In an effort to better create and support local community conservation efforts and encourage sustainable management of forests all across New York state, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is offering grants ranging from fifty thousand to up to three hundred thousand dollars for the protection of community forests through their new Community Forest Conservation Grant Program following the disbursement of $1 million in state funding.
"Healthy forests provide New York's communities and environment with a wide range of benefits, including wildlife habitat, flood mitigation, recreational opportunities, wood products, mental health, air quality, water quality, carbon storage, and carbon sequestration,” remarked DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos of the program. “Today's announcement will bolster local efforts to conserve community forests across the state, providing residents with opportunities to connect with forests and foster a sense of stewardship, while also introducing new opportunities for municipalities to engage community residents in sustainable forest management."
All program applications must be submitted through the New York State Grants Gateway by 2 p.m. Wednesday, April 13 to be considered. To be considered, all properties must be ten or more acres in size, have at least seventy-five percent acreage forested, and offer public services or benefits like recreation, wildlife habitats, or clean water. Additional information about the program is available on the DEC website.
"Forests are crucial to the future of our planet and one of our greatest natural treasures that we must preserve and protect," New York State Governor Kathy Hochul stated of the program. "Not only will this program create new opportunities for recreation, but it will conserve forested land and foster tree growth across the state, advancing New York's efforts to reduce climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions."