Governor Kathy Hochul recently has announced an initiative that will help to fortify NY forests that are constantly being threatened with encroachment from developers.
Did you know that 15 billion trees are lost annually to deforestation every year? That’s a scary statistic. In New York State, urban sprawl continues to plague us, which results in more and more forested lands being eliminated.
Typically, when unprotected forested lands come up for sale, the developers (the ones willing to pay the most) swoop in and before you know it there’s a new parking lot or single-story sprawl-like building. This is not sustainable.
To combat this, $1 million in grant funds is now available to communities through DEC’s new Community Forest Conservation Grant Program via DEC’s new Community Forest Conservation Grant Program, according to Hochul. Now, municipalities can apply for the funding, which will help to safeguard at-risk forested land.
Municipalities may apply for funding to purchase properties directly or through conservation easements to establish community forests and create new opportunities for public access, help protect natural areas from development, and encourage sustainable management of forested lands.
DEC will manage and allocate grant funds ranging from $50,000 up to $300,000.
Properties to be acquired must:
- Be 10 or more contiguous acres in size
- Have forests on at least 75 percent of the acreage
- Be accessible to the public
- Provide public benefits such as recreation opportunities, flood mitigation, wildlife habitat, clean water, and forest products
Additional information about the Community Forest Conservation Grant Program is available on DEC’s website. Applications must be submitted through the New York State Grants Gateway. Paper applications will not be accepted. The deadline for applications is 2 p.m. on Wednesday, April 13.
Lead image: Photo by Irina Iriser