Saturday, December 18, 2010

DEC Urban Forestry Grants


Tree Plantings, Green Infrastructure Can Reduce Pollution,
Improve Urban Quality of Life

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced it is making grants available to support urban forestry projects across the state. The Urban and Community Forestry grants will enhance New York’s urban landscapes with healthy trees and provide numerous environmental, health and economic benefits.

Trees, parks and other green spaces offer numerous benefits in cities and other populated areas, such as creating wildlife habitat, increasing property values, and improving the quality of life for residents and visitors. Trees also help address a number of negative impacts in urban areas by reducing water and air pollution, lowering local temperatures caused by the “heat island” effect, stopping erosion, and decreasing energy use, stormwater runoff and noise.

Eligible projects include tree inventories and management plans, tree and shrub planting and maintenance, and green infrastructure projects such as green roofs and rain gardens. Communities impacted by the Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive and damaging beetle, can also seek funding for projects that include removal of at-risk trees or new tree plantings.

Applicants can include municipalities, public benefit corporations, public authorities, school districts and not-for-profit organizations that have a public ownership interest in the property or are acting on behalf of a public property owner. Grants, provided through the state’s Environmental Protection Fund, will range from $2,500 to $62,500 depending on municipal population, with a 50/50 match requirement. Additionally, $1,000 “Quick Start Arbor Day” grants - with no match requirement - will be available to help communities generate support for a tree program with an Arbor Day celebration.

The urban forestry grant program complements DEC's ongoing initiatives to address climate change, environmental quality, environmental justice and sprawl. Grant proposals should discuss the scope of work to be done and how the project will provide environmental, economic, and/or social benefits in the community. In selecting sites, appropriate consideration should be given to under-served neighborhoods, as well as targeting local environmental issues. Applicants are encouraged to form regional partnerships and submit proposals that help to implement watershed protection and smart growth initiatives with green solutions.

DEC foresters are available to provide applicants with technical assistance (see contact information below). DEC staff will review the completed grant applications and choose recipients based on established rating criteria. Proposals will be evaluated on their cost effectiveness, projected benefits, use of recommended standards in implementation, community outreach, education, and support, and regional impact.

Applicants may obtain all necessary instructions and forms. Grant applications must be postmarked by Feb. 10, 2011, and sent to: NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Urban Forestry, Division of Lands and Forests, NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4253. For more information, call DEC at (518) 402-9425.

No comments: