projects in communities across the state to inventory, plant, and maintain public trees. These innovative projects exemplify New York State’s commitment to protecting and enhancing our state’s natural resources, while also beautifying communities and enhancing quality of life for a greener future.”
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 the latest announcement, a total of $2.6 million is being awarded to 64 projects across the state.
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.
“Each year, Arbor Day reminds us of the importance of trees and their profound impact on our everyday lives,” said Commissioner Seggos. “Healthy community forests provide a host of environmental, economic, and social benefits, including wildlife habitat, watershed protection, flood reduction, increased property values, and improved public health. Investing in the health of New York’s communities through the State’s Environmental Protection Fund is providing crucial assistance to help our state’s vital forests to thrive.”
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.