(WNY News Now) – The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has opened applications for a $12.9 million federal grant opportunity aimed at supporting urban and community forestry projects. The initiative, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry Program, seeks to improve equitable access to healthy trees and green spaces, advance environmental justice, and boost economic prospects.
New York – New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today that applications are now being accepted for a substantial $12.9 million grant opportunity dedicated to urban and community forestry projects. This funding opportunity is made possible by the Inflation Reduction Act and stems from a grant provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry Program. The primary goal of this program is to increase accessibility to healthy trees and green spaces within urban and community forests, thereby contributing to the development of a clean energy economy, promoting environmental justice, and fostering economic opportunities.
Commissioner Seggos expressed his gratitude for this significant investment, saying, “DEC is grateful to President Biden and Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack for this substantial investment in New York’s urban forestry program and to be able to offer this historic funding opportunity to improve the health of trees and green spaces in disadvantaged communities, increase urban tree cover, and support New York’s aggressive climate requirements.”
Eligible entities are now encouraged to take advantage of this funding to enhance the environmental, economic, and public health benefits of their community forests. The $12.9 million is divided into two categories: Community Forest Management Plan Implementation, with $10 million available, and Ash Tree Management, with $2.9 million in funding. Notably, no financial match is required, and applicants can request up to $500,000 per application. All proposed projects must be executed in disadvantaged communities, as identified by specific Federal and State tools outlined in the Request for Applications (RFA). The application deadline is set for January 31, 2024.
DEC’s Urban and Community Forestry program is offering valuable insights through a virtual information session on November 15th, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. During this session, participants will receive details on eligible applicants, project criteria, application requirements, scoring procedures, and other essential information to assist in planning their projects. Interested parties can register for the webinar on DEC’s website.
For comprehensive information regarding DEC’s Urban and Community Forestry program and the application process for the Inflation Reduction Act Urban and Community Forestry Grants, please visit DEC’s official website. This initiative presents a unique opportunity for enhancing green spaces, strengthening communities, and contributing to New York’s environmental and economic objectives.